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+
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
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 ?