Baseball Savant came out with a new metric earlier this week that evaluates a catcher’s ability to block and prevent wild pitches and passed balls. It is called “blocks above average,” which according to the site, is defined as the number of passed balls and wild pitches saved compared to the expectation of an average major league catcher. New York Mets catcher Tomas Nido ranked among the best in baseball in this metric in 2022.
This is a boost to the public’s perception of him as a catcher and why he was more valuable last year than people realized.
New York Mets catcher Tomas Nido had a mark of 12 blocks above average in 2022 according to Baseball Savant, which ranked fifth best among 66 qualified catchers.
The site breaks down these calculations further, saying that in 3,063 blocking opportunities (pitches either taken or swung and missed), he had 16 combined passed balls and wild pitches, and he average catcher would have conceded 28, hence the mark of 12 blocks above average or .16 blocks above average per game, ranking tied for fifth.
He remained consistent across all difficulties of blocks, and the site offers a visual that showed Nido’s strengths at catch blocking. He did an excellent job blocking pitches that were both low and to his right, and high and to his left, and was weakest when pitches were low and to his left.
Baltimore Orioles’ stud rookie Adley Rutchmann ranked first with a mark of +18, while MJ Melendez of the Kansas City Royals ranked last at -25! Recenly departed catcher James McCann ranked 58th out of 66 (or 9th worst) at -6, and we’re understanding more about the decision to trade James McCann now.
Among Mets catchers that didn’t have enough block opportunities, Patrick Mazeika (+4), Michael Perez (+2), and Francisco Alvarez (+1) all fared better than average at catch blocking.
We’ve known for years that Nido is a defense-first catcher, as he was the backup catcher to Wilson Ramos in 2019 and 2020, and stayed there when James McCann arrived the following year on a 4-year contract in which since he has left the organization, although he played much more prominent role in 2022 when McCann had two stints on the injured list and was Max Scherzer and Taijuan Walker’s primary cacher.
Additionally, he ranked in the 93th percentile in pitch frame rate and ranked 2nd best among all qualified catchers in exchange time on stolen base attempts last year. He also had his best season offensively last year, batting .239 with 3 home runs and 28 RBI’s. If his offensive numbers keep improving, that’ll make him that much more valuable to the team and fans are starting to realize it.
And this gives Francisco Alvarez another reason to watch how Nido approaches blocking pitches.