Anthony Castrovince of MLB.com wrote a piece recently wondering if any AL Central team could challenge the Tigers for the division title and specifically referenced the Indians acquisition of Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs this offseason, which provides them with a great deal of speed. But the Tigers’ returning DH and former catcher has a word of warning for the base swiping inclined Indians outfielders.
“They gotta do better than Michael Bourn,” said a smiling Victor Martinez, before gesturing toward catcher Alex Avila. “We’ve got some policemen who give tickets to people who go from first to second!”
It’s a wonderful note of support from V-Mart about Avila, but is it accurate? We know catcher defense is the most difficult defense to measure and clunky things like fielding percentage and caught stealing percentage just don’t do it.
The best we have so far is Defensive Runs Saved (DRS). If we accept DRS as the best we can do without detailed scouting reports, how does Avila stack up?
In 2012, he was tied for fourth best in baseball with 6 DRS at catcher trailing Ryan Hanigan (7), Salvador Perez (9 in 653 innings), and Yadier Molina (16).
So, don’t trying anything Indians or you’ll have to deal with this.