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Chris Stewart and passed balls


Wednesday night Chris Stewart gave up two runs on a strikeout. That doesn't happen often, but this is what it looks like to be defensively inept:

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Thanks to the magnificent Tanya Bondurant.

Chris Stewart is supposed to be a defensive-first catcher. In 2012 he was tied for sixth place among catchers with four Defensive Runs Saved and in 2013 he has been seventh with five Defensive Runs Saved. Obviously, that adds up to nine runs over the last two seasons and puts him in fifth place among all catchers. He might be able to frame a pitch, but the problem is that he can't catch a ball.

In 2013 alone he has given up eight passed balls, and while that doesn't seem like a lot, it actually ties him for fourth place in the league. That's not even qualified catchers, that's all catchers.

Over the last two seasons, Stewart has 16 total passed balls between (almost) two seasons. In that time he has caught 1099.2 innings behind the plate, so if his passed balls are converted into innings caught per passed ball, he's actually had the third most passed balls in the league.

Basically, Stewart hasn't necessarily given up the most passed balls, but he's given up the third highest rate of passed balls. His 68.7 innings per passed ball is beat only by Wilin Rosario's 56.6 innings per passed ball and Josh Thole's 40. Thole probably had difficulty catching R.A. Dickey's knuckleball over the last two seasons and at least Rosario has hit the most home runs (48) among catchers in the last two seasons. The 2013 innings caught per passed ball leader, Welington Castillo, has a 105 innings per passed ball rate, but he also has the ninth highest WAR among catchers this season.

It seems that everyone that is worse than Stewart has some kind of value to make up for the amount of passed balls they commit every year, except Chris Stewart, of course. What does Stewart have as an excuse? Not a whole lot.

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