6 Miguel Olivo, C, 9.14.11


How about a quick-shtick on each lineup position? ... we'll go for the top half on Thursday.  :- )


Miguel Olivo hit a ball, about 10 feet foul down the LF line, that cleared the upper-deck facade like James Belushi hitting a tennis ball over the chain-link fence against Big Sak.  It literally disappeared back into a tunnel.

As Jeff Sullivan pointed out, Olivo's out ratio is farrrrr above the legal limit and if a saber patrolman ever field-tests him, Miguel will not be driving his own car home.

Olivo is averaging 24 walks and 153 strikeouts (!!) per 162 games on his career.  I'm guessing that is the worst, the #1 worst, EYE profile of any good player in major league history.

And Olivo is a good player.  

He's an extreme glove-first baseball player who holds down the entire pitching staff for us, who provides a dominating presence with his arm, and whose home runs steadily change the scoreboard for the Mariners.

Usually you would say, "Olivo's 24:153 EYE defines the lower boundary of where you can be and play ML baseball."  But I don't think even that's true.  I think that Miguel Olivo is playing baseball despite being below the low boundary for OBP and contact.  He's an unusual, and interesting, baseball player.

An 80 OPS+ isn't great, but neither is it Adam Moore, and there's not a thing wrong with 80 if you are a true glove player and you're in the middle of the field.


Jesus Montero, at age 20, slugged over .500 as a catcher in AAA.  Steve Baron didn't.

Demoralized, he had a couple of slow months starting AAA in 2011 and we all wiped our brows, "WHEWWWW!  DODGED A BULLET ON THAT ONE!  TURNS OUT MONTERO CAN'T HIT!"

Now, at age 21, he is in the American League and on a rampage.  His .571 SLG in the majors has everybody all excited again.


Shame on us.  Who was that Greek hero who sailed past the irresistible sirens by lashing himself to the mast?  That's what saberdogs need to do, to keep from bailing on a guy who just had a bad month...

One of the very first things that James taught baseball, was to look at a ballplayer's last three years.  Not at his last three weeks.  It's surprisingly tough to do, isn't it?


I'd love to hear some intelligent discussion as to whether Montero can play catcher well enough to be a bat-first player there, as Mike Piazza was.  I can think of worse things than having Mike Piazza as our catcher for the next ten years.

The Yankees aren't moving Russell Martin off catcher, that's for sure.  They might want James Paxton for Montero, but I wonder if you could steer them onto one of our other pitchers, Taijuan Walker or Jose Campos.

Can anybody link us to a genuinely insightful discussion of Montero's defensive potential?




I got to watch (most of) an actual Mariners game on my television set!  (Usually I only get a sprinkling, when they play the Royals or WhiteSox.  I honestly don't recall the last time they were on ESPN for real.)  Anyway, there were lots of things I was hoping I'd get from the Doktor, and he's already delivered:
L-Rod going forward.  Check.
Vargas does the twist.  Check.
POTD Steve Delabar.
The Smoak-vs.-Montero call revisited.


If he were to execute 1,000 more pitches just like these, he'd get 20 holds next year...
Strange arsenal for the pitching motion.  But no accident that he's been threshing pro baseball like over-ripe wheat.  What a find.


1. What a thrill for Delabar.  He's off the planet (baseball wise) in April, A-Ball to MLB in the ensuing months, and then he whups the dastardly Yanks for his first career win.  Way to go kid!
2. Wilhelmsen: How do you spell Fee-Nom?
What a motion!  What an Arm!
3.  Montero?  If you can get him for one of those lesser, non-Paxton arms (a way big if) then you let him learn from Olivo for a year, catch 40 games, and DH the rest.  Slug .570?  Even if he can't catch he has to play somewhere. Even if he slugs .500 he has to play.  Lot's of SSI'ers are all gaga over signing Fielder.  He slugged .470 last year (albeit, his "slump" year)  Montero is, of course, a gambler's throw, but you wouldn't be betting on Snake Eyes.  Montero for a Walker or Campos or the Prince for $20 large? 
Montero for me.


While I have no clue about Montero specifically, for me Piazza (IMO) proved the truth about catcher defense.  It is nearly impossible for the WORST run-stopping catcher in the game to cost his team very many games.  Piazza, who threw out a miserable 23% of base-stealer's in his career, consistently runs -1 WAR for his defense.  His bat was consistently above 5.
In 1996, Piazza allowed 155 SBs (through out 34 for an 18% CS rate), allowed 37 WPs and a league worst 12 PBs.  That was one of the two years he made the playoffs with the Dodgers.  That Dodger team would finish only 12th in runs scored.  But, they would finish #1 in ERA and 2nd in fewest runs allowed.
The Yankees tend to assemble veteran pitching staffs.  Montero won't need to "handle" pitchers much.  They'll "handle" him. 
In truth, somebody like VMart at catcher is almost always a massive plus for a team.  The downside is not the defensive loss ... but the loss of 150 PAs from a good hitter.  Piazza always called a good game.  His ability to stop the ball (or runners) didn't matter in the end. 
Honestly, I think the "ick" factor is what eventually makes managers give up on catchers.  If watching the guy is "painful" (cough - Rob Johnson cough), then managers punt, even when the numbers say it isn't actually costing enough runs to matter.
It's more important to "look" competent than to actually "be" competent. 
The rest, IMO, is hype based on the reality that catching is very, very, very hard ... so perception (wrongly) equates difficulty with importance.  This is why SS is almost universally viewed as more "important" defensively than 2B, despite the reality that the two positions will get almost equal chances over a season.


