Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Friday, February 28, 2020

Gary Sánchez Takes a Knee

While it was understandably overshadowed by Gerrit Cole’s pinstriped premiere, Gary Sánchez made his Grapefruit League debut on Monday. In doing so, he showed off a new stance behind the plate, one that’s intended to shore up the defensive inconsistencies that have cut into his value while making him the brunt of so much criticism during his tenure with the Yankees.

The game wasn’t televised, and the only video I could find was rather rough, shot from the press box and thus showing the catcher’s back, but here you can see what’s going on:

Sánchez now sets up in his crouch with his right knee on the ground, a stance whose purpose the New York Post’s George King III explained succinctly earlier this month:

“The lower setup is designed to improve Sánchez’s ability to frame borderline pitches in the bottom of the strike zone but not interfere with his improved blocking skills or take anything away from an above-average throwing arm. It also may reduce the stress on Sánchez’s legs, which have suffered muscle injuries the past two seasons that landed him on the injured list a combined four times.”

Pity that John B. Wockenfuss has no followers in the contemporary game- it would be fun to see how bizarre the combination of stances could get…..

QLE Posted: February 28, 2020 at 01:33 AM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: catching, gary sanchez, knee

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. villageidiom Posted: February 28, 2020 at 09:21 AM (#5927013)
I feel like this is only going to trade muscle injuries for an MCL tear.
   2. manchestermets Posted: February 28, 2020 at 10:38 AM (#5927050)
the New York Post’s George King III


That's a slightly unfortunate name for an American isn't it?
   3. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: February 28, 2020 at 10:56 AM (#5927062)
Yeah, when I raced through that summary I read it as King George III.
   4. jmurph Posted: February 28, 2020 at 11:09 AM (#5927067)
Man that article is yet another ringing endorsement for the seriousness of framing stats.
   5. Der-K: at 10% emotional investment Posted: February 28, 2020 at 11:44 AM (#5927079)
please elaborate, jmurph.

i've been under the impression (from reading other things) that a one knee down stance is very good for framing and bad for pitch blocking and throwing out runners. so, if you don't like this technique, maybe root for the automated strike zone and revised pickoff rules making their way through the minors?
   6. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 28, 2020 at 11:51 AM (#5927082)
King's only claim to fame is leaving Pedro Martinez off his MVP ballot in 1999, claiming that pitchers shouldn't be eligible for MVP, even though (a) the rules say otherwise, and (b) he had voted for pitchers for MVP at other times.
   7. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: February 28, 2020 at 12:06 PM (#5927090)
This disrespect to our brave servicemen and -women will not stand.
   8. jmurph Posted: February 28, 2020 at 12:13 PM (#5927099)
please elaborate, jmurph.

This paragraph is difficult to reconcile with the idea that pitch framing is a repeatable individual catcher skill:
Ever since putting Jorge Posada out to pasture following the 2010 season, Cashman and the Yankees have been ahead of the pitch-framing curve. Russell Martin, the team’s regular catcher in 2011-12, and Brian McCann, the regular from 2014-16, rank first and second in FanGraphs’ version of framing runs, which dates back to 2008, while Francisco Cervelli (the regular in 2010) and Chris Stewart (likewise in 2013) are among the top quintile for the period as well. Sánchez has only once been above average per our version of framing runs, but in BP’s version, he ranked 16th out of 62 catchers with at least 2,000 called strike chances with 7.4 runs in 2017; last year, however, he sank to 50th out of 64.

In 2016 and 17 when Gary Sanchez transparently sucked at literally catching baseballs, we were told he was a fine pitch framer so it was all good. That didn't make any sense at the time but the numbers backed it up. Oops! (Maybe he was and he forgot how, is I guess the argument.)

Brian McCann, mentioned in that paragraph, is great at framing his entire career in ATL and NYY, goes to Houston and sucks for two years, goes back to ATL and is fine again. Hmmmmm.

