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Fangraphs: Catcher Tandems.


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So has anybody cracked the code on keeping their two catchers healthy? I looked for teams that had three or more seasons in a row with two catchers handling 98.5% more of innings. If teams have a secret sauce, they should show up on this list with regularity:


Nope. The closest thing there is the Yankees, who had streaks with Thurman Munson in the 1970s and Jose Posada around the turn of the century. The only other teams to appear more than once are the Johnny Bench Reds and two iterations of the Pirates, over a decade apart and 30 years ago. There?s nothing in this table suggestive that it?s a matter of skill, rather than luck, to keep two catchers on the field all season. Specifically, these teams generally had an All-Star caliber No. 1 catcher who avoided injury with various guys in the backup role. That?s about it. No team has cornered the market on that formula.

So maybe that?s making the criteria too tough. Maybe I should be looking just at back-to-back 98.5%-plus inning performances. Given that, on average, 18.6% of teams had two catchers with 98.5% or more innings caught since 1969, random chance suggests that a team with two dominant catchers has about a one-in-five chance of repeating the following year, like flipping a coin that comes up heads 18.6% of the time. A rate of repeat significantly above that could indicate skill rather than luck. Of the 236 teams, 1969-2014, that had two catchers with 98.5% or more innings caught, 60 repeated the following year, or 25%. That?s not a statistically significant difference (using an N-1 chi-square test, if you were wondering). In other words, there?s no reason to believe that a durable catcher tandem is a matter of anything but good fortune.

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Sometimes, its better to be lucky then good.

I hope we are lucky enough to keep Wieters and Joseph healthy this year. And I'd like to see Joseph getting more playing time then your average backup catcher.

1. I think keeping Wieters rested will improve his offense and his health

2. Joseph is most likely our starting catcher in 2017, so lets make sure he is ready.

3. When use properly, Joseph has proven he can hit.

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