New York Mets 2009 Rundown: Brian Schneider

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New York Mets 2009 Rundown: Brian Schneider

A new face to the Mets in 2008, Brian Schneider actually gave New York something they haven't had since Gary Carter—a catcher who can throw out more than 30 percent of base runners. Although not a very big presence at the plate, behind the dish he is considered the smartest guy on the field for the Mets at any given time. 

Always known for good hitting catchers such as Paul Lo Duca, Mike Piazza, and even Todd Hundley, the Mets shocked everybody when they announced they had traded top prospect Lastings Milledge to the Washington Nationals for Ryan Church and Brian Schneider.

Being familiar with both of these players in his time as a general manager for the Montreal Expos, Mets GM Omar Minaya felt it was a good move to do at the time, since Paul Lo Duca was not re-signed after 2007. 

Many people criticized the trade, and some even called it the 'Kazmir' trade of Minaya's era. However, what many people don't realize is that Brian Schneider actually helps this team more than any fan can see. Call me crazy, but I did not see going from Lo Duca to Schneider as much of a downgrade.

First of all, let's look at his hitting. There is definitely nothing to brag about when you take a quick glance, as he batted .257 with nine home runs and 38 RBI in 384 plate appearances. However, take a closer look.

  • Versus RHP, Schneider hit .277/.354/.415 in 297 plate appearances. To put that into perspective, slugger Carlos Beltran hit .266/.360/.458 in 498 plate appearances versus RHP. 
  • In August, Schneider hit .286/.365/.536 with four home runs and 11 RBI in 20 games.
  • In September, he hit .260/.321/.480 with three home runs and seven RBI in 20 games.

But here's where it gets really interesting. 

  • Runner on first (72 plate appearances)- .387/.449/.548, 3 HR, 7 RBI
  • Runners on second and third (11 plate appearances)- .571/.727/.714, 8 RBI
  • Runner on third, two out (19 plate appearances)- .286/.474/.357, 8 RBI
  • Late and close (57 plate appearances)- .396/.453/.458, 3 2B, 5 RBI
  • Tie Game (77 plate appearances)- .323/.421/.446, 2 HR, 2 2B, 7 RBI
  • One run game (157 plate appearances)- .292/.386/.421, 4 HR, 14 RBI
  • Innings 7-9 (118 plate appearances)- .314/.368/.412, 2 HR, 16 RBI
  • Versus WAS/FLA/PHI (150 plate appearances)- .311/.377/.434, 4 HR, 21 RBI

While those are not necessarily mind-blowing numbers, it's still pretty hard to argue against that sort of production for left-handed catcher hitting eighth. Too many fans tend to look at his bad numbers in certain situations, and sometimes they forget that he does really well in others.

Despite what he does at the plate, when I think of Brian Schneider, I think of a defensive catcher who is very intelligent in handling pitchers. In 820 career games as a catcher so far:

  • Schneider has a .993 fielding percentage (Lo Duca-.990, Carter-.991).
  • He has committed just 35 errors in almost 6,700 innings, which is .005 errors per inning (Lo Duca-.008, Carter-.006).   
  • He has thrown out 38 percent of base runners (Lo Duca-30 percent, Carter-35 percent). Worth noting is the fact that Lo Duca only threw out 24 percent of base runners as a Met.

Of course, Paul Lo Duca and Gary Carter are certainly not the greatest defensive catchers of all-time, but it is somewhat interesting to note their numbers along with Schneider's since they were two very popular Mets catchers.

Am I saying Schneider should be considered a great catcher? Not really. But it seems appropriate to give him a bit of credit and consider him a decent catcher. Having a guy like Schneider behind the plate is almost like having two pitching coaches. And trust me, it is a whole lot easier to send the catcher out to the mound than it is the pitching coach.  

In 2009, look for Schneider to keep doing what he does best—manage the pitching staff while swinging an average to below-average bat. While it would be nice to have a catcher like Ivan Rodriguez once was, having Brian Schneider behind the plate is certainly nothing to complain about.  

2008 Stats:

110 G, 335 AB, 9 HR, 38 RBI, .257/.339/.367, 33% CS

2009 Prediction:

118 G, 352 AB, 11 HR, 45 RBI, .262/.341/.375, 35% CS 

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