... 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 MattIf the Giants win the WS again...I'm gonna get irritated.13 hours 37 min ago
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