Is Connor Wong a starting catcher?

YTF

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Just from watching, Wong seems best suited as the strong side of a platoon situation. Recently he seemed to struggle when the team needed to rely on him on a daily basis. I feel that if they can pair him up with a better option than McGuire and let him catch 110-120 games the Sox will be in very good shape until the Teel era begins.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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Hell yes.

Its not just his hitting of late. He seems to be putting up quality ABs regularly regardless of outcome.

Also, that throw was pretty sick.
 

joe dokes

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Just from watching, Wong seems best suited as the strong side of a platoon situation. Recently he seemed to struggle when the team needed to rely on him on a daily basis. I feel that if they can pair him up with a better option than McGuire and let him catch 110-120 games the Sox will be in very good shape until the Teel era begins.
Other than Realmuto, no catcher appeared in more than 116 games in 2022, so your target number seems about right. I prefer using the traditional backup catcher based on a platoon advantage, rather than for a particular starter. Regardless, Wong is not a big guy. The beginning of McGuire's rehab stint has reduced my flashbacks to Saltalamacchia being pretty worn out by the end of the 2013 season after Ross missed a couple of months mid season.
 

EyeBob

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Not every position player has to rake! When you have 6 hitters with an OPS over .800, the other 3 can be glove first people (thank to Sox Prospects Podcast for this perspective), Wong is a very strong defender and his "pop time" is phenomenal. Look at his throw out of that flunky in the 9th last night. Dude has 45 steals in AAA this season, Wong's throw beat him by 18". Off of Jansen, no less. Platoon him as @YTF mentioned.
 

HangingW/ScottCooper

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Considering the projected lineup over the next year or two Wong is absolutely fine offensively in the 8 or 9 hole and seems to be above average defensively. I think we can expect Christian Vazquez like productivity from him provided he stays healthy.
 

DavidTai

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NM, someone linked the article.

Will say, I love that while his arm isn't his greatest strength, what IS elite is his 'accuracy + location'.
 

Sprowl

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Fielding Bible Strike Zone for catchers and Fangraphs Defensive Runs Saved both give Wong poor ratings for framing. He has plenty of distinguished company in the below-average category, so maybe framing is a less important indicator than controlling the running game. Still, if we want to consider Connor Wong an elite defensive catcher, we'd better hope that technological development makes pitch presentation irrelevant.

In other words, Robots Now!
 

jmcc5400

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Fielding Bible Strike Zone for catchers and Fangraphs Defensive Runs Saved both give Wong poor ratings for framing. He has plenty of distinguished company in the below-average category, so maybe framing is a less important indicator than controlling the running game. Still, if we want to consider Connor Wong an elite defensive catcher, we'd better hope that technological development makes pitch presentation irrelevant.

In other words, Robots Now!
Yeah, there’s been at least a half dozen occasions where I’ve groaned because Wong has reached to catch a ball in the zone with kind of a flourish that takes the ball out of the zone without pausing on the catch. I’ve noticed it less more recently, so hopefully it’s something he’s improving.
 

johnnyfromspain

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Fielding Bible Strike Zone for catchers and Fangraphs Defensive Runs Saved both give Wong poor ratings for framing. He has plenty of distinguished company in the below-average category, so maybe framing is a less important indicator than controlling the running game. Still, if we want to consider Connor Wong an elite defensive catcher, we'd better hope that technological development makes pitch presentation irrelevant.

In other words, Robots Now!
Of all the skills required of a catcher, I cannot think of any other one easier to teach, and learn, than framing. It is much harder to teach throwing properly to the bases, calling for pitches and overall field management, than making sure strikes are called strikes (and maybe even some fringe piches as well!).

Wong seems like a bright kid, and he is certainly in excellent hands (Varitek!) in order to continue improving. We should be very optimistic with him! I have been greatly surprised by his development this season.
 

Yo La Tengo

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Of all the skills required of a catcher, I cannot think of any other one easier to teach, and learn, than framing. It is much harder to teach throwing properly to the bases, calling for pitches and overall field management, than making sure strikes are called strikes (and maybe even some fringe piches as well!).

