Carlos Ruiz Again Rates Among Game’s Best Defensive Catchers

It’s one of my favorite times of the year: Matt Klaassen (@devil_fingers) posts an update of his fantastic catcher defense ratings at Beyond the Box Score. In past iterations of the ratings, Carlos Ruiz has graded out very well and this version is no different. Klaassen’s aggregate rating put Ruiz as the fifth-best defensive catcher in all of Major League Baseball, adding roughly six runs above what a league-average catcher would provide. Those six runs translate to roughly two-thirds of a win.

Rank Player Age Tm PA FERuns ThERuns PBWPRuns CSRuns Total
1 Matt Wieters 25 BAL 4971 -0.9 2.2 6.8 7.1 15.2
2 Miguel Montero 27 ARI 4903 0.6 -1.7 3.3 5.7 7.8
3 Lou Marson 25 CLE 2872 0.8 -0.6 2.3 4.7 7.2
4 Kelly Shoppach 31 TBR 2601 0.0 0.7 2.6 3.5 6.8
5 Carlos Ruiz 32 PHI 4327 0.4 1.3 6.4 -2.4 5.7
6 Wilson Ramos 23 WSN 4038 1.1 0.1 1.7 2.3 5.2
7 Ramon Hernandez 35 CIN 2832 0.8 1.3 -0.1 3.1 5.1
8 Yadier Molina 28 STL 4896 1.3 0.7 2.4 0.6 5.1
9 Nick Hundley 27 SDP 2726 0.8 -1.2 1.6 3.4 4.6
10 Ryan Hanigan 30 CIN 2906 0.1 0.4 2.6 1.4 4.5

FE: Fielding Errors; ThE: Throwing Errors; PBWP: Passed Balls/Wild Pitches; CS: Caught Stealing.

As per his reputation, Ruiz was among the best at blocking pitches in the dirt, which prevents wild pitches and passed balls. Chooch happened to lag behind in throwing out base-stealers. Had he been league-average in that category, he would have jumped ahead of Miguel Montero in second place.

If you use Klaassen’s metric as a replacement for FanGraphs’ defensive rating for catchers, Ruiz moves from 2.8 to 3.6 WAR. Only seven other catchers in baseball finished the year with more value. Meanwhile, just three Phillies regulars ranked ahead of Ruiz: Shane Victorino (5.9), Chase Utley (3.9), and Jimmy Rollins (3.8). Quietly, Ruiz has become a critical factor in the team’s success, especially when you consider other qualities such as game-calling and handling a pitching staff.