POTD Josh Bard

=== Dead Cat's Bounce ===

As M-Pops pointed bout, DCB has a sterling writeup on Bard.  

Among Gomez' several excellent, um, catches, here are a couple:

  1. The knock on Bard is his CS%, BUT... after you adjust for pitchers like Tim Wakefield, Bard is fine.  So, yeah, remove that negative.  :nods:
  2. ...
  3. Bard gets on top of the ball well, hits lots of line drives and ground balls ... and yep, he had an unlucky BABIP in 2008 and 2009.  "Adjust" Bard for "normal" luck, and Bard's established level of performance is 280/350/440.

Gomez, thath high-quality H20.  :crooked grin, blinks:


=== The Long and Winding Road, Dept. ===

In fact, Bard rung up catcher-sparkling RC's of 7.0 and 5.3 per game in 2006 and 2007.   Wow!  So maybe you've got a 5-7 run per game catcher here?

Bard has had lots of soft-tissue injuries, the kind I get because I'm not in shape (though I'm sure Bard is).  He's had a nagging ankle sprain, a serious triceps tear, a groin tear, just in the last two years...  those being the years when he dropped off of his 2006-07 offense.

So maybe it's as simple as Bard being dinged up in 08-09?  And healed up, he'll pop right back to the 300/370/470 he showed at 27-28?


=== Time & Tide Dept. ===

In fact, Bard looks so good at first saber-glance, that you're inclined to wonder why his teams have let him go.

The answer is probably in the birthdays.  Midrange ML players peak at 27, 28, 29, and it's nothing unusual for them to lose that crucial tick of reflexes at 30-31-32.

There are many reasons to believe that Bard is aging quickly:

  1. His EYE is going steadily down.
  2. His BB rate is sliding badly.
  3. He's hitting more fly balls (suggesting he's a little later on the trigger).
  4. He's run into a lot of injuries recently.
  5. He's better on his natural platoon side (RH).
  6. He's 32 and a catcher.

As Zaun and Burke and all those guys know, if you are in primo, Bob Melvin shape, you can catch part-time, adequately, for a long time.  But the subject here, is the reflexes necessary to be a good ML hitter.

The fact is, his previous teams have dropped him, and it's a fair assumption it is because they see that he's aging quickly.

Can 32 be over-the-hill for a catcher?  Hey, it's the unusual catcher who isn't, at 32.


=== Upside, Dept. ===

As M-Pops noted, the switch-hitting Bard has a sizeable platoon split.

It's not at all unreasonable to wonder whether, after a winter off and spotted against mostly LHP's .... and after a bit of luck evens out ... that Bard could put up a "surprising" .360 OBP for half a year, and make RJ and Moore look like dead men.

Think Tom Berenger in Major League, a few years younger ... Bard is an MLB(TM) catcher who has had a couple of real nice seasons in the sun.  If his body bounces back and a few balls land in the right place, he could show the kids how it's done.

It's a pretty good flier by Zduriencik, I'd say.   Nice waiver snag.*


Dr D




Bard, career vs LHP: .282/.335/.436/.771
Varitek, career: .259/.344/.435/.779
Spotted against lefties? Doesn't sound too bad (just don't look at his recent lines - call them small sample-size issues).
There was a pretty average catcher we spotted against righties for a coupla years, when he OPSed .877 and .888 in pretty much JUST that duty (Tom Lampkin). So that's a tactic we've seen work pretty well in spots - but usually when the other guy hits the other-handed pitchers decently.
It would be strange to spot him against lefties and force the pair of Moore and Rob Johnson to hit against same-handed pitching. Seems like a good way to get some terrible seasons against them.
But stranger things have happened, I suppose. Getting some decent production from whatever catcher conglomerate we put out there is paramount.
Should make for some fun in camp, too.

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