Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Perez v Molina

So there I was enjoying the most important win in the past 29 years of Royals baseball, and of course a Cardinals fan post shows up in my Facebook Feed about how Salvador Perez is not even in the conversation of Yadier Molina. Typical Cardinals fan, who needs to look at data and such when you have that great Cardinal Fan instinct mixed with a steady dose of Cardinals Fan Bias (see chart at the bottom of post).

This article is equal parts disdain for the Cardinals, and a comparison of Salvador Perez and Yadier Molina. I'd say that my disdain for the Cardinals is rooted in the fact that I cannot stand the town in general. Why I don't like St. Louis is part mystery, part Missouri resident requirement. If you live in Missouri you either like St. Louis or you like Kansas City. Those who say they like both are either do not live in the state or they are lying to your face (meaning they are probably from St. Louis).

Anyway to the numbers. Let's start with offense. Molina has played 11 seasons so of course he has more total Hits, doubles, etc. then Perez. We will start by comparing Molina's first four seasons to Perez's first four seasons.

  • Both players played in about the same number of games. Perez - 403, Molina - 405
  • Perez has had a better first 4 seasons at the plate compared to Molina. It is not even close really. 
  • Molina's batting has improved by leaps and bounds since his first four years. He is now one of the best hitting catchers in the league.
  • Compared to the last 4 seasons of Molina at the plate Salvador is not that far behind. Molina has had 300 more ABs that Perez over the last 4 seasons. Their BA is close with Molina at .305 and Perez at .296. 
  • Molina has 11 more HRs than Perez in the past 4 seasons, more doubles, more hits. Perez is leading in Triples. But again their BA is very similar. You would expect a ball player to become a better hitter over the years. That is just what Molina has done. However Perez is better at the plate than Molina was after his fourth season. It is on Perez to continue to improve but the talent is there.

Now lets move to Fielding.

Using standard metrics Perez matches up well to Molina's first 4 seasons. 

  • Molina edges out Perez on Total error count with 19 vs Perez's 23.
  • Standard Fielding Percentage (some say a flawed stat) is very similar Perez vs Molina's First 4 seasons. Molina has a slight edge on Fielding percentage in the last 4 seasons .9965 to . 992.
What about the Advanced Fielding Metrics, DRS, rSB, FSR, and such
  • Both catchers had DRS scores of 8 in 2014
  • Over the past 4 seasons DRS has been very similar with Molina 32 and Perez 29
  • FSR scores have been similar with Perez trending upward to match Molina's recent success. 
Currently I would give the edge to Molina since he has been more productive at the plate the past 4 years, a small edge in defensive prowess, and the experience factor. He has played more seasons and you can see how he has developed into one of the best catchers in the game.

However Salvador Perez has all the tools and the numbers to show that he has the opportunity to play just as well as Molina if not better should he continue to progress and develop his craft. Both catchers are elite Tier 1 catchers. If I had a strong team making a World Series push I would probably go Molina. If I was building a team and wanted upside and youth, I would go Salvador. To say Salvador Perez is not in the same conversation as Molina is typical Cardinal Fan Bias which we can track in the graph below.


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