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Who Are the Worst Cubs' Backup Catchers?

Written by , Posted in General

It’s the off-season, well at least for the Cubs. This off-season we have plans to run two posts per day during the week and one on the weekend. In the AM you’ll get a discuss / minor post (usually put together by me). In the afternoon around 2p eastern time, you’ll get a feature post written by one of the various writers for the site. This should be an exciting off-season for the Cubs so I look forward to some of the content we’ll be seeing in the coming months on the site.

Three Strikes for Discussion

  • STRIKE ONE – The wild card race was spectacular this year in both leagues, capped off by one of the best nights of baseball that I can remember. Would you expand the wild card race to add another wild card spot? The two wild card winners would then play a 1 game play in game to see who wins the right to go to the division series. This year that brings us a game between the Red Sox / Rays and the Braves / Cardinals
  • STRIKE TWO – Does the Red Sox early exit help or hurt the Cubs chances for Theo Epstein leaving Boston to come to Chicago? Do you want him?
  • STRIKE THREE – Was Jose Reyes bunt single in one at bat a bush league way to win the batting title?

It’s not a secret that I’m not a fan of our catching situation. I’m not a Geo guy and as much as I like the way Koyie Hill plays, I don’t like the result he produces. I present to you a list of the worst backup catchers, ranked by OPS+, for the Cubs since 1960. Only requirements being that they played at least 75% of their games at catcher and had within 150 and 250 plate appearances.

Player OPS+ ▴ PA Year Age 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
Steve Swisher 35 220 1977 25 7 0 5 15 9 47 .190 .229 .298 .527
Koyie Hill 44 231 2010 31 13 1 1 17 12 61 .214 .254 .298 .552
Ken Rudolph 45 182 1973 26 8 1 2 17 7 25 .206 .239 .300 .539
Tim Blackwell 46 159 1979 26 3 1 0 12 32 25 .164 .338 .205 .542
Paul Bako 47 157 2004 32 8 0 1 10 15 29 .203 .288 .283 .571
Koyie Hill 50 153 2011 32 3 1 2 9 14 40 .194 .268 .276 .545
Cuno Barragan 52 158 1962 30 6 1 0 12 21 28 .201 .306 .261 .567
Damon Berryhill 57 172 1991 27 7 0 5 14 11 41 .189 .244 .327 .571
Chris Krug 61 186 1965 25 5 0 5 24 13 52 .201 .258 .320 .578
Jim Sundberg 61 161 1987 36 2 0 4 15 19 40 .201 .306 .302 .608
Paul Bako 67 213 2003 31 13 3 0 17 22 47 .229 .311 .330 .641
Vic Roznovsky 69 193 1965 26 4 1 3 15 16 30 .221 .295 .308 .603
Henry Blanco 73 178 2005 33 6 0 6 25 11 24 .242 .287 .391 .679
Chris Cannizzaro 76 234 1971 33 8 1 5 23 28 24 .213 .311 .340 .652
Joe Girardi 76 172 1989 24 10 0 1 14 11 26 .248 .304 .331 .635
Rick Wilkins 76 200 1995 28 2 0 6 14 36 51 .191 .340 .315 .655
Jack Hiatt 82 215 1970 27 12 1 2 22 31 48 .242 .352 .354 .706
Rick Wilkins 83 235 1991 24 9 0 6 22 19 56 .222 .307 .355 .662
Barry Foote 84 216 1980 28 13 1 6 28 13 18 .238 .282 .401 .683
Jason Kendall 84 202 2007 33 10 1 1 19 19 15 .270 .362 .356 .718
Michael Barrett 84 231 2007 30 9 0 9 29 17 36 .256 .307 .427 .734
Tim Blackwell 89 182 1981 28 10 2 1 11 23 23 .234 .331 .342 .673
Dick Bertell 91 235 1962 26 6 2 2 18 13 30 .302 .343 .377 .720
George Mitterwald 91 240 1974 29 7 0 7 28 18 42 .251 .310 .381 .691
Jody Davis 94 207 1981 24 5 1 4 21 21 28 .256 .333 .361 .694
Jeff Reed 97 181 1999 36 11 2 1 17 28 34 .260 .381 .380 .761
Jimmie Schaffer 103 153 1963 27 7 0 7 19 11 35 .239 .294 .437 .731
Ed Bailey 119 187 1965 34 6 0 5 23 34 28 .253 .385 .393 .778
Tim Hosley 123 171 1975 28 7 0 6 20 27 25 .255 .382 .433 .815
Hector Villanueva 143 214 1991 26 10 1 13 32 21 30 .276 .346 .542 .887
Scott Servais 144 203 1995 28 12 0 12 35 23 37 .286 .371 .560 .931
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/29/2011.

 

  • Buddy

    Koyie Hill is beyond terrible. Under no scenario should he be on the Cubs roster in 2012.

  • Dusty Baylor

    No mention of Hank White? He qualified in 2005 and 2006.

  • Joe

    Blanco’s 2005 is on there. 2004 he had too many PA.

  • Norm

    Strike one:
    I would NOT add another wild card spot. It’s a money grab, is all it is.
    “Is eight out of 30 enough? Is that fair? And that’s the basic question here, at least for me.”
    Asked his opinion of 10 playoff teams, Selig responded: “It’s more fair than eight.”

    Well Bud, how about 16 playoff teams? Is that more fair than 10?
    ————-
    Strike two:
    I do want him. I don’t know if it will help or hurt though, could go either way. I think I’d take Andrew Friedman first though.
    ————-
    Strike three:
    Yes, but I won’t get all up in arms about it. He was out of the game before some of the hometown fans even made it to the game to say good bye to him with a nice round of applause. It was weak.

