Sunday, August 23, 2009

By Mike Schulte - contributor

The Angels went into interleague play this season with a 28-29 record despite the consistent play of one of the top catchers in baseball Jeff Mathis. It was on June 12th that Mathis tried a stunning almost unheard of strategy behind the plate, squatting lower. Although this has led to a league leading number of passed balls and has made it so even my grandmother can steal a base off of Mathis, umpires and Angels pitchers rave about Mathis’ new mind bottling strategy at catcher. Umpire Joe West recently stated, “It is truly amazing being behind home plate with Mathis catching. It is almost like he is not even there. Now only if I could see over fat ass stomach I might be able to see what is going on out there. Ever since Mathis developed his low squat, umpires have a microscopic .000001% MCP (missed call percentage) when Mathis is catching. Angels skipper Mike Scioscia said “Jeffy’s new low squat is without a doubt one of the main reasons for our success this season. He has been our team MVP so far.

If Mathis’ low squat is not enough to convince you that he is the most amazing catcher ever, then maybe his CERA will. Jeff Mathis is currently on pace to have the lowest ERA of any fielder since Jackie Robinson posted a 2BERA of 1.02 in 1949. One scout said of Mathis, “he can’t throw out a runner or block a baseball, but I have never seen a catcher give as good of a target as Mathis does.” Angels pitcher Ervin Santana said of Jeff’s target giving ability, “have you ever seen Mathis give a target? It is just like the first time I saw a pair of tits.” To put Jeff’s CERA into perspective, the 2nd lowest fielder’s ERA this season is Mark Teixeira, whose 1BERA is a full run higher that Jeff’s 1.10 CERA.

Jeff Mathis’ hitting has improved by leaps and bounds this season. In a lineup full of .300 hitters it has obviously been Jeff who has been the most impressive. This year Mathis is popping up less than 75 % of the time which is down from last years 82 %. Mathis may have only be hitting .211 this season, but he has led the league this season by hitting .667 with 2 home run and 9 rbi’s in the 5th inning on Wednesday’s between 2:00-2:30 pacific time. If you look closer at Jeff’s offensive statistics you will clearly see he has been getting unlucky this season. According to Mathis’ decepticlerean batting average this season is .340 which leads the Angels.

Bobby Abreu says of Mathis, “I heard stories about Mathis’ great talents when I was in New York but to truly appreciate what he does on the field you have to see him play every day.” Mike Scioscia said to me as tears rolled down his face, “Jeff Mathis is truly an inspiration to his teammates I don’t know where we would be without him.
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