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Please practice your catching, House


mikezpen

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JR, look. They have all kinds of guys at first and DH, which is where you could be used. You're going to have a heck of a time getting starts there (although a lot of us think you could be better w/the bat than some of those people). But their back-up catching is beyond pathetic.You were a better hitter than Paul Bako when you were eleven. If you become the backup, that's at least a start a week right here. And if you keep hitting, they'll fit you in to at least some games at the other positions. Plus there's injuries that can get you in.And as you saw yesterday, yeo're a good pinch hitter, too (but watch that baserunning buddy).

HOWEVER, the key is learning to catch. You gotta do that, guy. Find yourself a league over the winter, doesn't matter where, an PLAY CATCHER. OK??? I mean, you're 27 or whatever. It's about time you learned your position. Don't you think?

m-

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JR, look. They have all kinds of guys at first and DH, which is where you could be used. You're going to have a heck of a time getting starts there (although a lot of us think you could be better w/the bat than some of those people). But their back-up catching is beyond pathetic.You were a better hitter than Paul Bako when you were eleven. If you become the backup, that's at least a start a week right here. And if you keep hitting, they'll fit you in to at least some games at the other positions. Plus there's injuries that can get you in.And as you saw yesterday, yeo're a good pinch hitter, too (but watch that baserunning buddy).

HOWEVER, the key is learning to catch. You gotta do that, guy. Find yourself a league over the winter, doesn't matter where, an PLAY CATCHER. OK??? I mean, you're 27 or whatever. It's about time you learned your position. Don't you think?

m-

If you had said mmmmmmkay? instead of OK, then this would have been a killer post! :D

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Or that maybe he's not really as bad as the O's think he is?

*cue 17 pages of the same old argument*

The thing is, none of us really have any basis to judge how good or bad he is defensively. I haven't seen him play -- have you? I haven't seen and statstics that measure his defensive abilities -- have you? Anyone?

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The thing is, none of us really have any basis to judge how good or bad he is defensively. I haven't seen him play -- have you? I haven't seen and statstics that measure his defensive abilities -- have you? Anyone?

I have not personally seen him play, no. And while, for some reason, I can't find them anywhere, I recall that at some point House's raw defensive stats (passed balls, errors, CS percentage, etc.) weren't appreciably different than Bako's or Castillo's. Which is to say, not great by any means, but if their defense is equal, then House's offense certainly isn't.

AFAIK, House's poor defensive reputation either 1.) is based on some nebulous metric of leadership, calming influence or voodoo ability, or 2.) doesn't really exist.

Meanwhile, anyone on this board who has seen him play is probably basing their impression off ONE game - the IL All-Star Game, in which House picked the worst possible time to have a bad inning.

IMO, House is a passable defensive catcher who has been labeled incompetent by people who can't - or won't - see the forest for the trees.

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The thing is, none of us really have any basis to judge how good or bad he is defensively. I haven't seen him play -- have you? I haven't seen and statstics that measure his defensive abilities -- have you? Anyone?

Migrant Redbird came up with some basic numbers from culling through boxscores a few weeks ago. He had a passed ball and error rate no different than Alberto Castillo, Eli Whiteside, or any other Norfolk (or Baltimore) catcher. They were all very similar. Of course that's just a small part of the overall picture, but it certainly didn't suggest that he was inducing spine-chilling fear in the hearts of Norfolk's pitching staff and the fans behind the plate.

Until I see other compelling evidence I'm staying with my original assumption: If he really was so bad he can't catch a few times a month he wouldn't be allowed to be a catcher at a high level of professional baseball, even AAA. If he was really that frightening they wouldn't trust him to catch Garret Olson or Jim Hoey, and the Astros and Pirates wouldn't have let him catch their top prospects, either.

