Playoff Preview: Fear Drew Butera | The Process Report

Playoff Preview: Fear Drew Butera

By R.J. Anderson //

Nobody ran on Joe Mauer early in his career. To be more accurate, nobody ran and got away with it. From 2005 through 2007, runners averaged 52 attempted steals a season and succeeded on 29 of them – or a little less than 45%. In the three seasons since, runners have averaged 75 attempts and 53 successes – nearly 70%. Catchers do not tend to age well as it is, but factor in back injuries and the slippage comes with no surprise.

I wanted to know just how Mauer fared with his backstops over the last few years. Is he better or worse? Drew Butera – someone who presumably will play in a potential playoff series – has a 43% caught stealing rate this year. Is that an exception or the rule?

Split	SBA	CS%
Mauer	328	34.50%
Reserves224	27.70%

Evidently just the exception, although if you remove everyone who saw fewer than 15 attempts, the overall caught stealing rate rises to 30% which is still below Mauer, but above league average in its own right. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Butera’s only asset is a ludicrously strong arm, yet he’s not projected to be paired with any of the Twins’ pitchers except Francisco Liriano, assuming Butera only gets the call during games started by a lefty (i.e. David Price).

That should leave the man with the minor league career 45% caught stealing rate on the pine for most of the series. And as silly as it seems, having Mauer behind the plate might actually help the Rays’ running game.

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