At least, that's who I see when he steps in the box.
If Pudge caught for 25% of his games and DHed for 75% he'd still have plenty of value.  The Yankees are gonna have to figure something out, though, because A-Rod is gonna be DHing shortly and for the next half-dozen years, so that's not an open slot for the Yanks.  They could use him as the backup catcher, I guess...
I wanted V-Mart so it's not like that DH/C package is one I'm against.  But you're not getting Montero for anything short of a ML pitcher at this point - no Campos type of trade of a pitcher 3-4 years away to get him.  Pineda or Paxton for Montero, and that's not a deal I make - we don't have any more plus-ML arms to spare at this point.
Too bad we don't still have Fister... *rubs salt in wound*
F-Mart better be good.  I like Furbush, don't like Wells (in RF at least), and Ruffin's a reliever.  F-Mart is gonna be the one that hinges the deal on Fister and whether it's profitable, but this is why I hate giving up the best player in a trade.  $1.00 of pure performance is worth more than $1.08 in potential performance.  Especially when the value of that $1.00 is still climbing daily.
OTOH, it's always possible that Jack trades Wells (or plays him in CF, freeing up Trayvon for another trade) and we get back a better sum of parts that way.  Collecting all these parts is great, but we're still one of the worst offenses in the DH era for the second year in a row.
The ones who can't stay have got to go - while they still have value.
I don't really see us doing that, however.  I think Wells and Trayvon both stay.  I think Carp, Smoak and Seager all stay, at least for a while. Seager might get moved as he'd have a ton of value as a cheap 2B if we can get Vinnie or F-Mart or Miller or Nick Franklin playing 3rd, but we're still a year or two off on that.  Think of it like the Angels trading Kotchman because they had Kendry in system.
On the whole though I think Jack traded for guys he wanted for us, not ones to spin off to other teams for yet more unproven guys. 


The rest, IMO, is hype based on the reality that catching is very, very, very hard ... so perception (wrongly) equates difficulty with importance.  This is why SS is almost universally viewed as more "important" defensively than 2B, despite the reality that the two positions will get almost equal chances over a season.

Right there.  It's really hard to find someone who can play catcher well enough OFFENSIVELY to stick.  But I'd be running Napoli out there all the time as a plus weapon and telling my staff to just keep people off the bases and there won't be a problem with his D or his arm.
Most good hitters don't play catcher.  It shortens your career, takes you longer to get in a groove offensively, and is a whole lot harder than just standing at 1B and taking HR hacks at the plate.  After seeing what has happened to Posey and Mauer this year, more good-hitting high school catchers may be switching positions.
So you have average hitters manning it who are then hampered by the woes of playing the position.  If you ARE a good-hitting catcher the odds of you staying there for your whole career are low, and the odds of those thousands of innings crouched behind the plate taking an early bite out of your offensive stats are high.
If you can find a hitter who can catch, he's very valuable, even if he's not that GOOD at catching.  Splitting V-Mart (or Napoli) between DH and C was my desire this season, and I would have no qualms about doing the same with a Montero.
Letting Montero catch Felix and Vargas, who basically call their own games, while Olivo helps out the kids?  Totally fine with me.  I just don't think Montero can be gotten. We definitely need another catcher, though - Olivo won't last and when his power falters he's done as a useful anything.
Better have the catcher of the future in place when that happens.  Fingers crossed on Adam Moore, I guess.


Like you say, the Yankees have C and 1B landlocked, so presume your projection is for them to deal him someplace...
You mean you don't see a match with our resources?

benihana's picture

Last deadline Montero and change almost returned to the Yanks one Mr. Cliff Lee and he's done nothing to lower his value since then (early season slump long since forgotten).
The Yanks are a team that shops for Cy Youngs, Silver Sluggers, MVPs, etc.  A bunch of prospects or young MLB ready question marks ain't gonna get it done.  Now, we've got a couple Cy Young types, but we've been pretty adamate that we aren't trading the King, and I don't see a Pineda move in the cards.
Despite the landlock at C and 1B, I'm sure the Yanks are delighted at the 'problem' of finding playing time for Jesus.
My $0.02.
- Ben.


DH and 1B are landlocked.  They could play him at C and find ABs til they decide what to do with Martin, who's a FA after next year.  Maybe they keep him, maybe they don't.  They like Romine as a catcher, but he doesn't hit yet, and maybe ever.  So splitting the position between the hitter who can't catch and the catcher who can't hit would be amusing but possible.
But if Montero goes it's for an arm, and we're fresh out.  So yeah, not gettable by us, IMO - especially as Cashman's probably not in any mood to do us a favor after we snubbed him last year for Smoak et al from Texas.
If we wanted to give em Pineda, we could get Montero +.  I don't feel like doing that.  

Add comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd><p><br>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.


  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.