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Kendall and Rivera


Kendall's BA is basically .250 right now. Obviously, in a very small sample, Rivera is doing really well with the schtick. Is it time to maybe double Rivera's work load as we approach mid season, both to keep Kendall fresh and because basically every other team with a catcher of Kendall's ability plays a a bit less than Kendall?
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Apparantly, Kendall hasn't grounded into a double play yet this season. I find that to be amazing considering how often he puts the ball in play.

 

I know Kendall hates to sit on the bench, but Rivera should be starting more often in order to give Kendall some breaks. He may think he will be ok (I like that attitude), but he isn't as young as he used to be and will probably wear down towards the end of the season.

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Yost is usually pretty good at getting starter breaks/backups chances to stay sharp, but I not so much with Kendall/Rivera. I wouldn't mind a few more games for Mike. I suspect as the WI weather warms, Rivera's PT should increase in frequency.
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Kendall was brought in mostly for the way he handles a staff. Any offense we get out of him is gravy. And no one expected him to improve his throwing as much as he has. That's gravy also. Our staff absolutely hated throwing to Estrada last year. While Rivera does show some good stick I doubt he can call a game as well as Kendall does. That said I do think he needs to get in more often.
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I know everyone's worried about Kendall holding up, but there's no evidence to say that he won't - all evidence is to the contrary. He's been the most hearty catcher over the past 5-6 years. He's the only one to have caught at least 130 games over the past 5 (or 6) years. I'm not at all worried about him lasting.
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I was saying this to my dad at the game sunday. He obviously has a small sample but I think he deserves more ABs at the least. I don't think Kendall is a must start catcher anymore either. He's getting up there in age so just because he has been very reliable in the past doesn't mean it's going to last forever. I'd like to see Rivera start every 5th day instead of every 7-10 days. Maybe even match him up with one of the starters. Could working with one guy and getting on the same page with him minimize his lack of defense? Somewhat?
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Kendall can handle himself for the long haul, he has done it for a number of years. Like noted his stick is not the reason he is here.

 

Rivera has done just what I thought he would. He is a nice backup that will not kill the team like Bad Chad on past Brewer teams.

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Rivera has done just what I thought he would. He is a nice backup that will not kill the team like Bad Chad on past Brewer teams.

I know, I know.... this is old news but.............

HEY! Didn't Moeller hit for the cycle???

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I think both Kendall and Cameron's playing time will be determined by how the offense is producing in general. Take this homestand as an example. Cameron and Kendall haven't been hitting, but they're 7-1. So you want Kendall and Cameron in there for their defense, and their lack of hitting isn't costing them any wins. Now if the offense struggles, and those guys are part of the reason there are options, and Rivera and Kapler will get more starts. I really believe that's how Ned sees it.
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Kendall also has a clause in his contract that if he starts 130 games, he's automatically re-upped for next season. Since he's been playing pretty well, and the Brewers don't have other catching options, I'd guess the Brewers would like to see him back next year.

 

That said, I agree with the theme of this post that Rivera isn't playing much at all, and probably should see a little more action.

"The most successful (people) know that performance over the long haul is what counts. If you can seize the day, great. But never forget that there are days yet to come."

 

~Bill Walsh

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Playing Rivera more should help both of them. Kendall for all his dedication and his "student of the game" mentality should know that resting a catcher, especially an older catcher is pretty much mandatory. I'd like to see Rivera play 2 in every 7 games.
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That cliche about catcher offense being "gravy" is foolish, imo. It's not gravy, it's necessary that a catcher hit at least a little bit. Having a guy hitting .200/.250/.300 like Moeller or Bennett kills your team unless you have great offense from the other 7 spots, which the Brewers don't.

 

The thing about ML catchers is that there is already a selection bias built into the sample. If a guy doesn't work well with pitchers, he gets moved out from behind the plate or never makes the majors, with rare exceptions. Thus, all guys in the majors are pretty good at calling a game and working with pitchers. The spread from the best to the worst at "handling pitchers" is small, which is why there doesn't seem to be much, if any, long-term variance in cERA.

