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July 15, 2013

Overthinking It

This Week in Catcher Framing, 7/14

by Ben Lindbergh

We were off last week for the holiday, so this edition will cover the two weeks since last time.

2013 League Leaders (Out-of-zone strikes and in-zone balls, not adjusted for other factors)

The Best (min. 160 OZoneStrikes+ZoneBalls)

Ratio

Catcher

OZoneStrikes

ZoneBalls

Ratio

Hank Conger

142

80

1.78

Yasmani Grandal

131

80

1.64

Jonathan Lucroy

388

251

1.55

Martin Maldonado

127

97

1.31

David Ross

103

79

1.30

Jose Molina

214

181

1.18

Brian McCann

196

166

1.18

Erik Kratz

159

137

1.16

Yadier Molina

337

295

1.14

Evan Gattis

115

108

1.06

The Worst (min. 160 OZoneStrikes+ZoneBalls)

Ratio

Catcher

OZoneStrikes

ZoneBalls

Ratio

Ryan Doumit

45

192

0.23

Jesus Montero

55

148

0.37

Kelly Shoppach

77

180

0.43

Rob Brantly

141

321

0.44

Carlos Santana

165

341

0.48

Chris Iannetta

168

335

0.50

John Buck

184

359

0.51

John Jaso

106

186

0.57

Kurt Suzuki

193

335

0.58

Wilin Rosario

198

335

0.59

***

This Week in Jose Molina, 6/27-7/10

Weekly Net Strikes: 8
Weekly Playing Time: 7 G, 7 GS, 62.0 innings
Yearly Playing Time: 58 G, 51 GS, 435.0 innings
Yearly Net Strikes: 33

I've always wondered how poorly Molina would have to hit for the Rays to reduce him to a backup role, but we haven't had a chance to find out. Molina's .250 TAv isn't far below league average at catcher, and qualifies as the second-best mark of his career (min. 100 plate appearances).

3. Date: 6/29
Batter: Brayan Pena
Pitcher: Chris Archer
Umpire: Dan Iassogna
Count: 0-1
Pitch type: 96-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.428 feet

Molina reaches out to catch this one before it can drop farther out of the zone. Pena isn't pleased.

2. Date: 6/29
Batter: Victor Martinez
Pitcher: Chris Archer
Umpire: Dan Iassogna
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 95-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.438 feet

The more subtle the adjustment after the catch, the better.

1. Date: 6/29
Batter: Andy Dirks
Pitcher: Chris Archer
Umpire: Dan Iassogna
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 93-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.499 feet

Like the previous pitch, but a little lower.

***

This Week in Jonathan Lucroy, 6/27-7/10

Weekly Net Strikes: 25
Weekly Playing Time: 10 G, 10 GS, 86.0 innings
Yearly Playing Time: 72 G, 69 GS, 609.1 innings
Yearly Net Strikes: 137

3. Date: 7/3
Batter: Steve Lombardozzi
Pitcher: Kyle Lohse
Umpire: Dan Iassogna
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 73-mph curveball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.351 feet

This big-breaking curve finishes below the knees, and Lucroy has to reach for it, but it doesn't sink an inch more after it gets to his glove.

2. Date: 7/10
Batter: Mike Leake
Pitcher: Burke Badenhop
Umpire: Mike Everitt
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 88-mph sinker
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.355 feet

The classic Lucroy low frame.

1. Date: 7/8
Batter: Derrick Robinson
Pitcher: Francisco Rodriguez
Umpire: Dan Bellino
Count: 1-1
Pitch type: 92-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.526 feet

Lucroy barely budges, but Rodriguez makes enough movements for both members of the battery.

***

Best Frames of the Week

5. Date: 7/9
Catcher: Matt Wieters
Batter: Ian Kinsler
Pitcher: Kevin Gausman
Umpire: Fieldin Culbreth
Count: 2-0
Pitch type: 95-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.500 feet

Nice work by Wieters. The batter reaction tells us almost as much as PITCHf/x does.

4. Date: 7/8
Catcher: Jonathan Lucroy
Batter: Derrick Robinson
Pitcher: Francisco Rodriguez
Umpire: Dan Bellino
Count: 1-1
Pitch type: 92-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.526 feet

Same as the best Lucroy example above.

3. Date: 6/30
Catcher: Yasmani Grandal
Batter: Ed Lucas
Pitcher: Andrew Cashner
Umpire: Chris Conroy
Count: 1-0
Pitch type: 93-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.531 feet

Grandal's post-catch adjustment isn't quite as understated as Molina's, but it works just as well in this case.

2. Date: 7/8
Catcher: Josh Phegley
Batter: Darwin Barney
Pitcher: Addison Reed
Umpire: Jeff Kellogg
Count: 2-0
Pitch type: 94-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.543 feet

Phegley was called up to replace Hector Gimenez in the first week of July. He shows good stillness here, frustrating Darwin Barney.

1. Date: 7/2
Catcher: Ryan Hanigan
Batter: Hunter Pence
Pitcher: Homer Bailey
Umpire: Adrian Johnson
Count: 3-0
Pitch type: 92-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.558 feet

Hanigan hasn't shown up in the TWiF series often since I interviewed him, but he demonstrates the quietness and post-catch quickness he told me about here.

***

Worst Frames of the Week

5. Date: 7/6
Catcher: Mike Zunino
Batter: Joey Votto
Pitcher: Carter Capps
Umpire: Alan Porter
Count: 0-1
Pitch type: 94-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.447 feet

Capps misses over the middle, Zunino is set up outside, and the fastball doesn't leave him enough time to adjust.

4. Date: 7/4
Catcher: Welington Castillo
Batter: Derek Norris
Pitcher: Matt Guerrier
Umpire: Brian Gorman
Count: 2-1
Pitch type: 90-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.445 feet

Castillo hasn't rated particularly well as a receiver, but we've seen the missed call on a catch-and-throw happen to a lot of backstops lately. On the bright side, the runner was out.

3. Date: 7/2
Catcher: Miguel Montero
Batter: Juan Lagares
Pitcher: Patrick Corbin
Umpire: Bruce Dreckman
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 94-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.440 feet

Montero doesn't really stick this one and give Dreckman a longer look at it, maybe because he assumed he'd get the call.

2. Date: 7/7
Catcher: Miguel Montero
Batter: Todd Helton
Pitcher: Josh Collmenter
Umpire: Dale Scott
Count: 0-2
Pitch type: 86-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.440 feet

Montero might've had a better chance to get Collmenter a call if he'd caught the ball cleanly.

1. Date: 7/9
Catcher: A.J. Ellis
Batter: Gerardo Parra
Pitcher: J.P. Howell
Umpire: Marvin Hudson
Count: 1-1
Pitch type: 81-mph curveball
Distance from Center: 0.175 feet

Ellis seemed to be expected a pitch with a lot less break here.

***

Bonus Worst Ryan Doumit Frame of the Week
Date: 7/7
Batter: Jose Bautista
Pitcher: Brian Duensing
Umpire: Paul Emmel
Count: 0-1
Pitch type: 76-mph curveball
Distance from Center: 0.700 feet

This was a borderline call, but Doumit's head dip, non-glove-hand movement, and shifting knees deprived Duensing of it, sparing us another Jose Bautista blowup.

Ben Lindbergh is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Ben's other articles. You can contact Ben by clicking here

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