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Napoli's Surprising Stat Lead

Managers like to play players who remind managers of themselves. It seemed like that was what Ron Washington was doing when he would cling to playing time for light-hitting middle infielders, like Joaquin Arias. He even admitted to it once during an in-game interview.


When Mike Napoli was formerly an Angel, we got to hear plenty about how he was just too bad behind the plate, and Jeff Mathis — perhaps the worst hitting every day player in baseball — was so superior he needed to play, instead. The common stat cited in this argument was catching ERA. Their manager, Mike Scioscia, was a mediocre hitter with a great catching ERA, and thus was more drawn to Mathis. In Scioscia’s mind, Mathis’s catching ability was so good, it offset the fact that Napoli was worth many more runs a season at the plate, and cERA proved it.


Which is why Jeff Sullivan finds it interesting that Mike Napoli starts leading all of baseball in cERA the minute he goes to another team. It doesn’t necessarily prove Napoli is a good defensive catcher, but Jeff’s right, it is interesting.


And it does help make the Angels’ trade for Vernon Wells look even more hilarious.

Photographs by jamesbrandon, jdtornow, phlezk, flygraphix, mcdlttx, tomasland, and literalbarrage used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.