Colorado Rockies: Nick Hundley is Team’s Most Overrated Player

Aug 5, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) slides safely to home for a run against Colorado Rockies catcher Nick Hundley (4) in the ninth inning at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 5, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Miami Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (11) slides safely to home for a run against Colorado Rockies catcher Nick Hundley (4) in the ninth inning at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /

Colorado Rockies catcher Nick Hundley is having a very average year. Compared to his 2015 season, all his major batting statistics are well down. His defense has also slipped, with more passed balls already in 2016, and nearly as many errors. He is the Rockies most overrated player.

In 2015, Hundley hit .301, with an OBP of .339 and an OPS of .807 for the Colorado Rockies. Now, this year, his batting average has dropped to .248 (over a 50-point drop), his OBP is down to .322 and his OPS has dropped nearly 90 points to .719.

He has also hit into a career-high 12 double plays, which is four more than his previous worst over a whole season (including last year).

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He primarily plays over backup catcher Tony Wolters due to his experience and his supposed better bat. But Wolters bat is not far off Hundley’s. He has a .266 batting average, a OBP of .348 and an OPS of .760.

What do you notice about all of these numbers?

Yes, all of them are higher than Hundley’s.

What is more noticeable between the two is their respective defense. Hundley is not very good at defense in general, and his pitch framing and getting strikes called is far inferior to Wolters.

The statistics don’t lie for Hundley. Four errors in 2016 (one less than in the whole 2015 season), six passed balls (just five last season) and his throwing out of runners stealing base is poor – out of 46 stolen base attempts from opposing runners, 40 of them have reached.

In just 46 games, Wolters has committed just two passed balls and has thrown out eight runners trying to steal. The only statistic he ranks behind Hundley is in errors (six).

The Rockies are paying Hundley $3,150,000 this season (eighth-highest on the roster) compared to Wolters $507,500, per It’s obvious who is providing more bang for the buck.

With just 41 games to go in the regular season, it is time to give the full-time catcher job to Wolters. Since the All-Star break, in 12 games played, he is hitting a team-leading .432, with an OBP of .512 and an OPS of 1.187.

And he is hitting right-handed pitching better than Hundley, which according to baseball percentages shouldn’t be happening, per Purple Row’s Adam Peterson:

"The most incredible number from this run is his games played. In the last 37 games the Rockies have played, Wolters has started just 12 of them, less than a third. Walt Weiss has elected to give the majority of starts to Nick Hundley, who is an inferior receiver behind the plate and is now hitting .248/.322/.397 for a wRC+ of 79, compared to Wolters’ 86 wRC+. When you compare their numbers against right handed pitchers it gets even crazier: Wolter’s (a left-handed hitter) is hitting .254/.340/.408 against righties on the year (remember, he was flirting with the Mendoza Line a month ago), while Hundley has hit .224/.313/.354 against righties."

It is head scratching on why Wolters, who is hitting the ball so well since the break and with his superior pitch framing, has played in just 12 games. Maybe it’s because he has just three years of catching experience.

Manager Walt Weiss clearly trusts Hundley, otherwise he wouldn’t have started in twice as many games since the break. He also provides as a good mentor for Wolters, as noted by Jake Shapiro of BSN Denver.

“I learn a lot from Nick,” Wolters told BSN Denver via Shapiro. “And he’ll always be like ‘can you check this pitch.’ I’ll go check it and tell him what I see. We talk about a hitter or sometimes I’ll go get his protein bars. But it teaches me you need to make this game smaller and treat it moment by moment not look at the big picture of the game but to stay in the moment and pitch by pitch. Nick is really good at that, that is still something I’m learning. I go to the bullpen, sometimes we’ll throw two guys at once so I have to go down there but there is a TV down there so I’ll still look to see how he is attacking guys and I’m learning for the next game I play.”

It is great that Wolters has this working relationship with Hundley. However, it is time to see what Wolters can do with the full-time catching gig. Hundley’s offensive and defensive numbers no longer warrant him starting games over Wolters 2-1.

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Even with the Rockies still a very outside chance of making the playoffs, it is a good gamble to place your faith in Wolters. If he gets the job and bombs, you will know. You still have top catching prospect Tom Murphy waiting in the wings.

The Rockies want to really contend in 2017. It’s time to see the future now, and not rely on an overrated Nick Hundley to provide offense from the catcher position any longer.

Next: Colorado Rockies Front Office Giving Up On 2016 Season

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