In a particularly annoying segment during the Astros-Cardinals game tonight, during a non-break in the action, fans were regaled by Rick Sutcliffe's idiocy (replete with a Sut cartoon intro, if you haven't seen it) in a bit ESPN dubbed Sut's Soapbox. Maybe it would have worked better if his last name were Sudcliffe. Anyway, Sut extolled the offensive virtues of Mike Piazza and then went on to opine that the two catchers in the game, Mike Matheny and Brad Ausmus were both as important to their teams as Piazza is to his.
Mike Piazza despite missing 3 years in the early '90s is listed as the 18th best player of the decade in Win Shares with 206 for the decade and 255 overall. Ausmus has played as long as Piazza and Methany made it to the majors one year later. Neither is even listed in the top 262 players of the '90s. They are listed, however, under defensive Win Shares per catcher. Ausmus does extremely well at 6.71 WS per 1000 innings (basically one season), Matheny is next at 6.14, and Piazza trails 4.76. So these fine defensive catchers collect an addition 1.5 to 2 Win Shares per season on Piazza. He more than makes up for it with his bat, don't you think?