Statistically speaking: Mesoraco, Martin travel different paths to success
League-wide offense continues to plummet, with teams scoring the fewest runs per game (4.13) since 1992. But catchers, known more for absorbing foul tips than tallying extra-base hits, are stepping up. Backstops are enjoying their third-best offensive season in MLB history as measured by wRC+, a stat that calculates the run value of every batting event for a player and places his overall production on a scale where 100 is average.
Cincinnati's Devin Mesoraco and the Pirates' Russell Martin highlight this offensive evolution among catchers, but they're creating runs in vastly different ways. Mesoraco is making power-hitting history, while Martin is reaching base by any means necessary.
Mesoraco ranks second among catchers in home runs (15) and his league-leading .607 slugging percentage tops Johnny Bench's 1970 campaign (.587) for the highest single-season mark among Reds catchers getting at least 200 plate appearances. Martin isn't displaying nearly as much pop, but he's got the second-best on-base percentage (.404) at the position and has been plunked by 10 pitches.
The last time a Pirates catcher got on base at such a high clip was Jason Kendall (.412) in 2000. Mesoraco tops all catchers in wRC+, and Martin cracks the top five.
Batter Team wRC+
Devin Mesoraco Reds 170
Derek Norris Athletics 158
Jonathan Lucroy Brewers 153
Evan Gattis Braves 150
Russell Martin Pirates 131
MLB Avg. for C --- 95
Cincinnati's star backstop is hacking at 32.3 percent of pitches thrown outside of the strike zone — above the 30.4 percent MLB average this season. Martin, by contrast, is venturing out of the zone just 24.3 percent of the time.
The Pirates could take advantage of Mesoraco's aggressive approach, as scheduled starters Jeff Locke (31.3 percent chase percentage), Charlie Morton (30.3) and Francisco Liriano (33.1) all induce chases at an above-average rate.
David Golebiewski is a freelance writer.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pirates notebook: Autographs to come at a cost at PirateFest
- Pirates cut ties with Davis, clearing path for Alvarez to play first base
- Pirates trade Davis to A’s for international signing bonus money
- Pirates star McCutchen marries in private ceremony
- Pirates enter Plan B with Martin off market
- Rossi: Pirates don’t need Alvarez at first base
- Pirates notebook: Team offered catcher Martin 4-year contract
- Pirates ready to protect top pitching prospects from Rule 5 draft