Astros: Maldy Hot Seat Tracker
Updated: May 28
If you want to be an informed Astros fan, I beg you to read this entire article. PLEASE.
I refuse to watch another year of one of the worst catchers playing for the champions. I want to give a shoutout to my Twitter friend Caleb who inspired me to get this out to people.
THIS is the home of what will be a growing and heating up Maldonado Hot Seat. We are going to simply track how atrocious this man is at his job. I NEVER go after players this way but Maldy's off-season antics of being butthurt that this team would even consider an upgrade has tipped this site to be the ground zero center point of all Maldonado hate. Here is the difference. We will use data and logic.
You may ask WHY are you on such a crusade.
HOT TAKE OPINION
The only way I see the Astros winning the World Series in 2023 is for Maldonado NOT to be their catcher in the postseason.
The bats will need to score 6 runs a game.
The team will need at least average production 1-9.
Do I expect to win this crusade in 2023? No. I don't expect the Astros to win the World Series either, I am trying to save them from themselves.
Here is my overall position.
The Astros ARE NOT bringing Maldy back for 2024. Therefore, in 2023, they MUST play Diaz and should play Lee enough to know if they are willing to roll through 2024 with those two as this franchise's catchers. Diaz NEEDS the 300 PA that Dana Brown said he was hoping to see.
Because of this, it is not enough to say Maldy and Diaz are on par with each other and we are more comfortable with Maldy. Maldy MUST be significantly better to justify an unbalance in playing time.
The future of this franchise at catcher likely rests with Diaz and Lee. the Astros need to start acting like it or find out that is not a viable option.
The Results Tracker- aka THE HOT SEAT TRACKER
The biggest weapon we have for telling the truth about Maldonado is his terrible results.
As you are aware from the Maldy roller coaster article here, Maldy gets hot streaks. We are in one right now. It is going to end in the next 7-10 days..
2023 Record When Starting at Catcher
Maldonado 22 wins - 16 losses
Diaz 7 wins - 4 losses
Salazar 1 win - 1 loss
2023 Runs Given Up When Starting at Catcher
Maldonado- Runs allowed per game: 3.61
Diaz/ Salazar-Runs allowed per game: 3.31
Another way to show this is to use what is called a catcher ERA- the team ERA when a player is catching.
Maldonado 3.18 Catcher ERA
Diaz 3.25 Catcher ERA
Any differences here are statistically insignificant.
Maybe you need to see the catcher ERA is NOT just a 2023 thing
Catcher ERA in 2022
Maldonado 2.91 Catcher ERA
Castro 2.46 Catcher ERA
Vazquez 3.02 catcher ERA
Catcher ERA in 2021
Maldonado 3.82 Catcher ERA
Castro 3.82 Catcher ERA
Where is the mystical effect Maldonado has on the Astros Pitching Staff? It does not exist and hasn't for over two years.
EVERYONE SAYS Valdez HAS to pitch to Maldy. Listen to the pitchers. Well let's all remember what FRAMBER had to say about pitching to Korey Lee in March. (Info from Chandler Rome on Twitter.)
Chandler Rome @Chandler_Rome Framber Valdez on working w/Korey Lee: "I've started to get comfortable throwing to him. He calls the pitches I want to throw. I feel very good about that. If the opportunity arises during the season, he's a guy I'd feel comfortable throwing to. He's been doing a really good job" 8:16 PM · Mar 24, 2023
What do you THINK "He calls the pitches I want to throw" MEANS folks?
It COULD mean other catchers- like the one he is told to throw to every fifth day- DON'T. It DOES mean that he is willing to pitch to others.
2023 Runs Scored When Starting at Catcher
Maldonado- Runs scored per game: 4.37
Diaz/ Salazar- Runs scored: 4.46
Maldy is batting like Maldy. We have been riding the Maldy Roller Coaster up and his wRC+ is now 73. This is really good for Maldy. His 2021-2023 average is 67 wRC+. His BABIP over the past four weeks is 0.412. That is not sustainable.
I am going to repeat this until it's clear. I DON'T even care if Diaz and Lee hit 53 wRC+ (Diaz currently) for the rest of the year. I REALLY DON'T CARE. They are 24. We need to know if they are a viable catcher option for 2024 and beyond. I want to see them play and so should the front office.
FYI- Lee currently is hitting 0.316/0.357/0.456/0.813 which in the PCL is 95 wRC+. In 110 PA since 4/25/23, Lee is 0.375/0.409/0.577/0.986 - 137 wRC+!
How many catchers with 130PA (Maldy 135PA- 19 catchers) are hitting 73 wRC+ or worse? NONE
WAR Tracker among Catchers
2023 Season to Date
Maldonado- 135 PA- -0.2 NEGATIVE 0.2.
Diaz- 61 PA- -0.1 - let the man play!
How many catchers with 130PA (Maldy 135PA- 19 catchers) have -0.2 WAR or worse? Two
2021-2023 Two Years Plus current year- minimum 400 PA - 51 catchers
Maldonado- 0.5 WAR (44th of 51)
Folks, he has delivered 0.5 WAR in two plus years!!!! That is PATHETIC.
Maldy has 940 PA in 2021-2023. Among players with 800 PA+ there are 14 catchers. Maldonado is DEAD LAST in WAR. There are only ELEVEN catchers with >900 PA
These have been the elite catchers in the game to be given THIS much playing time. Maldy is the worst of this group, and it is not even close.