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Here is what Migrant Redbird came up with:

House: 41 games, 3 errors, 5 passed balls 50 SB's 15 CS, .231 CS%

Castillo: 28 games, 2 errors, 6 passed balls, 29 SB's 7 CS, .194 CS%

Whiteside: 14 games, 1 error, 23 SB's, 6 CS, .207 CS%

Clendenin 4 games, 1 error, 0 passed balls, 9 SB's 0 CS, .000 CS%

None of those are stellar, but House is certainly no worse than the others.

One thing I will say is that the runners don't respect House much. 65 SB attempts in 41 games is an awful lot. By comparison, Bako has started 42 games (and played in 47), and runners have only attempted a steal 28 times.

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Question: are we all looking at this the wrong way. He can catch once or twice a week and be OK. However the F O has concern if Ramon goes down for 2-3 weeks and J R has to be the main catcherand that is what they don't what. However we are missing this time to find out if he can be the 25th man on the roster...3rd string catcher/back up at 1b and rf/lf and THthe main pinchhitter.

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Our entire assessment of his ability as a C is based on:

  • A small number of non-informative stats;
  • One rather silly inning in the AAA AS game which, unfortunately for him, was on TV;
  • Rumor and insinnuendo about his ability;
  • Rumor and insinnuendo about what the organization thinks about his ability.

Let's face it, in this case we* really don't know what we're talking about. I wish we simply knew what the Norfolk coaching staff thought.

[* Disclaimer: This statement may not apply to everybody. Maybe some folks here have seen him play C a bunch. If you have, I ain't talkinboutchoo, I'm tallkin' about the rest of us.]

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The only thing the Orioles have ever publicly said is that House doesn't have a strong arm.

There doesn't seem to be any other issues with him.

As i have said, map out his playing time to play against teams that don't run that often.

Hell, 2 of them are in our division, so he could play 8-10 games against Boston and Toronto.

Don't catch him against a team like TB but you can catch him probably against 5-7 teams and be safe.

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Here is what Migrant Redbird came up with:

House: 41 games, 3 errors, 5 passed balls 50 SB's 15 CS, .231 CS%

Castillo: 28 games, 2 errors, 6 passed balls, 29 SB's 7 CS, .194 CS%

Whiteside: 14 games, 1 error, 23 SB's, 6 CS, .207 CS%

Clendenin 4 games, 1 error, 0 passed balls, 9 SB's 0 CS, .000 CS%

None of those are stellar, but House is certainly no worse than the others.

One thing I will say is that the runners don't respect House much. 65 SB attempts in 41 games is an awful lot. By comparison, Bako has started 42 games (and played in 47), and runners have only attempted a steal 28 times.

There's the rub. I think it would just be a free-for-all on the bases.

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Question: are we all looking at this the wrong way. He can catch once or twice a week and be OK. However the F O has concern if Ramon goes down for 2-3 weeks and J R has to be the main catcherand that is what they don't what. However we are missing this time to find out if he can be the 25th man on the roster...3rd string catcher/back up at 1b and rf/lf and THthe main pinchhitter.

Except it was already a disaster when Ramon went down for a month and Bako/Castillo had to catch. Let's face it, there are maybe 5 backup catchers in all of MLB that can step into a regular role for a month and not be a liability either at the plate or behind the plate. House would give up a lot of SBs but he would probably be the best hitting backup catcher in baseball, which counts for something. I'd be shocked if the runs that Bako saves us by allowing fewer steals make up for the runs that Bako costs us at the plate.

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There's the rub. I think it would just be a free-for-all on the bases.

And yet, House is throwing out runners at a decent rate. Norfolk opponents have (rightly) challenged a guy with a supposedly weak arm, and House has responded pretty well.

If House's CS% of .231 were extrapolated over a full season**, that would rank him ahead of Pierzynski, Estrada, Barrett and Kendall - and just behind Varitek and Posada.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/stats/fielding?groupId=9&season=2007&seasonType=2&split=78&sortColumn=catcherCaughtStealingPct

**Two caveats: 1.) nobody is advocating that he become an everyday catcher; 2.) assume that Migrant Redbird's .231 is correct.

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