Wong seems like a bright kid, and he is certainly in excellent hands (Varitek!) in order to continue improving. We should be very optimistic with him! I have been greatly surprised by his development this season.
There is some interesting info about how much Realmuto improved his pitch framing skills in this article. I agree that framing is easier to improve than blocking or throwing.

https://www.philliesnation.com/2021/01/the-hidden-value-in-j-t-realmuto-lies-within-his-improved-pitch-framing-abilities/

Also, grading as poor for framing in 2023 is very different than a few years ago as all teams work to improve that facet of the game, thereby narrowing the advantage/disadvantage:

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/pitch-framing-is-evolving-along-with-the-strike-zone/


68176
 

SouthernBoSox

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There is some interesting info about how much Realmuto improved his pitch framing skills in this article. I agree that framing is easier to improve than blocking or throwing.

https://www.philliesnation.com/2021/01/the-hidden-value-in-j-t-realmuto-lies-within-his-improved-pitch-framing-abilities/

Also, grading as poor for framing in 2023 is very different than a few years ago as all teams work to improve that facet of the game, thereby narrowing the advantage/disadvantage:

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/pitch-framing-is-evolving-along-with-the-strike-zone/


View attachment 68176
I actually think the difference is most likely that umpires have had to improve their ability with the increase in technology.
 

joe dokes

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Reminds me a bit of Thurman Munson [/ducking], who made up for arm strength with an insanely quick release.

Also noticed one thing that still bugs me about ML infielders these days. On the first, perfect throw to 2B. Hernandez caught the ball almost literally at the spot where the runner was sliding yet still reached and tagged him higher up on the leg. (At least he let the ball travel and didn't reach toward home to grab it, then reach back to make the tag.)
 

johnnyfromspain

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There is some interesting info about how much Realmuto improved his pitch framing skills in this article. I agree that framing is easier to improve than blocking or throwing.

https://www.philliesnation.com/2021/01/the-hidden-value-in-j-t-realmuto-lies-within-his-improved-pitch-framing-abilities/

Also, grading as poor for framing in 2023 is very different than a few years ago as all teams work to improve that facet of the game, thereby narrowing the advantage/disadvantage:

https://blogs.fangraphs.com/pitch-framing-is-evolving-along-with-the-strike-zone/


View attachment 68176
Wow! Awesome information. Thanks!
 

Sin Duda

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For a guy who hasn't played catcher his whole career, Connor Wong made a heads -up play last night on that batter's interference call. I just watched the replay, and he intentionally ran into the batter while looking for the ball.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Bumping this for his incredible ST so far. I know I know I know.... ST/SSS but worth discussing. His "weaknesses" last season supposedly was his pitch framing, game calling and general offense (very low discipline/BB%) but he balanced that out enough with good SLG% and a good arm to keep runners in check, at least enough to hide his bat at the back end of a lineup.
There's plenty of posters here that thought he was basically one step above garbage but I saw a quickly learning- maybe "on the job" a little too early?- last season but right now he's looking like he could be a top tier catcher, working with Tek more, his off-season hitting adjustments hold. I can easily see him hitting something like .240/.320/.420 with improved defensive skills.
 

nvalvo

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He's basically faced a AA level of competition, so I wouldn't put too much stock on his 13/30, 2 HR performance.

That said, per Merloni's color commentary and my own eyeballs, he appears to have simplified his hitting mechanics somewhat. So we'll see if that pays off.
 

Skiponzo

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I've been quietly optimistic about him all offseason. It might not be predicative but his first year vs second year in AAA showed he knows how to make offseason batting adjustments and if working with Tek helps improve his weak defensive areas...well like most of the team if "ifs" come to fruition he could be a top line guy at C.

2021 WOR INT AAA 50 199 22 51 88 13 0 8 26 9 0 58 7 1 .256 .288 .442 .730 0.76
2022 WOR INT AAA 81 323 47 93 158 20 0 15 44 27 0 80 7 3 .288 .349 .489 .838 0.96
 

The Filthy One

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Bumping this as Wong is on a heater. His line is up to .382/.371/.676. K rate currently at 25.7%, which is very playable (Only 34 ABs, so still too early to assume it's real). No walks is the most glaring issue with his season so far, but if he can continue to show pop (not necessarily the 8% HR rate he's carrying right now), that's a valuable player.
 
Wong has been incredible so far, but sadly his statcast numbers suggest that he's not likely to sustain the improvement. His xWOBA and xWOBACON are both down in comparison to last year, and his WOBA is more than 100 points higher than his xWOBA. I was hoping I'd fire up his statcast page and see some significant underlying improvements to explain his numbers this year, but sadly it was not to be.
 

