Pitchers and catchers report to their MLB teams this week. To celebrate as we get ready for baseball, here are nine pitcher and catcher-related stats celebrating their defensive play.
1) The catcher leader in Defensive Runs Saved last season was Jose Trevino of the Yankees with 21. Adley Rutschman of the Orioles and Cal Raleigh of the Mariners followed with 18 and 14, respectively. J.T. Realmuto of the Phillies led the NL with 11. Trevino also led all catchers in our pitch framing stat, Strike Zone Runs Saved (12).
2) The pitcher leader in Defensive Runs Saved in 2022 was Ranger Suárez of the Phillies with 9. Behind him were Suárez’s new teammate, Taijuan Walker, then with the Mets, with 6, and Tyler Anderson, then of the Dodgers, now of the Angels with 5. Wandy Peralta (Yankees), Luis Severino (Yankees), and Yusei Kikuchi (Mariners) tied for the AL lead with 4.
3) Trevino and Suárez are also the respective leaders at their positions in Defensive Runs Saved over the last three seasons with 29 and 15. Austin Hedges, now of the Pirates, and Max Fried of the Braves are the respective runners-up with 20 and 14 Runs Saved, respectively.
4) Blue Jays catchers Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen ranked 1-2 in our catcher block rate stat that shows how effective catchers are at blocking potential wild pitches*. Kirk blocked 95.9% and Jansen blocked 95.7%. The top non-Blue Jays catcher was Tomás Nido of the Mets, 95.5%.
* Block rate equals the number of times the catcher blocked a pitch in the dirt or went well beyond normal effort to catch a pitch in a wild pitch situation divided by [the number of blocked pitches plus the sum of wild pitches and passed balls]. Our ranking is based on the top 60 catchers in block opportunities.
5) Zack Greinke’s 87 career Runs Saved match Mark Buehrle for the most by a pitcher in the 20-year history of the stat (more on that here). The next-most among active pitchers is Clayton Kershaw’s 34 (unless Dallas Keuchel, who has 54, pitches in 2023).
6) Realmuto was by far the top catcher last season when it came to limiting basestealing. He threw out 42% of runners attempting to steal and his 9 Stolen Base Runs Saved was more than double that of the players with the next-most (Christian Bethancourt, Keibert Ruiz, 4).
7) The pitcher with the most innings pitched and no stolen bases allowed last season was Cole Irvin with 181. Irvin was with the Athletics in 2022 but was traded to the Orioles in the offseason. Suárez was the only other pitcher with at least 100 innings pitched and no steals allowed (155 1/3).
8) Yadier Molina retired after the 2022 season. He’s the leader in Defensive Runs Saved by a catcher with 184. The new active leader is Roberto Pérez, now of the Giants, with 79.
9) Yankees pitchers and catchers finished with 45 Defensive Runs Saved in 2022, matching the 2012 Reds for the most by a pitching-catching combo in the 20-year history of Runs Saved. Those Reds were led by catcher Ryan Hanigan’s 23 Runs Saved.