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.
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.