Among all players at all positions with 900 PA, Maldonado is
WAR- 172nd among 180 players.
wRC+-179th among 180 players
This is the point where you tell me "Larry it's his DEFENSE", (It literally happened on Twitter. I just shake my head.)
I NEED you to hear this. Of the 19 catchers with 130 or more plate appearances in 2023 or in other words the starting catcher group, Maldonado's -1.0 defensive WAR is 16th of the 19. Therefore, he is the worst batter of the group and in the bottom third of defenders in the group.
Among the 42 catchers for the 2021-2023 with a minimum of 1000 Innings caught
The GREAT defensive catcher is
16th in Defensive WAR
33th in framing
26th in DRS (Defensive Runs Saved- -1)
HE IS NOT GREAT BUT HE IS BELOW AVERAGE instead of being the train wreck he is at the plate. But hey he is 2nd in passed balls! Oh wait
Maldy is going to Maldy. What does that mean? Expect the same roller coaster ride in 2023 that we had in 2022.
Maldy's Career in Context
This WILL BLOW your mind
Of all 2037 batters with more than 3000 PA of ALL TIME Maldy’s 72 wRC+ ranks him 1956. That's vs. ALL hitters since 1871. So there is that.
If we limit the time span to 1961 to 2023, there are now 1200 players with more than 3000 PA. Maldy’s 72 wRC+ ranks him 1154. Or you can say there are only 46 players with a worse career wRC+ in the modern era of baseball that were give 3000 PA.
If we limit to the span of Maldy's career (2011-2023), there are now 233 players with more that 3000 PA. Maldonado's 72 wRC+ ranks him 231st.
Now of those same 3000 PA players only 87 are ACTIVE and Maldonado ranks, you guessed it 87th.
If one lowers the bar to 2000 PA there are now 136 active players. Only Chris Owings and Austin Hedges have a lower wRC+ than Maldonado.
Lower to 1500 PA, 168 players and Maldy is 165th.
Let's take those same 168 players. Martin Maldonado has delivered 13.5 WAR overall (remember only 0.5 since 2021) which is 81 out of the 168 players. He WAS valuable at one time, but he isn't any longer. THIS IS what happens to players in their mid-30s. That the Astros refuse (or Maldy refuses) to accept the aging curve is the issue more than the fact that Maldy is on it.
Here is the trend of Maldonado's Defensive WAR and his overall WAR. When people reference Maldy as a GREAT defensive catcher- they are actually thinking about 2017 and 2018 Maldy. It is 2023 not 2018.
I don't want to have to type this. IF Maldonado stays on the pace he has for the first 52 games, he will deliver -0.6 WAR. He would also have his worst defensive year of his career 0r +1.7 defensive WAR.
When I say Maldy's current performance is unsustainable, I mean it.
Even I don't think Maldonado is THIS bad, but the aging curve IS undefeated.
We had a discussion on Twitter Spaces about the catching position and what one could expect from a catcher for wRC+ (shoutout out to Caleb again for this topic.)
The catching position throughout the history of baseball has delivered generally around 85-90 wRC+. The only time Maldy exceeded the average catcher significantly was in the COVID shortened season of 2020. (He was a very typical 65 wRC+ in that postseason however.)
Here is how Maldy is doing vs. the average catcher.
Let's even compare catcher as a position relative to the other positions 2021-2023.
No, league wide the catching position is not an offensive wasteland. Only in Hoston and a few other places.
There you go - The Maldy Hot Seat Tracker. I will update these numbers several times a week.
The Astros organization DID NOT do what THEY said they would do. They did not get an alternative veteran to pair with Maldonado. They did this because they believed in their two rookie catchers. Now, it is time to prove it.
When he cools off again and he will, put Maldy on the 10-day IL, make something up, he is still not recovered from the things that should have caused him to be out last year. I don't care.
Call up Lee then- send Salazar down, Dusty refuses to play Diaz at DH anyway.
Keep making excuses for Maldy to stay out, put him on the 60-day IL, tell him to shut up and collect his paycheck and do his coaching role.
Give Diaz and Lee all year to struggle and improve. Do you REALLY think they are going to be worse than Maldy? You won't by the time I am done this year.
IF either of them is REALLY REALLY struggling in August, bring Maldy off of the 60-day IL and get him ready for the postseason.
You may consider this to be a radical course of action. It is. It is also caused by the team not taking action in the offseason.
Of course, I know Diaz and Lee will have bad days ahead too. I would rather have either one of the 24-year-olds have a bad day at catcher than watch the 36-year-old fail once again. Let them have their bad days in April, May, June, and July.
Don't come at me with the players love him. READ the entire section 4 of this Maldy article written in June of last year,
The crusade begins. This will ONLY work if people start repeating the truth and stop repeating the propaganda. I will do my part; will you?
This will surely bring "Look at this guy who pretends he is the Astros GM and thinks he knows more than the team."
1. The Website CLEARLY states- "I know I am not a GM, but I can help you think like one."
2. The "TEAM" traded for Vazquez. I am in alignment with the FO. The FO and the MANAGER are not in alignment. I am just going to tell you right now, Dana Brown will win this battle. It may be in 2024. Maldy's time in Houston IS coming to a close.
I sometimes have a love/ hate relationship with Twitter. Every once in a while, I get someone that shares things in a way that I just have to let you all see it. Here is one response I got to this updated article.
Paul @AbreuSupremacy Click brought in Castro and paid him about the same as Maldy. He and Crane wanted Contreras which resulted in Maldy pouting like a baby. Hilarious that there’s this idea among fans that the FO believes Maldy is secretly a great catcher in spite of all his obvious shortcomings.