Last week, Fangraphs added fielding data from Inside Edge to their site for the 2012 and 2013 seasons. Inside Edge is a company that employs scouts who measure the difficulty of fielding each ball in play. For each player, we now have a percentage for plays he made by degree of difficulty — from “almost certain” to “remote.” Any data based purely on scouting is subjective in nature, but it is still likely gives us some useful insight.
Here’s how Yankees’ catchers — past and present — stack up against league averages.
All three of Russell Martin, Chris Stewart, and Brian McCann are pretty close to league average by this analysis. Surprisingly, Stewart grades out as the superior catcher across the board. However, this data only includes balls put in play, so it does not account for things like passed balls — which probably would have hurt Stewart’s percentages. This analysis also excludes pitch framing, which happens to be a specialty for all three of these guys.
If you’re worried about McCann’s below-average Inside Edge ratings, don’t be. McCann may not be the most nimble on balls hit right in front of him, but he excels at the more important things, like framing pitches and blocking balls in the dirt.