YTF

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Wong has been incredible so far, but sadly his statcast numbers suggest that he's not likely to sustain the improvement. His xWOBA and xWOBACON are both down in comparison to last year, and his WOBA is more than 100 points higher than his xWOBA. I was hoping I'd fire up his statcast page and see some significant underlying improvements to explain his numbers this year, but sadly it was not to be.
Not directed solely at you, but whatever happened to the days when a guy got on a good streak and we sorta' sat back, enjoyed and accepted it for what it is. Yeah, I'm old.
 

simplicio

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As long as he and McGuire can keep alternating their hot streaks I'll get on board for that plan.
 

simplicio

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Wong has been incredible so far, but sadly his statcast numbers suggest that he's not likely to sustain the improvement. His xWOBA and xWOBACON are both down in comparison to last year, and his WOBA is more than 100 points higher than his xWOBA. I was hoping I'd fire up his statcast page and see some significant underlying improvements to explain his numbers this year, but sadly it was not to be.
For reference I don't think the statcast measurements get updated immediately like standard stats do; check those graphs again tomorrow and you may see some movement.
 
Not directed solely at you, but whatever happened to the days when a guy got on a good streak and we sorta' sat back, enjoyed and accepted it for what it is. Yeah, I'm old.
Yeah, I hear you. Gamethread me (not that I post much) is absolutely happy to let it ride and enjoy it. Mainboard me has to analyze though. To me it's not mutually exclusive -- accepting that a hot streak is likely driven by luck doesn't take the fun out of it.
 

Sox Puppet

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Take me out to the ball game
Take me out to the crowd
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack
Let's hope Wong gets his xWOBACON back ...
 

Fishy1

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What if he's better than last year? Not that small samples won't regress to the mean for BABIP and the like, but to the extent his expected performance is based on last year, he's young enough for me to think that he might be leveling up from past performance.

The hollowed out rotation and exhausted bullpen were the culprits that time, mostly. We need Whitlock back ASAP, and Pivetta and Bello close behind him. The lineup injuries, while incredibly frustrating (I'm removing a lot of expletives here) are not as worrisome to me.
5 home runs in 60 plate appearances is nothing to sneeze at, he only had 9 all of last year. But the rest of the metrics are still the old Wong: a lot of K's, very few walks. He he has cut his K rate to 26.3% so far this year. And he had a really good spring in terms of strikeouts. So he might have gotten better at putting the ball in play. But he's also only taken one walk the whole year.
 

Whoop-La White

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5 home runs in 60 plate appearances is nothing to sneeze at, he only had 9 all of last year. But the rest of the metrics are still the old Wong: a lot of K's, very few walks. He he has cut his K rate to 26.3% so far this year. And he had a really good spring in terms of strikeouts. So he might have gotten better at putting the ball in play. But he's also only taken one walk the whole year.
From my vantage he's being more aggressive, swinging earlier in the count, so not falling into 2-strike counts and having to be so defensive. Which is also why so few walks. He might end up just being a good, maybe streaky hitter. Having McGuire as a decent backup also means he can sit more and stay fresh.

Funnily enough after earning his keep as a defender last year he's only thrown out one baserunner so far in 2024. Only eight attempts against him.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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.370/.386/.667 and a k rate of 26.3% now. He doesn't walk but there's a lot to like here. Maybe Mookie did fetch something useful long-term.
 

moondog80

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.370/.386/.667 and a k rate of 26.3% now. He doesn't walk but there's a lot to like here. Maybe Mookie did fetch something useful long-term.
One year of Mookie has generated 6 years of Wong, 3 years of Verdugo, and whatever the trio of Yankee arms turn into. We can debate the decision to trade him forever. Obviously the Dodgers don’t regret it. But given that the trade happened, the return could have been a lot worse.
 

Daniel_Son

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One year of Mookie has generated 6 years of Wong, 3 years of Verdugo, and whatever the trio of Yankee arms turn into. We can debate the decision to trade him forever. Obviously the Dodgers don’t regret it. But given that the trade happened, the return could have been a lot worse.
I mean... I hate to reduce the whole thing to numbers, but if we compare the results of the trade itself (one year of Mookie + Price contract) without taking into account the LA contract Betts signed after the trade:

BOS
Verdugo: 8.2 bWAR
Weissert: 0.1 bWAR
Wong: 3.1 bWAR
Downs: -0.6 bWAR
Total: 10.8 bWAR

LAD

Betts: 3.6 bWAR
Price: -0.3 bWAR
Total: 3.3 bWAR

Obviously COVID makes things a little uneven, but still... not bad at all.
 