This is from another Fangraphs piece from a couple years ago:
The sustainability is eroding. Which means the predictability is eroding. Sure, there was a little spike a year ago, but the last three years have the three weakest relationships in the sample. And, actually, the last four years have the four weakest relationships in the sample. Which pitch-framing performance was first being measured, one of the things that made it so exciting was that the numbers held up so well, year to year. It was essentially proof of signal. The method of measurement hasn’t meaningfully changed ever since. It’s the same system. If anything, it’s more advanced now than ever. It’s had the benefit of time. But the year-to-year relationships are disintegrating. A good framer in 2016 was still likely to look like a good framer in 2017, but that couldn’t be said with very much confidence. The data is getting increasingly random.

I have a sample of 393 catcher season pairs. Of the 24 biggest year-to-year changes in CSAA, seven of them just happened between 2016 and 2017. I don’t even know how to explain what’s happened with Chris Iannetta.

Of those 393 catcher season pairs, Iannetta is responsible for nine of them. But of the seven largest year-to-year changes, whether for better or worse, Iannetta’s been responsible for three of them. All three are from the most recent seasons. From 2014 to 2015, Iannetta got dramatically better. From 2015 to 2016, he got dramatically worse. And from 2016 to 2017, he got dramatically better again. Iannetta might be the current face of pitch-framing uncertainty. Or maybe it’s Jonathan Lucroy, who just keeps on declining. I don’t know. Things are just weird.

I don't know, I'm a huge skeptic.

   9. Moses Taylor, glorified meat shield Posted: February 28, 2020 at 12:20 PM (#5927104)
I believe pitch framing exists, and is a skill*. I doubt that we are properly quantifying it.

*At least anecdotally. Willson Contreras is consistently graded as a terrible framer, and it's obvious to the naked eye. I have never seen a catcher have more clear strikes called balls than him. He's gotten better in some ways - he used to always be moving and would stab at the ball so he would catch a ball in the strike zone and then move it out. When he tries to frame a close one, it's a very obvious motion that seems unnatural compared to how he catches other pitches. Also, I get the impression that he never shuts up and umps probably don't like him.

All of that, of course, is an argument for roboumps because none of that really should matter. As for the guys who are good at it, I haven't watched enough closely to tell, but Cubs/Brewers games last year when Contreras and Grandal started made the differences between the 2 quite obvious.
   10. Barry`s_Lazy_Boy Posted: February 28, 2020 at 01:46 PM (#5927122)
I believe human umpires should lose their jobs over pitch framing.

If the primary job of the umpire is swayed by the way a catcher catches the ball, they are a disgrace.

Or maybe umps just give calls to the guys they like and screw over the guys they don't like. Also should result in job loss.


   11. PreservedFish Posted: February 28, 2020 at 02:26 PM (#5927127)
The data in #8 suggests that umpires are doing a better and better job of mitigating framing skill.
   12. Rough Carrigan Posted: February 28, 2020 at 03:17 PM (#5927148)
Isn't he just going to trade being able to stop low pitches better for being worse at going side to side?
   13. Rusty Priske Posted: February 28, 2020 at 03:19 PM (#5927151)
#10 - EXACTLY. The fact that pitch framing is legitimately considered a skill just shows that umpires are getting it wrong way too often.
   14. bigglou115 is not an Illuminati agent Posted: February 28, 2020 at 04:00 PM (#5927156)
@11. That's my thought. The fact that repeatability seems to be going down with time suggests to me that umpires are making themselves aware of who the good framers are and mitigating them. It even goes some way to explaining the back and forth nature of the skill, McCann is on the list of top guys for a few years, umpires pay attention to him for a few years, he falls off the list and they forget about him. Next thing you know he's back on the list.
   15. Walt Davis Posted: February 28, 2020 at 04:19 PM (#5927159)
Brian McCann, mentioned in that paragraph, is great at framing his entire career in ATL and NYY, goes to Houston and sucks for two years, goes back to ATL and is fine again. Hmmmmm.

He was just counter-acting the cheating that so offended his sensibilities.
   16. Howie Menckel Posted: February 28, 2020 at 11:50 PM (#5927222)
I'll say it again: if I'm an umpire, I will damn sure guarantee that whichever catchers are at the top of the "stolen strikes" pitch-framing one year ain't gonna make it the following year.

