... M's 7 (Montero CERA)


Funny how Jesus Montero's pitch calling is just fine when Jason Vargas or Felix Hernandez is out there able to execute the signs he puts down, isn't it?

Felix shook Montero off a ton, to which I can confidently say, who cares.  At worst, this shakeoff routine means that Olivo vs. Montero is 100% a non-issue with a good pitcher on the mound.  At best ... what?   Hmmmmm...  

Don't quote me, kiddies.  But watching Jesus Montero for several days, I'm getting a creeping suspicion that he is an overall better defensive catcher than Miguel Olivo.   To paraphrase my fave beat writer, I'll come on and debate anybody who wants to take the other side.  After I dust you off we can still be friends.


The coaches are locked into a micromanagement paradigm, like NCAA basketball coaches judging players by whether they set backscreens off the ball.  Wedge judges Montero by whether he is starting to do the specific small things that a 10-year catcher does.  If they shifted paradigms, they might notice that rookie catchers bring their own fresh perspectives to the game.  

Of course, Olivo is technically more sophisticated.  That does not resolve the larger issue.  There are basketball players who do not cut the right way off a triangle offense, but who win you games by hitting 35 points.  There are a whale of a lot of youth basketball coaches who lose games because they judge players by technical sophistication, and are completely blind to anything that cuts across that.

One year we co-coached a youth girls' soccer team that went 14-0.  That winter the other coach sat down and analyzed every player technically to a fare-thee-well; our star defensive stopper was 10 lbs too heavy, he "realized," and he put a bunch of players out there who would execute as he directed.  Eleven little puppets out there, extensions of the coach's will.  I politely withdrew as co-coach, and they went 6-8.

At 14-and-0, we were coaching to what each girl brought to the table, adapting our system to them.  At 6-and-8, the coach tried to teach each player to adapt to his system.


The CERA's going into last night:  Olivo 4.20, Montero 3.58.  That's before the shutout Saturday.  At this point you're sort of arguing that Nick Collison has a better technical shooting motion than Kobe Bryant; not exactly, but you know what I mean.  Maybe Collison is more technically proficient than Kobe.  At some point we're going to benefit from less Bobby Knight and more Jerry Tarkanian.

Point cheerfully conceded, there is some minimal level of competence required here.  You can't have Munenori Kawasaki call the pitches four times next week.  You needed to make sure that Montero wasn't Carlos Delgado behind the plate.

But Vargas and Felix just allowed 0 runs in back-to-back games.  "Minimal levels of competence" are not in question at this point, not with Montero's CERA leading the club by a wide margin.  Jesus Montero is not Carlos Delgado, and he's not Mike Napoli, either.

I'm a big Eric Wedge fan, and the Montero catching situation is going to shake itself out.  Montero has a month to prove himself or not.  This isn't the mythical 1980's NCAA football championship, where our debates change the shape of the world.  One month from now, people will know whether Jesus Montero is all right behind the plate; there will be a consensus on June 1.  

My prediction is that the consensus will be positive, come June 1, but I could be wrong (25% chance IMHO).

Tag onto this idea:  the Seattle Mariners have a cleanup hitting catcher!




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Lakay's picture


That's Monty's birthday. Of the Big 3, I think the one who share the same birthdate as him would be the first one to be called up. I believe that would be a first for a battery pair having the same birthdate (or at least the first battery rookies pair). That would be very neat.


I noticed Felix shaking off Olivo a ton in his last start with him. Or maybe it was the start before that. Or probably it was both.

With Felix not letting many guys on base, Olivo's arm advantage over Montero is moot. So in my estimation the biggest difference between Olivo and Montero is about 100 points in batting average and slugging and an open DH slot.