LoLsapien

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BABIP is 0.430 which is quite a bit higher than he's put up in the past. Will be interesting to see where he winds up when it drops 100 points but this has been a fun stretch!
 

radsoxfan

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These 1 year of Mookie vs X, Y, Z trade discussions are not particularly useful IMO.

I think everyone understands if we were never signing Mookie long term, then of course 1 season of Mookie could only be worth so much and a trade made sense.

We'll probably never know Mookie's mindset for sure and the chances of resigning him. But I think if the FO was aggressive up front there is a good chance he would have stayed, and then the calculus completely changes.

The FO wasn't convinced he would be elite this long, they treated negotiations as such, and it backfired. I hope Wong keeps his hot streak going, but not keeping Mookie was still a huge disaster given how great he has been since.
 

DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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These 1 year of Mookie vs X, Y, Z trade discussions are not particularly useful IMO.

I think everyone understands if we were never signing Mookie long term, then of course 1 season of Mookie could only be worth so much and a trade made sense.

We'll probably never know Mookie's mindset for sure and the chances of resigning him. But I think if the FO was aggressive up front there is a good chance he would have stayed, and then the calculus completely changes.

The FO wasn't convinced he would be elite this long, they treated negotiations as such, and it backfired. I hope Wong keeps his hot streak going, but not keeping Mookie was still a huge disaster given how great he has been since.
No disagreement here but I was simply highlighting the fact that Wong, who was a product of that trade, looks pretty good at present. Its not all terrible.
 

nvalvo

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These 1 year of Mookie vs X, Y, Z trade discussions are not particularly useful IMO.

I think everyone understands if we were never signing Mookie long term, then of course 1 season of Mookie could only be worth so much and a trade made sense.

We'll probably never know Mookie's mindset for sure and the chances of resigning him. But I think if the FO was aggressive up front there is a good chance he would have stayed, and then the calculus completely changes.

The FO wasn't convinced he would be elite this long, they treated negotiations as such, and it backfired. I hope Wong keeps his hot streak going, but not keeping Mookie was still a huge disaster given how great he has been since.
In one sense, this is definitely true. There’s a kind of strategy vs. tactics distinction that’s operative.

Strategically, the ball was dropped when they didn’t get to yes on a low 9-figure extension while he was still prearb. This was a major screwup IMO, and there was nothing Verdugo, Wong, and Downs could realistically do that would make this right.

But tactically, once you find yourself in the situation where you can’t afford to extend him and he’s 99% certain to be leaving in a year, then the relevant comparison is with other returns for final years of star position players (Goldschmidt, Machado, and so on), and in that context, it looks pretty good.
 

chrisfont9

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If nothing else, it feels like we can slow the clock on Teel, and even if he forces his way to the bigs, not put it all on him at the position. Best case is that both Wong and Teel are real major league starting catchers, and we either rotate them or use one as trade bait for another position of need (which is probably ideal given that McGuire is a solid #2 already). I suppose this is all pretty obvious, but hey, more good play means more options.
 

Bosoxman2004

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We have seen 2 extensions signed recently on young players (Bello & Rafaela) and many of us have been clamoring for an extension with Triston Casas as well. However, I haven't seen anywhere at all where it's been mentioned of extending our catcher also!

Connor seems to be a strong candidate to extend, so why haven't we heard any scuttle about him doing so?
 

Spelunker

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More likely because we already control him through his age 32 season.
This is the right answer. You're not really looking to buy out FA years for a 33 year old catcher, so might as well go arb all the way.
 

AlNipper49

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Both of them have the potential to move elsewhere, a la Craig Biggio.
My buddy who has seen Teel play a bunch (his son played with him in college) said the same thing to me a month or two ago. Teel gets the recognition because he is a catcher, but he is a better hitter than catcher (and he is not shabby at all defensively)
 

Yo La Tengo

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DeJesus Built My Hotrod

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How many MLB catchers make that defensive play? Just fantastic athleticism. I don't know if the offensive outburst can continue, but I am enjoying the hell out of this ride.
He is a good fielder with a decent arm, is a plus base runner and appears to be able to hit. He is really...good?!?!
 

jmcc5400

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He is a good fielder with a decent arm, is a plus base runner and appears to be able to hit. He is really...good?!?!
Thread title should be changed to whether he’s ….. an All Star starter?

(Irrational exuberance over Cs disposing the fetid canker sores from Florida seeping in here)