Umpires are human - kind of, at least - and nobody likes being made to look like a chump in their workplace.
   17. bobm Posted: February 29, 2020 at 10:14 AM (#5927237)
#10 - EXACTLY. The fact that pitch framing is legitimately considered a skill just shows that umpires are getting it wrong way too often.

Also, stealing signs using video and garbage cans is a kind of a skill.
   18. nick swisher hygiene Posted: February 29, 2020 at 02:30 PM (#5927268)
Yeah, framing shouldn't be a skill. Yet another thing that makes today's baseball more fun to think about in a very particular sort of way, but less fun to actually watch.
   19. Cleveland (need new name) fan Posted: February 29, 2020 at 02:38 PM (#5927271)
Whenever I see the term "pitch framing", I mentally read it as "pitch framing (aka bad umpiring)". The other baseball related word that I do something similar is commissioner which I mentally read as "commissioner (aka owners mouthpiece)".
   20. Sunday silence Posted: February 29, 2020 at 04:07 PM (#5927282)

Also, stealing signs using video and garbage cans is a kind of a skill.


winner.
   21. Walt Davis Posted: February 29, 2020 at 06:05 PM (#5927299)
Yeah, framing shouldn't be a skill. Yet another thing that makes today's baseball more fun to think about in a very particular sort of way, but less fun to actually watch.

Really? Cuz broadcasters have been talking about pitch framing for decades, assuming it was a skill the whole time. It's not like saber nerds invented the notion that Jeff Mathis was such a good framer that he overcame his bat, we've been putting up with "calls a great game" and "handles pitchers well" probably since at least the days of Steve Yeager. While it can be annoying when the nerds verify that the idiot broadcasters and baseball coaches might have been right all along, it hasn't taken away from my fun.

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

News

All News | Prime News

Old-School Newsstand


BBTF Partner

Dynasty League Baseball

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogBaseball Question of the Day: Which historical game would you want to see?
(3 - 4:20am, Apr 04)
Last: rr: calming the thread down with my arms

NewsblogBaseball Question of the Day: What’s your favorite baseball movie?
(50 - 3:20am, Apr 04)
Last: It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out

NewsblogUS-based pro sports leagues monitoring coronavirus outbreak
(4107 - 3:15am, Apr 04)
Last: Karl from NY

Hall of Merit2021 Hall of Merit Ballot Discussion
(203 - 2:37am, Apr 04)
Last: Jaack

NewsblogAn Activist and a Bookworm, Sean Doolittle Is the Conscience of Baseball
(19 - 12:58am, Apr 04)
Last: It's regretful that PASTE was able to get out

NewsblogMLB reportedly discussing a 100-game season that would include a neutral-site World Series at Dodger
(33 - 12:35am, Apr 04)
Last: Jay Z

NewsblogTom Brady has arrived in Tampa Bay, moving into Derek Jeter’s mansion
(23 - 12:25am, Apr 04)
Last: Howie Menckel

NewsblogOT - NBA Thread 2020
(2026 - 11:39pm, Apr 03)
Last: Scott Lange

NewsblogAJ Reed Announces Retirement
(1 - 10:47pm, Apr 03)
Last: Ziggy is done with Dominican discotheques

NewsblogBryce Harper, wife Kayla donate $500,000 to coronavirus relief
(16 - 9:04pm, Apr 03)
Last: SoSH U at work

NewsblogTime for the gym: JLo and ARod get a private workout sesh in at a Miami fitness club
(8 - 8:48pm, Apr 03)
Last: The Yankee Clapper

Sox TherapyOpening Day Memories
(8 - 6:12pm, Apr 03)
Last: Jose Is Absurdly Chatty

NewsblogHow the Seattle Mariners’ Lineup Dynasty Was Assembled
(1 - 5:54pm, Apr 03)
Last: RoyalsRetro (AG#1F)

NewsblogPosnanski: Baseball 100 Rules
(1202 - 4:42pm, Apr 03)
Last: gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant

NewsblogBaseball Question of the Day: What’s your favorite piece of memorabilia?
(61 - 12:53pm, Apr 03)
Last: gef, talking mongoose & vexatious litigant

Page rendered in 0.3220 seconds
46 querie(s) executed