Grandal and Barnes ruling fWAR

There are many reasons why the Dodgers are the best team in the NL. One of them is the Dodger catching tandem.  A few days ago I read an article on Beyond the Box Score that suggested Austin Barnes could be used as an important trade chip.  In the article by Austin Yamada he went over why Barnes is so valuable.  He may be right.

Right now the Dodgers have the most lethal catching duo since the days of Yeager / Ferguson or LoDuca/Ross.  Back then Yeager was Mr. Defense and Fergy was Mr. Offense and many a debate went on about who should be the de facto starting catcher.

We are talking duo’s not the one man Piazza wrecking crew.

In Grandal and Barnes, the Dodgers get the best of both worlds.  They are both offensive and defensive minded catchers while also being the best among their peers at framing. The one constant knock against Grandal has been his propensity for passed balls and while that is frustrating,  when taken into context with everything else that he does well or above average, it is just something we have to live with.

This chart shows that even though Barnes is a backup catcher he has accumulated more fWAR than most starting catchers in the NL. Barnes has been compared to Realmuto because of his speed as a catcher. Barnes has almost twice the walk % of Realmuto and a significantly higher ISO.  Of course, Barnes gets the benefit of facing left – hand pitchers almost exclusively.  Or so I thought.

The surprise for me in doing this article is the number of at-bats that Barnes has accumulated against RHP this year.  Barnes has 70 PA against RHP and 74 against LHP, without seeing this, I would never have believed it.

Name PA WAR wRC+ wOBA ISO BB%
Buster Posey 355 3.3 138 0.381 0.173 10.70%
J.T. Realmuto 332 2.4 118 0.354 0.17 7.20%
Willson Contreras 315 2.4 112 0.347 0.223 8.30%
Yasmani Grandal 306 2.3 112 0.34 0.212 6.90%
Manny Pina 228 1.6 101 0.335 0.156 4.80%
Austin Barnes 144 1.6 151 0.400 0.246 14.60%
Tyler Flowers 253 1.5 123 0.364 0.151 8.30%
Francisco Cervelli 252 1.2 111 0.341 0.142 10.70%
Tucker Barnhart 240 1.2 80 0.301 0.127 7.90%
Kurt Suzuki 162 1 109 0.343 0.214 6.80%
Yadier Molina 337 1 79 0.296 0.138 4.50%

How about that slugg%? Highest among catchers with at least 120 plate appearances.

Name PA HR BB% K% AVG OBP SLG
Buster Posey 355 11 10.70% 11.00% 0.319 0.403 0.492
J.T. Realmuto 332 10 7.20% 15.70% 0.305 0.361 0.475
Willson Contreras 315 15 8.30% 24.40% 0.269 0.334 0.491
Yasmani Grandal 306 13 6.90% 24.50% 0.272 0.321 0.484
Manny Pina 228 6 4.80% 19.70% 0.294 0.335 0.45
Austin Barnes 144 6 14.60% 19.40% 0.295 0.403 0.541
Tyler Flowers 253 8 8.30% 21.30% 0.297 0.387 0.447
Francisco Cervelli 252 5 10.70% 18.70% 0.271 0.365 0.413
Tucker Barnhart 240 3 7.90% 16.70% 0.263 0.323 0.39
Kurt Suzuki 162 8 6.80% 13.60% 0.257 0.342 0.471
Yadier Molina 337 10 4.50% 14.50% 0.266 0.301 0.404
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