Chicago Cubs: The importance of catcher David Ross

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Despite making fewer appearances at catcher than every player above him on the list, Ross has a defensive wins above replacement (dWAR) number of 0.9 which puts him at tied for seventh in the Major Leagues among 88 qualified catchers. This statistic shows that Ross has been the best defensive catcher on this Chicago Cubs team. Veteran Miguel Montero has a dWAR of 0.4 while youngster Kyle Schwarber checks in at 0.0 in this statistical category.

Jul 24, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; Philadelphia Phillies catcher Cameron Rupp (29) runs from Chicago Cubs catcher David Ross (3) at Wrigley Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

According to baseball reference, Ross has saved seven runs more than his hypothetical replacement (Rdrs) across his body of work this season. He has one error in 263 chances and has a fielding percentage of 99.7 percent in the 30 games that he started at catcher.

Less advanced statistics also confirm that David Ross is having a good year defensively this season. In 257 1/3 innings behind the plate, he committed one error and  has three passed balls charged to him–both very tolerable totals. Perhaps, Ross’ best defensive quality is his ability to pick off runners. According to baseball reference, he has already picked off five runners this season.

The one area defensively that Ross has struggled with is throwing out stealing base runners. In 2015, he has thrown out 12 of 34 runners for a caught stealing percentage of 26 percent. This is slightly below the league average of 28 percent. Even though his caught stealing percentage is slightly lower than average, it is still better than the other catchers on the Cubs roster. Miguel Montero has thrown out 25 percent of runners while Kyle Schwarber has only thrown out 20 percent.

His other defensive statistics coupled with his ability to maximize his pitchers’ talents with his pitch framing makes the slightly below average caught stealing percentage a sacrifice that the Cubs are willing to take.

Next: Conclusion