  • Dusty Baylor

    Ah..so my attention to details needs work? Thanks Joe!

    8 playoff teams is plenty.
    I’d love Epstein, or Friedman
    I think Reyes coming out is bush league. Play the damn game.

  • Jedi

    Joe, you remove Damon Berryhill from that list right now. 🙂 He was never backup to anyone…Berryhill was the man, and not just because Harry butchered his name beyond belief!

    I’m skipping to the Reyes question. It was worse than bush league; and if I’m his manager, the only thing he gets is an earful in the clubhouse between innings.

  • mrbaseball2usa

    How in the HELL did Scott ‘Room’ Servais post a .913 OPS in ’95?

  • Larry Sproul

    How many times did Hill come to the plate never making contact ?? My 8 yr old niece would say he is going down on strikes . If the Cubs choose to retain Hill I dont feel sorry for them .

  • Norm

    He must have been crazy hot mrbaseball…but he is a good example showing how 200 plate appearances doesn’t tell you anything about how talented a player is. ANYONE can have a good stretch of 200 PA. He hit nearly 20% of his career home runs in that little stretch of time!

  • Jedi

    Sorry to derail this – the Red Sox and Terry Francona are through (Jon Heyman is reporting). Think he’d be a good fit with the Cubs?

  • Doc Raker

    Paul Bako will always hold a special place in my heart from 2003, I think Campana has more power than Bako. I was so glad Dusty started Bako in game 7 of the NLCS, another genius Dusty move and left him in to hit in the ninth inning to end game with a weak blooper to center- ah memories.

  • Bryan

    The biggest problem I see with the one game playoff between two wild card teams is the fact that one of those would work their butts off for 162 games to see it all come down to a one game series. I realize this occasionally happens anyway. I guess either way it’s not going to stop me from watching.

  • Buddy

    Yes Jedi. I’d be happy with Francona in Chicago. How about you?

  • He does have some hands-on experience with shitty, gigantically-overpaid pitchers. C’mon over.

  • Jedi

    Yeah – I’d be fine with Francona. I’m not sure that he’d be my first pick, but he’d definitely be on a list of “acceptable” solutions.

    Norm, I thought you were pimping Hahn for GM? Not so much anymore? Any reason why?

  • Norm

    I don’t really have a horse in that race…I’d be fine with Friedman, Theo, Hahn and numerous others.
    I know guys I do NOT want, like Josh Byrnes or Ned Coletti, but I don’t know enough about all the candidates to separate them from one another.

  • Seymour Butts

    Strike 1- One game is not enough, too risky. Leave it alone.
    Strike 2- Theo was raised in Boston, hard to see him leaving.
    Strike 3- Sure, it’s a fine way for a Fleets Enema to win a batting title.

  • ScottO

    Francona and Epstein—Really? YES – in a second!!! C’mon.
    WOW! But alas, we will get a good GM and a bad manager like Buddy Bell….

  • Buddy

    I’m not smart enough to predict the next Cubs manager, but it won’t be Buddy Bell.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    1) A one-game playoff is a stupid consolation prize. I’d rather stick with what we’ve got. Wait to expand the postseason until you’ve added a couple more teams and realigned the leagues–until then, it just looks like a ploy to get the Yankees and Red Sox into the playoffs every season.

    2) Epstein would be a fine option, but I still think I’d rather have Friedman. Seems to me like he had to work harder and smarter to build his playoff team–he didn’t have the financial advantages Theo had in Boston.

    3) Reyes’ bunt-and-sit was classless, gutless, and pathetic. He probably would have caught a lot more heat for it if the late games that night hadn’t been so wild. I hope opposing pitchers have a long memory.

  • Jeremiah Johnson

    If it was the pressure and an erratic clubhouse that drove Francona out of Boston (sounds like they might have factored into the split), I don’t see how we’d represent an improvement. But if he’s looking for another massive, historic challenge, he’d be one of the better options available.

  • Jedi

    Bigger challenge:

    Cubs after Mike Quade OR Red Sox after Grady Little?

    I say the latter.

  • BLPCB

    Strike 1 – No, it’s unfair to the teams who get the wild card slots, because the division winners would get to line up their pitching, while the wild card teams would not be able to.
    Strike 2 – Not clear. I would much rather have the Tampa GM though since I think if you combine his smarts with money, he could build a winner
    Strike 3 – Who cares? A bunt is part of the game, and if you don’t want him winning the batting title, field the bunt and throw him out at first. I once broke up a perfect game with a bunt in Little League. We were down 10-0, 2 outs away, and I did it because I didn’t like the guy who was pitching. He was a real bully to me in school. I broke his arm with a locker the next day though. He tried to punch me for breaking up the perfect game. I slammed the door on his arm so hard, you could hear the bone break. 2 years later, down 10-0, 6 outs away, broke it up with a bunt, rattled the pitcher, and we came back to win.

  • BLPCB

    test

  • Norm

    BLPCB, not the bunt itself, but taking himself out in the first inning…

  • BLPCB

    I don’t see an issue with it. Braun said he would have taken himself out if he passed Reyes and the outcome of the game had already been decided

  • Jedi

    BLPCB – you broke up two perfect game blowouts with bunts. I’m not sure you’re the best person to use as a moral compass.

  • BLPCB

    Hey the 2nd time I did it we came back and won the game.

  • Valid point.

  • BLPCB

    Screw political correctness. We’re being done in by it

  • BLPCB

    As for the first time, why should I let him have the perfect game? If he wants the perfect game so badly, he should be punching his 1B for not fielding the ball and not throwing me out at first. Admittedly, I broke up the game the first time because I didn’t like that kid. He got what he deserved though, when I broke his arm, it ended his baseball career, because it took over a year for his arm to heal. Got off scot-free too, because I did it in defense.