Pitch Framing Newsbeat
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Mention his improved standing in the controversial area of pitch framing, and Kurt Suzuki all but rolls his eyes.
It’s not just because the Twins’ beleaguered pitching staff has spent the past two weeks reversing the gains of the season’s first four months.
“I still think that thing is false,” said Suzuki, the Twins’ all-star catcher.
Monday, August 10, 2015
So age does have its effects. It cuts off the youthful rise in framing experience around age 25, then imposes a long and very gentle recession of skills, broken only when longtime veterans get pared down to those with enduring defensive ability.
If one hoped for a dominating effect from age or height, though, one is disappointed. Age mainly serves to cap the learning curve of novice catchers, and height is meaningless. Anyone looking for a magic formula to find catchers inclined to become framing wizards will have to dig much deeper into other numbers.
As analysts for 30 teams or so no doubt are digging right now.
Posted: August 10, 2015 at 02:23 PM | 0 comment(s)
Tuesday, August 04, 2015
When Atlanta Braves pitcher David Aardsma hopped a ball to the plate in the eighth inning Monday night, Pierzynski turned in one of the most shameless sell jobs you’ll ever see from a catcher. He framed up the pitch like it were a strike, held it there to show the ump and looked at him like, “come on, this is totally a strike.”
Thursday, July 30, 2015
Sounds like WAR needs to be tweaked.
No current version of WAR accounts for framing, a catcher’s art of carefully receiving the pitch in such a way as to cause the umpire to call it a strike. That happens to be Posey’s most important defensive talent. Good framers turn pitches outside of the zone into strikes and keep pitches within the zone from being called incorrectly as balls. This ability, in turn, scares opposing batters into swinging at less-optimal pitches, making the impact of good framing significant. Our best estimates put a good framer as worth up to three or four wins per year.
So far this season, Posey has racked up 11.8 runs in value from his framing, more than an entire win’s worth to add to his total and putting him within a win of Trout. Catchers who consistently earn strikes where umps usually call balls are clearly good at manipulating the umpires, but there’s some mystery as to how good framers like Posey get those calls. I wanted to understand not just what Posey does when a pitch comes in, but also what he does that other catchers don’t do.
Monday, July 06, 2015
OK, so now Russell Martin is one of the worst pitch framers?
Tuesday, June 09, 2015
But does having eyes of different colors remain a market inefficiency?
Simon: “Two things have become much more popular lately: pitch framing and defensive shifts. What are your approaches with regard to each of those?”
Scherzer: “Framing is there. Certain catchers get more calls than others, but the pitcher has to put the ball in the right spot to let the catcher do that. It’s more parts catcher, but there is a pitcher part to that, especially if you want to work the outside edges and down and give the catcher a pitch he can [frame]. [The more you’re] able to execute the pitch in the vicinity of where his glove is, the easier it is for him to frame.
“With defensive shifts: You see how they’re implemented, and it’s not just a mad scientist doing this. It’s a real fact that if you shift, you can prevent more hits. Sometimes, it’s a matter of moving your whole infield around to get to the point of it being a positive.
“I put all that on the coaches. The coaches do a phenomenal job of doing their research to try to figure out if they want to shift and who they want to shift against so that they feel comfortable.
“I don’t worry about infield shifts at all—you play where you’re gonna play. I’m just gonna pitch my game.”
Thursday, May 28, 2015
Remember when some sabermetricians scoffed at the idea that guys like Brad Ausmus are very valuable.
Maybe the biggest lesson here is that framing pitches involves many different parties, from the catcher to the pitcher to the hitter to the umpire. For his part, Norris seemingly hasn’t done a good job receiving this season despite a track-record that includes mostly league average-ish numbers. Norris’ framing deficiencies, especially when compared to last year’s Rene Rivera-Yasmani Grandal catcher platoon, have caused Padres’ pitchers to fall behind more often in the count, to occasionally change where and what kind of pitches they throw, and to (perhaps*) more often attack the heart of the plate rather than the edges.
On the other hand, the pitching staff has done a poor job of hitting its spots this season, at least from what we can tell. Both on the pitches hit for home runs — and, presumably, doubles and singles — and on previous pitches in those at-bats, the staff’s inability to consistently throw the ball near Norris’ target has likely cost them both a fair number of strike calls and a much healthier ERA. When working well, pitch framing involves both ends of the battery executing its part. Right now, it appears the Padres don’t have either end performing particularly well, and it’s led to a stretch of uncharacteristically poor results from the mound.
Thursday, May 21, 2015
How much this is impacting other pitchers on the team? Tyson Ross’ walk rate has exploded this season.
Saturday, April 18, 2015
[A.J.] Ellis has ranked among the worst framers (catchers who get fewer strike calls than they should as measured by, again, Pitch f/x) in the majors the past few seasons. That put him in an uncomfortable situation this past winter with the Dodgers’ front office now in the hands of a coterie of highly sophisticated, analytically inclined decision-makers who believe strongly in the value of the pitch-framing metrics.
“I’ll be honest – I was motivated by the realization that that aspect of catching was becoming highly valued by this new wave of analytical front-office types,” said Ellis, who spent time during the off-season working to improve his pitch-framing skills with Milwaukee Brewers bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel. “And I knew that deficiency in the long run could affect my future employment.” ...
They have a very smart group of people upstairs. [Ellis said] They can isolate it… when they explained that to us in spring training, ran us through the process and laid it out for us, it strengthened my understanding of it and my commitment to what they’re doing – because they’re doing it the right way. It got me on board, is what I’m saying.” ...
Yasmani Grandal was already on board – without really knowing it.
Grandal does not have a reputation as a good defensive catcher. But he ranks very high as a pitch framer and that was a big factor in the Dodgers’ desire to acquire him from the San Diego Padres this winter…
Bad news for Ellis, though. While there are techniques that can improve the way a catcher receives the ball, pitch framing appears to be an innate skill that you either have or you don’t.
“The really interesting thing about framing for me is – it is pretty much one of, if not the, most persistent skills in baseball,” [GM Farhan] Zaidi said. “A batting average will fluctuate, a pitcher’s ERA will fluctuate way more than this metric of catcher framing will fluctuate… Obviously, Yasmani is working with an entirely different set of pitchers. He was a top-five framer last year. He’s a top-five framer now.”
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