Rob Johnson Vs. Adam Moore Vs. Josh Bard

If you’re willing to make the assumption that Eliezer Alfonzo isn’t going to factor into the Major League catching situation, which I am, it comes down to Rob Johnson, Adam Moore, and Josh Bard, all competing for two spots. While the catching situation isn’t going to be quite as screwy as the left field situation, it’s still one that’s extremely unclear heading into Spring Training. Before Bard was signed back in late December, it was fairly simple. Johjima was out of the picture, and it was pretty much certain that Moore and Johnson would be splitting time, either in a starter/backup situation, or more of a 50/50 split. Having Josh Bard available really complicates things.

While Spring Training performances will be a factor, some type of pro’s & con’s thing may come into play, and that’s what I’m going to attempt here. Keep in mind that in this exploration, the pro’s aren’t all necessarily positives about the player, but things that increase their likelihood of making the cut.

Rob Johnson


  • The pitching staff, and more importantly, Felix, loves him.
  • Don Wakamatsu and the rest of the organization seem to be crazy about him.


  • He can’t hit. 2009 line: .213/.289/.326.
  • Clearly does not understand the concept of being a “catcher”.
  • His face is stupid.
  • His health is also going to be an issue, as he had several major surgeries this off season.

Projected 2010 WAR: 0.4

Adam Moore


  • He’s the catcher of the future.
  • He’s at least respectable offensively.
  • He isn’t Rob Johnson.


  • His defense is questionable. CHONE has him projected at -14.5 runs defensively in 2010.
  • He’s only accumulated 368 PA’s in triple-A. A little bit more time in Tacoma couldn’t hurt.

Projected 2010 WAR: 0.8

Josh Bard


  • He’s a switch hitter. That’s it, but it’s a fairly big one.


  • He sucks from the left side of the plate.
  • His defense is questionable. CHONE doesn’t hate it as much as it hates Moore’s, but it still has him projected at -11.0 runs in 2010.
  • His career CS percentage is 20%, which is really bad. However, as Jeff Sullivan points out here, there’s a very real possibility that that number is more a result of him spending two seasons in San Diego than of him being bad at throwing out runners.

Projected 2010 WAR: 0.7

I really don’t know how it’s going to turn out at this point. Gun to my head, forcing me to choose right now, I’d go with Moore and Johnson.

All three of them are pretty close, and it probably isn’t really going to matter much which two they go with, in terms of the team’s success. Even if these WAR projections turn out to be completely accurate, and the team goes with the two least valuable players (Bard & Johnson), it’s only a difference of half a win. And in reality, it probably wouldn’t even be that much. It’s likely that the biggest thing riding on this decision will turn out to be Adam Moore’s development – he’s the only player here that matters to this team, and at 26, it’s probably time to give him a real shot.

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Tags: Adam Moore Josh Bard Mariners Rob Johnson

  • Francisco Banderes

    0 replies. This blog is awful.

  • Harrison

    How did you calculate their individual WAR?

  • Griffin Cooper

    @Harrison: It was actually a little bit confusing, because with catcher’s, CHONE factors defense into WAR projections, while it isn’t something that actually factors into WAR. So I basically just had to take the CHONE projections, ignore the defense part of it, and do a little bit of tweaking. They’re not perfect but they should be pretty close.

    @Francisco: This was posted less than an hour ago, but thanks for the feedback.

  • Nathan

    I’m not sold on Rob Johnson’s total inability to hit. His MLE from 2008 calculates to a .266/.314/.372 meaning he significantly underperformed in 2009.

    This makes sense considering his injuries. Let’s give him some credit for that.

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  • Harrison

    I was more curious at the project plate apprences… is this based on a 400PA or 600PA? I just ask because I don’t see Adam Moore posting less than 1 WAR over a full season. in fact currently I have him at about 1.2-1.5 WAR over 400 PA

  • Griffin Cooper

    That’s probably a decent projection, even if a little bit optimistic, but I don’t see any of these three guys getting 400 PA’s. I’d probably put Moore at around 300-350 PA’s and somewhere in the 0.7-1.0 range.

  • Ben G.

    I’m sure you guys are aware of this, but I just wanted to mention that in just 87 games in 2006, Eliezer Alfonzo was worth 1.2 WAR.

  • Jon

    Point being, as mentioned, that it doesn’t really matter this year. The difference isn’t much. If someone completely collapses, then there is a similar guy to step in. I don’t really care who wins the job. I would prefer Moore and Johnson because at least they are both still developing, but I wouldn’t mind if one is booted for Bard or Alfonso or whoever else might be brought in.

  • Ben G.

    Good point Jon, I like Moore as our starting catcher and one of the other 3 as backup. I know it will be Johnson but I hate his face..Digging around, i also found a few other interesting things on Alfonzo, like that he was suspended 50 games in 08 for violating the MLB drug policy.

    Another reason I was interested in Alfonzo was that he has showed some power, it would be nice to actually get a contribution offensively from a position where we basically get zero in that department with Johnson. I don’t know much about his defense, but I bet its not much worse than Johnson’s. I think we’ll be fine either way, but I just don’t like Johnson very much. I hope Moore starts, and Johnson maybe can be Felix’s personal catcher, since that seemed to work out well last year. Other than that, like Griffin said, he has a stupid face.

  • 200tang

    It may be worth noting that CHONE defense figures for catchers are weird. Mike Napoli & Miguel Olivo are generally viewed as the worst defensive catchers in the game and they rank as -2 (Olivo) & -6 (Napoli) according to CHONE next year.

    Adam Moore is probably below average, but worse than Napoli or Olivo? Not sure if I believe that.

  • Griffin Cooper

    Yeah that’s why I decided to ignore them with the WAR projections. Don’t really know what to make of them.

  • Jon

    I saw Alfonso play a few times in Portland last year. Obviously, I wasn’t paying much attention to him so I don’t remember how good he was defensively or anything like that, but I do remember him being really fiery and generally fun to watch.

  • Mekias

    Johnson’s MLE from 2008 isn’t too far off from his away stats:
    Away –
    2008 MLE –

    I also didn’t realize Johnson is horrific against left-handed pitchers. He hit .171/.261/.232 against lefties. That’s pretty weird.

  • Griffin Cooper

    I don’t doubt that Johnson has the potential to be significantly better than he was in 2009, but that could very well just be a step from horrible to bad.