FanPost

Working the Montero Comps again

Probably the last thing anyone wants to read from me is another Montero post. At this point, it's mostly a moot point. He's signed. He's staying at least for a while, (although it's notable there isn't a no trade clause) However I wanted to take one more comprehensive look at potential comps for Montero. This time I opened it wide. I am trying to get as many guys in the sample as possible. So after the jump I'll lay out the logic and thought process applied and we'll see where we end up. I am typing the text as I work, so we are going to find out together how this pans out.

1.) Miguel Montero has been a full time catcher since age 25. From Age 25-27 he had 8 WAR and an OPS+ of 113

2.) I am going to ignore everything that happened before he became a full time catcher. Not really the right way to go about this, but everyone always argues this point, so once again I am going with it.

3.) I ran a search for all Catchers that

A.) Played from Expansion ERA 1961 till now. This puts it in a modern context, more or less. Some would say it's not modern enough, but if you cutoff to just the last 20-25 years, you end up with too small a sample size

B) Ages 25-27. I wanted Catchers that produced at more or less the same rate as Montero for that same 3 year age span

C.) Had at least 6 WAR (Over 2 per season) but no more than 10. This captures guys that were somewhat less and somewhat more productive than Montero

D.) OPS+ over 100. I didn't want guys that had no bat but all defensive value. A decent sized chunk of that value had to come from offense.

E.) Played at least 85% of their games at Catcher. I didn't want guys that played too much DH, 3b, Lf, etc, because if they played that much at other positions that young it meant they weren't going to stay at catcher long anyway.

F.) I deleted Brian McCann, Matt Wieters, Geovany Soto, Montero himself, and Brian Downing. The first 3 are contemporaries and close in age, and Dowing didn't catch much starting from age 28. That left 16 players

So here is the link and list, ranked by WAR accumulated from ages 25-27, and also showing the OPS+

Table 1

Player            OPS+ WAR/pos   G   PA   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
Rick Wilkins       120     9.7 319 1132 .271 .350 .471 .820
Tim McCarver       108     9.5 404 1583 .270 .331 .389 .720
John Stearns       106     9.5 437 1686 .252 .347 .387 .734
Carlton Fisk       128     9.3 266 1068 .280 .347 .486 .834
Tom Haller         124     8.8 314 1121 .256 .353 .453 .806
John Romano        130     8.7 277 1128 .281 .370 .481 .851
Todd Hundley       126     8.3 334 1273 .259 .349 .505 .855
Jim Pagliaroni     119     8.2 323 1092 .266 .350 .425 .775
Jason Kendall      108     8.2 387 1684 .300 .384 .431 .816
Johnny Edwards     107     8.1 388 1446 .268 .334 .410 .745
Clay Dalrymple     102     8.0 392 1401 .255 .341 .374 .715
Rich Gedman        103     7.7 331 1230 .267 .327 .431 .758
Javy Lopez         118     7.6 394 1524 .287 .336 .512 .848
Jody Davis         105     7.1 431 1595 .263 .315 .437 .752
A.J. Pierzynski    102     6.2 398 1512 .295 .338 .438 .776
Mike Napoli        124     6.1 267  969 .266 .357 .505 .862

So, how did this group of players do from age 28 through 33, which is the age Montero is this year and through the end of his contract ? Here are the key data points from the playing record of these comparable players:

  • The average Line was 98 G, 359 PA, 1.6 WAR, 99 OPS+, .261/323/.403 .726 OPS
  • 5 of the 16 players averaged over 100 G Played, or 31%
  • 7 of the 16 players averaged over 100 OPS+, or 44%
  • 6 of the 16 players averaged over 2.5 WAR, or 38%
  • In other words there was about a 1 in 3 chance that the player would play at a level that would meet or exceed the value of Montero's new contract
  • 4 of 15 players, or 27% did not make it to age 33 (Does not include Napoli who is only 30)
  • 6 of 16 players, or 38% averaged LESS than 1 WAR per season.
  • 5 of 16 players, or 31% averaged less than 80 games played
  • 6 of 16 players, or 38% averaged less than 90 OPS+
  • In other words, there was about a 1 in 3 chance that the player suffered severe decline due to injury, poor performance, or both

Here is the table

Player Thru age OPS+ WAR G PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Wilkins 33 82 0.4 50 174 219 321 356 676
McCarver 33 97 3.0 96 297 264 337 366 703
Stearns 32 103 1.5 56 216 282 342 374 716
Fisk 33 119 3.8 127 518 282 257 455 812
Haller 33 113 3.0 134 492 262 338 410 749
Romano 32 114 1.5 93 321 229 340 406 746
Hundley 33 106 0.6 93 335 231 329 465 794
Pagliaroni 31 98 0.8 72 235 235 327 362 689
Kendall 33 90 2.8 145 624 291 362 357 720
Edwards 33 68 0.4 110 370 272 290 311 601
Dalrymple 33 75 0.9 76 244 213 309 302 611
Gedman 32 60 -0.4 65 196 206 270 308 578
Lopez 33 117 2.8 119 466 293 348 504 852
Davis 33 83 1.0 99 364 230 299 381 681
Pierzynski 33 89 1.2 134 526 278 316 415 731
Napoli 30 137 2.5 98 367 270 357 529 886
AVG 32.5 99 1.6 98 359 261 323 403 726

Summary:

I probably should have removed Napoli too, but I figured what the heck, at least he has 2+ seasons past age 27 under his belt, and if anything including him helps inflate the numbers. The OPS and WAR avearges would take a hit without him in there.

The thing that probably stands out here is that there isn't too much of a chance that Montero EXCEEDS the value of this contract. Unless you think he is "breaking out" and getting better and going from strength to strength, i.e. turning into Carlton Fisk or even a Javy Lopez. . (Sorry...no steroids allowed) I certainly would not be able to draw that conclusion from his first 1/3 of the season. The chance that he meets the value of the contract are about equal to the chance that he severely under performs it, with the balance probability that he moderately under performs the deal.

33% Meets contract Value
33% Moderately under performs
33% Severely under performs contract value

Wouldn't you rather that the team be awarding the biggest contract in team history to a player that at least has somewhat of a chance to exceed the contract value ?

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