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SABR MattHmm...I'll check with the wife, but I am strongly considering using gofundme. I'll get back to the group on that one.1 hour 6 min ago
SABR MattThanks Grizz...I'll look into those packages. I admit...I'm not a master developer, so if there is a steep learning curve, I'm not going to be interested right now. I am what a professional developer would call a "data crusher"...I am an analyst who knows just enough programming basics to do some damage. I can hack out some C++, Python, R, Perl, etc...and I learn reasonably quickly in new languages...but would rather not go that way if I don't have to. Any open source option, BTW, needs to have a big user community library from which to draw, so that I'm not re-inventing the wheel and designing my own MCMC or linear solver or XML parser. Don't want to waste time.1 hour 31 min ago
MtGrizzlyThere are some (reportedly) decent open source alternatives to MATLAB. GNU Octave, Scilab, Rlab and Scipy. Pluses and minuses with each, as one must expect when dealing with open source. One of our data guys did a small POC using Scilab and it seemed to work well.1 hour 42 min ago
rick82gofundme is pretty good. I'll kick in $60 ($50 plus cover the money they take out, hopefully) if you go that route.1 hour 45 min ago
SABR MattAlas, commercial MATLAB licenses are like 2 grand...so if the work gets done in MATLAB and I find out that the company considers my small-time efforts commercial use, I'm pretty screwed.1 hour 51 min ago
SABR MattI was planning on starting to monetize through the new DOV and possibly expanding from there to marketing my research on a separate website where the data could be directly accessed for active players and historical careers.1 hour 53 min ago
SABR MattI'd like to monetize, yes...but some care needs to be given. A personal MATLAB license cannot be used commercially. I am not certain what the boundaries on commercial use of the product might be. If I'm using MATLAB to do certain tasks, but monetizing the results, is this a violation of the law? Or is it only the commercialization of imagery and direct work product that couldn't be reproduced by another software package? The wording of the user agreement isn't clear on this point.1 hour 54 min ago
Bat571Matt -- Any chance some of the work you'll do with MATLAB will be monetized? I.e., might it be a loan rather than a grant?2 hours 3 min ago
SABR MattAgreed OBF on the formatting. All of the available data is in CSV files or XML files that need to be read into some program to parse and explore...I am not planning to use a straight DB...I'm planning to read them into MATLAB and use the power of the MATLAB file sharing system to do a huge chunk of the work. Need a Markov Chain/Monte Carlo simulation to get win probabilities for base/out states? Download the MCMC script. Need to solve a system of linear equations to isolate variables? Use the stats toolbox. Need to read XML data into a flat data file? Use an XML parser object. I used MATLAB and got very comfortable with it while doing my graduate meteorology studies. :)2 hours 32 min ago
OBFKickstarter, is probably not what you are looking for (there is an expected product)... but a quick http://www.gofundme.com/, or https://fundrazr.com/ could probably get you a couple hundred bucks from the folks around here in less than a week... The big time SABR project that you would report on would be more than worth it to us Baseball nerds ;)3 hours 2 min ago
OBFSounds backwards... but for non relational data (ie sequential), you actual don't want a database at all... you want a flat file (CSV, txt, etc.) just like you wouldn't split a movie into a bunch of frames a plop it in a DB, it is one big AVI, MPEG, etc, the file structure itself carries information along with it (order)... Of course the trouble is, if you already have the data IN a DB... you are up a crick a little bit, because that meta data (order) of the sequential file is lost... I assume each record has a DateTime Stamp with it? You could recreate the order with that... Visual Studio Express is free and the C# MySql add in is free... You could rebuild the order...3 hours 7 min ago
SABR MattI thought I was going to have the money to do it this week, but three other unexpected expenses popped up: microwave broke, MLB.TV auto-billed me (yeah, I should have probably known that was about to hit) for the season, and needed money to travel down to visit my ailing grandmom.3 hours 46 min ago
SABR MattI need about $200 to fund the acquisition of MATLAB with the statistics toolbox...I can and frequently do code in MySQL, but I believe MySQL is a severe limiting factor on a person's ability to do real research. It's great for interrogating data looking for simple relationships, but it's terrible for doing anything that is sequential in nature, which Elo most definitely is, as are the number of projects I have in mind relating to pitch f/x data. R can do a lot of what MATLAB does for free but not all, and, IMHO, the language you use in R also limits research some, as it is much less powerful and streamlined than MATLAB. In my (albeit limited) experience with crowdsourcing, people have to know who you are and you have to advertise heavily in high-traffic neighborhoods to get anywhere. I really need a course in social media as advertising engine.4 hours 7 min ago
rick82How much we talking, Matt? Kickstarter project, maybe?4 hours 49 min ago
SABR Matt*sigh*...I'd be getting stuff done today toward the Elo project if I could afford to buy the software I need to actually do the work.6 hours 45 min ago
SABR MattZunino looked good today1 day 20 hours ago
okdanKivelhan's throw to 2B was a missile.1 day 20 hours ago
Gordon GrossKiv in LF and DJ at first is a nice preview of the 2016 Ms1 day 21 hours ago
Gordon GrossKivlehan showing off his strong and accurate arm today in LF1 day 21 hours ago
Gordon Grossif you didn't hear shannon drayer:gareth morgan and austin wilson got the only two hits off felix in his simulated game. and joe decarlo was on felix's team and hit a monster homer... just foul. good to hear joe's name in that class.1 day 22 hours ago