Framing Pitches Newsbeat
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Ausmus also gets the career laurel as the cumulative king of framing for the past quarter century. In an 18-year career behind the plate, he added roughly one win per season through his ability to earn extra strike calls. Once more, the purported divide between scouting and statistical analysis is revealed to be a false one: way before numbers-based discussions on framing were made, teams were willing to give playing time to weak-hitting catchers like Ausmus because of their defensive ability.
Jose Molina is a solid second, despite much more limited playing time. In fact, over the same amount of playing time, we’d estimate Molina to be close to twice as valuable as Ausmus. Below is the Top 10 list for prorated (to 5,000 pitches caught) values, minimum 25,000 pitches.
So far I’ve been reluctant to combine game-calling numbers with PITCHf/x-based framing ratings because they’re derived from different sources, with different levels of granularity. But with the framing approach presented here, I now feel more comfortable in subtracting framing from what I termed game-calling, which actually was more of a sum of framing plus calling. Thus, in the future I plan to explore the quantification of game-calling further.
In this article I’ve used pitch-by-pitch data without PITCHf/x information to generate historical leaderboards. However, this kind of data is also available for Minor League Baseball going back a handful of years, so numbers like those shown above can be calculated for lower levels of baseball as well. In that way, good framing catchers might be identified before they reach The Show. And while it might be a long time before we see ubiquitous pitch-tracking technology in the college game, recording pitch outcomes is much more feasible, meaning that teams might even use this information for drafting purposes.
Incidentally, while refining this article, I mentioned its contents to a baseball insider (who obviously will go unnamed here), and he stated, “It’s an idea potentially worth millions of dollars.” So, clubs with college pitch-by-pitch data: feel free to knock at my door.
Very interesting article (RTFA!), particularly if you have any interest in pitch framing. Mike Piazza, as several other catcher framing studies have agreed, was better than you think at defence!
Saturday, February 02, 2013
Clubhouse Confidential sits down with Baseball Prospectus’ Ben Lindbergh to examine the best pitch framing catchers and then talks to ex-catcher Dave Valle about the art of pitch-framing.
Thursday, January 17, 2013
A lot of analytical baseball articles today will make some sort of reference to catcher pitch-framing. References to pitch-framing will often make references to Jose Molina, and they will less often but still somewhat often make references to Livan Hernandez. References to Livan Hernandez often lead to recollections of the 1997 NLCS, and Eric Gregg’s strike zone in Game 5. Consensus is that Gregg’s zone was extremely favorable to Hernandez, and it was a big reason why the Marlins were able to get past the Braves and advance to the World Series.
Of course, that which is unusual has a tendency to become exaggerated, made extraordinary over time. Gregg’s Game 5 strike zone is today remembered as one of the worst umpiring performances ever in the game. One hyperbolic example of many:
Umpire Eric Gregg’s strike zone in this 1997 NL playoff matchup had viewers outraged. Pitches that sailed high over the heads of players were called strikes.
I’m pretty sure that never happened, although I’m not completely sure, since I don’t have access to a time machine, since I probably wouldn’t even know how to operate a time machine, and since I’m willing to believe in government cover-ups. Anyhow, Game 5, of course, came well before the era of PITCHf/x. It was four days before Bryce Harper‘s fifth birthday. There’s little we can do now to objectively evaluate Gregg’s actual strike zone. But there are some things we can do, and I think this is worthy of a reflection. Especially while the clip I found on YouTube still exists. Too late, Major League Baseball. You can take down the video, but I’ve already made the .gifs.
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