 

For example, despite Estrada apparently being Hitler incarnate, the Brewers' ERA+ is exactly the same with the saintly Kendall doing most of the catching as it was last year with Satan, I mean Johnny, doing the bulk of the catching.

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Rivera will get more starts this month and in July. He hasn't gotten that many starts because there have been off days after night and then day games. From the last week of June until the All Star break the Brewers don't have a day off. That is a 17 game stretch where they don't get a day off until the All Star break. Kendall will get a couple of games off during that stretch of games. Then there is another stretch where the Brewers don't get a day off until the 7th of August after the All Star game.

 

So Rivera will get plenty of starts in July and some more this month. Probably 1 or 2 more starts this month and about 3 or 4 in July.

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The thing about ML catchers is that there is already a selection bias built into the sample. If a guy doesn't work well with pitchers, he gets moved out from behind the plate or never makes the majors, with rare exceptions. Thus, all guys in the majors are pretty good at calling a game and working with pitchers. The spread from the best to the worst at "handling pitchers" is small, which is why there doesn't seem to be much, if any, long-term variance in cERA.

 

For example, despite Estrada apparently being Hitler incarnate, the Brewers' ERA+ is exactly the same with the saintly Kendall doing most of the catching as it was last year with Satan, I mean Johnny, doing the bulk of the catching.

I'm sorry, I missed the part last year where we lost 2 starters (Capuano and Gallardo), our closer (Coco vs an injured Gagne), our setup man (Riske), and another reliever (Turnbow).

 

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That cliche about catcher offense being "gravy" is foolish, imo. It's not gravy, it's necessary that a catcher hit at least a little bit. Having a guy hitting .200/.250/.300 like Moeller or Bennett kills your team unless you have great offense from the other 7 spots, which the Brewers don't.

 

The thing about ML catchers is that there is already a selection bias built into the sample. If a guy doesn't work well with pitchers, he gets moved out from behind the plate or never makes the majors, with rare exceptions. Thus, all guys in the majors are pretty good at calling a game and working with pitchers. The spread from the best to the worst at "handling pitchers" is small, which is why there doesn't seem to be much, if any, long-term variance in cERA.

 

For example, despite Estrada apparently being Hitler incarnate, the Brewers' ERA+ is exactly the same with the saintly Kendall doing most of the catching as it was last year with Satan, I mean Johnny, doing the bulk of the catching.

 

 

One thing i've noticed pretty much after each good start by Sheets and he's interviewed after the game, right off the bat he makes a point to say how much he loves throwing to Kendall even though he isn't asked about it.

Now i have no idea how much exactly it does matter given how skilled Sheets is, but i'm certainly not going to sit behind my computer and say that Sheets doesn't know what he's talking about since i've never thrown a single professional pitch.

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JoeHova wrote:

For example, despite Estrada apparently being Hitler incarnate, the Brewers' ERA+ is exactly the same with the saintly Kendall doing most of the catching as it was last year with Satan, I mean Johnny, doing the bulk of the catching.

 

The staff last year was veteran and relatively stable all year, nothing like it's been this year. Also, comparing the ERA+ of any pitcher in early June to their full season last year seems like a disservice to the truth. You're comparing a small sample of 2 months against an entire year's worth of work. A more fair comparison would be to go pitcher by pitcher at the end of the season and compare this year to last year, then draw your conclusions on game calling.

"You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation."

- Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

- Plato

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If you listened to the pregame with McClung, you would get a sense for how valuable Kendall is. He went into great detail about what Kendall was having him change in order to get players out.
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2 months is indeed a small sample and the staff is not exactly the same as it was last year, but my point is that if Kendall is so much better than Estrada, where is the proof? I have no doubt that Johnny was a D-bag, that seems clear (however, that was clear before last year too if you asked any AZ fan, so why did Doug trade for him in the first place if being a jerk is so deleterious?). But there is absolutely nothing like proof that supports the idea that a certain catcher has a large effect on the ERAs of pitchers he catches.

