Navarro vs. Hernandez: More Analysis Behind the Dish



Over the past few weeks, DRB has looked at how the starting pitching rotation has fared with Dioner Navarro behind the plate compared to when Michel Hernandez is catching.  The first piece Evaluating the Ray's Starting Pitching Performance Across Catchers took a look at each pitcher's FIP components, K/9, BB/9, and HR/9 with each catcher. Yesterday R.J. Anderson took a look at The Michel Hernandez Effect on James Shields by coming up with run values. He utilized In his conclusion he stated there was clear evidence that James Shields has had better results when Michel Hernandez was catching. However, after looking at the overall pitch selection and catcher framework using Pitch F/X, Anderson derived that it most likely was do to luck.

I decided to do the same across the entire rotation. It is important to not that R.J. and I did not use the same calculation for outs. He opted for AB-Hits, while I chose to use true outs with 1/3 of an inning representing one out. While this will change the numbers, the trend across catchers should remain somewhat stable.

Follow below the jump for more

 First, the run values, for a longer explanation see R.J's post

Walk: 0.32

Single: 0.48

Double: 0.78

Triple: 1.06

Home run: 1.4

Out: -0.28

Now let's take a look at the results for each pitcher-catcher battery:

 

MH Starts DN Starts MH RV DN RV MH RV/St DN RV St
Price 4 7 -0.64 8.84 -0.16 1.26
Niemann 2 17 -2.62 -7.70 -1.31 -0.45
Shields 9 13 -6.06 1.66 -0.67 0.13
Kazmir 3 11 -2.14 12.46 -0.71 1.13
Sonny 5 10 4.44 4.98 0.89 0.50
Garza 4 16 -9.6 -12.96 -2.40 -0.81
Total -4.37 1.76

Only Andy Sonnanstine had a lower run value per start (lower is better) with Dioner Navarro, a .39 margin. One trip across all six pitchers results in 6.13 Runs lower for Michel Hernandez which equates to over half a win. Certainly sample size issues make the difference larger, but between the Fielding Independant Pitching analysis and now the defensive dependant Run Value analysis, there seems to be a yet to be explainable difference between Navarro and Hernandez. Let's look a little further.

 

Here are the top 10 individual Game Scores according to Baseball-Reference.com:

Jun 3 KCR 91 Niemann Navi
Apr 30 BOS 86 Garza Hernandez
Jul 24 TOR 78 Garza Hernandez
May 19 OAK 78 Shields Hernandez
Jun 24 PHI 76 Garza Navi
Apr 12 BAL 73 Shields Navi
Jul 10 OAK 76 Niemann Navi
Jun 4 KCR 70 Shields Hernandez
Jun 20 NYM 71 Shields Hernandez
Apr 23 SEA 69 Shields Navi

 

Each catcher has caught for 5 of the top 10 game scores. However Navarro has caught in 74 games, compared to just 27 for Hernandez.  What about the top 10 FIP performances?

 

Date Opp FIP Pitcher Catcher
May 30 MIN 0.82 Price Hernandez
Jul 24 TOR 0.95 Garza Hernandez
Jun 4 KCR 1.15 Shields Hernandez
Apr 30 BOS 1.37 Garza Hernandez
Jun 3 KCR 1.48 Niemann Navarro
Jul 21 CHW 1.48 Niemann Navarro
Jun 25 PHI 1.59 Sonnanstine Navarro
Jun 20 NYM 1.82 Shields Hernandez
Apr 21 SEA 1.90 Sonnanstine Navarro
Jun 9 LAA 2.04 Shields Navarro

Again 5 and 5 with Hernandez claiming the top 4.

Perhaps it is just luck. The body of evidence suggests to me that there is probably some truth to the argument that Hernandez is a better defensive staff handler than Navarro. At least enough to keep digging deeper, at why.......

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