Fun Fact of the Day
Opposing batters when John Jaso is catching for the Mariners: .191/.263/.326
Opposing batters when Jesus Montero is catching for the Mariners: .220/.293/.348
Opposing batters when Miguel Olivo is catching for the Mariners: .248/.307/.409
Percentage of total PAs caught by John Jaso when Felix Hernandez was pitching: 0.0%
Percentage of total PAs caught by Jesus Montero when Felix Hernandez was pitching: 10.3%
Percentage of total PAs caught by Miguel Olivo when Felix Hernandez was pitching: 21.4%
Remember all those comments you heard about how the pitching staff was going to really miss Miguel Olivo’s veteran leadership and game calling skills? Notice how you’re not hearing any of those comments right now?
In reality, none of those numbers prove anything. It’s all just small sample and biased selection data that has no real predictive value. There are way too many problems with looking at split-by-catcher data for it to have much value even over large samples, and over a a few weeks, these numbers are entirely worthless. Don’t use the numbers above to claim that Jaso or Montero are better game-callers than Olivo.
However, the reality continues to be that there is absolutely no evidence that the team’s pitching has suffered in any way from Olivo’s absence. Despite all the talk about his presence behind the plate and how guys like Montero and Jaso couldn’t be trusted to handle a staff, the pitchers have performed just as well without Olivo in the mix over the last 10 games. Even though the gap in handling a staff between Olivo and Montero/Jaso was supposedly so large that Montero couldn’t be trusted to catch more than once per week and Jaso could never be trusted to don the gear, removing Olivo from the catching position hasn’t had any adverse effects on the team’s run prevention.
Proving something doesn’t exist is extremely hard, and I’m not one who believes that there’s no variation between catchers in their ability to impact a pitcher’s performance. That said, if you want me to believe that you have an invisible dragon in your back yard, you better be prepared to at least show me footprints or something that he burned to a crisp for you. If there is no evidence of a thing’s existence, and then we take that thing away and see no change in its surroundings, the best conclusion we can draw is either that the thing does not exist or that its existence has a minimal effect at best.
I have no doubt that the Mariners really like Miguel Olivo as a teammate. However, respect for your teammates doesn’t win games, outscoring your opponents does.