 

I've been impressed with Jason's defense too, he's thrown out a great amount of guys and doesn't seem to have much trouble blocking balls. I just get the sense from what some of you guys are saying that you think the difference between him and Estrada is some huge amount. That's what I'm skeptical of. I guess I'm automatically skeptical whenever people start ascribing nearly superhuman abilities to any person without any proof, which is prevalent in sports (look at people claiming Derek Fisher is the MVP of the Lakers). Whatever effect Kendall is having is not immediately obvious, so that's why I'm curious how his greatness and importance has become such accepted wisdom. If the Brewers had a team ERA of 3.20 or something, I could better see why he has such a gigantic cult following, though that still wouldn't be proof that he was having a huge effect.

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my point is that if Kendall is so much better than Estrada, where is the proof?

 

While I don't think what you're seeking can be proven or disproven with ERA or ERA+, I do think that fans can see quite plainly just how much better Kendall is defensively (for comparison's sake, let's not include the throwing arm). He's just such a fantastic athlete behind the plate. I can honestly say that I haven't seen a Brewers C that can hang with Kendall defensively. He's phenomenal back there... the arm accuracy & strength have just been total plusses imho.

 

 

I just get the sense from what some of you guys are saying that you think the difference between him and Estrada is some huge amount. That's what I'm skeptical of.

 

I think it's a wide gulf that separates the two, and I agree fully with your categorization that: "I'm automatically skeptical whenever people start ascribing nearly superhuman abilities to any person without any proof, which is prevalent in sports" Just watching Kendall work blocking pitches & throwing out baserunners has been a joy, but you can also tell from the pitchers' comments just how well Jason has gotten himself -- in an incredibly short time -- in tune with not only the pitchers' preferences, but more importantly, their strengths & weaknesses.

Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
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my point is that if Kendall is so much better than Estrada, where is the proof?

 

While I don't think what you're seeking can be proven or disproven with ERA or ERA+, I do think that fans can see quite plainly just how much better Kendall is defensively (for comparison's sake, let's not include the throwing arm). He's just such a fantastic athlete behind the plate. I can honestly say that I haven't seen a Brewers C that can hang with Kendall defensively. He's phenomenal back there... the arm accuracy & strength have just been total plusses imho.

 

 

I just get the sense from what some of you guys are saying that you think the difference between him and Estrada is some huge amount. That's what I'm skeptical of.

 

I think it's a wide gulf that separates the two, and I agree fully with your categorization that: "I'm automatically skeptical whenever people start ascribing nearly superhuman abilities to any person without any proof, which is prevalent in sports" Just watching Kendall work blocking pitches & throwing out baserunners has been a joy, but you can also tell from the pitchers' comments just how well Jason has gotten himself -- in an incredibly short time -- in tune with not only the pitchers' preferences, but more importantly, their strengths & weaknesses.

 

 

you make good points about how good he looks back there, but what I'm saying is, what is the quantifiable difference? How many saved passed balls have there been? Last year, Estrada only had 5 and the pitchers had 57 wild pitches. This year, in a little over 1/3rd of the season, Kendall has 3 passed balls and the staff has 19 wild pitches. I'm not a "math magician" (to quote Luanne from King of the Hill), but those numbers are an almost identical pace compared to last season.

 

I like that the pitchers seem to like Kendall, but I wouldn't be shocked if there were complimentary quotes from the pitchers about Johnny at the beginning of last season too.

 

I mean, if Estrada was really so bad at calling games or working with pitchers that he sunk the team last year, why would Ned and Doug have stuck with him so long? They had Miller as the backup and Rivera and Rottino in AAA, plus any number of defense first scrubs could have been had for little return. Not having made a move would be inexplicable and grounds for firing both of them if the effect was as big as some people are saying it is. I mean, Kendall himself was available for a pittance. Wouldn't getting him have made a much bigger impact on the pitching than getting Linebrink to pitch 25 innings if Kendall's effect is as big as people are saying?

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