CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: Russel... (06/01)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Overthinking It: The L... (05/31)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Overthinking It: The P... (06/06)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around ... (06/02)

June 1, 2013

Overthinking It

This Week in Catcher Framing, 6/1

by Ben Lindbergh

Framing-related links
A couple weeks ago I linked to a feature on framing I wrote for Grantland, as well as this Q&A on receiving skills with Russell Martin. I mentioned that I had another Q&A with Ryan Hanigan on the way, and now that one is up at Grantland as well. You can go here to see what Hanigan had to say on the subject.

Because the Martin and Hanigan interviews were so lengthy, only parts of them fit into the Grantland posts. I didn't want the leftovers to go to waste, so I put the tastiest portions together in this BP piece. It's meaty.

And now I'm going to take a break from interrogating catchers and coaches.

***

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

The Best (min. 70 OZoneStrikes+ZoneBalls)

Ratio

Catcher

OZoneStrikes

ZoneBalls

Ratio

Hank Conger

70

40

1.75

Jonathan Lucroy

209

142

1.47

Martin Maldonado

72

50

1.44

Jose Molina

136

97

1.40

Brian McCann

70

55

1.27

David Ross

73

60

1.22

Yadier Molina

219

182

1.20

Erik Kratz

120

100

1.20

Francisco Cervelli

73

64

1.14

Evan Gattis

97

86

1.13

 

Runs

Catcher

OZoneStrikes

ZoneBalls

Runs

Jonathan Lucroy

209

142

8.7

Jose Molina

136

97

5.1

Yadier Molina

219

182

4.8

Hank Conger

70

40

3.9

Martin Maldonado

72

50

2.9

Erik Kratz

120

100

2.6

Brian McCann

70

55

2.0

David Ross

73

60

1.7

Evan Gattis

97

86

1.4

Francisco Cervelli

73

64

1.2

  • Jose Molina takes the second spot for the first time this season.
     
  • From the Department of Tiny Sample, Just Sayin’: Jesus Sucre, the man who replaced Jesus Montero behind the plate for the Mariners, had a 15:5 OZoneStrike:ZoneBalls ratio in his first three games. He has a good defensive reputation, and he looks the part:

  • Between Montero and Kelly Shoppach, Mariners pitchers have had a tough time of it this season. They must have fallen down and kissed the mound when they saw Sucre.

The Worst (min. 70 OZoneStrikes+ZoneBalls)

Ratio

Catcher

OZoneStrikes

ZoneBalls

Ratio

Ryan Doumit

27

100

0.27

Jesus Montero

53

149

0.36

Kelly Shoppach

56

124

0.45

Wilin Rosario

94

208

0.45

Rob Brantly

93

201

0.46

George Kottaras

27

57

0.47

Carlos Santana

102

207

0.49

Matt Wieters

136

276

0.49

Henry Blanco

32

64

0.50

Chris Iannetta

111

220

0.50

 

Runs

Catcher

OZoneStrikes

ZoneBalls

Runs

Matt Wieters

136

276

-18.2

Wilin Rosario

94

208

-14.8

Chris Iannetta

111

220

-14.2

Rob Brantly

93

201

-14.0

Carlos Santana

102

207

-13.7

John Buck

114

211

-12.6

Jesus Montero

53

149

-12.5

Ryan Doumit

27

100

-9.5

Kurt Suzuki

110

180

-9.1

Kelly Shoppach

56

124

-8.8

 

***

This Week in Jose Molina, 5/23-5/29

Weekly Net Strikes: 4
Weekly Net Runs: 0.5
Weekly Playing Time: 4 G, 3 GS, 26.0 innings
Yearly Playing Time: 35 G, 29 GS, 246.0 innings
Yearly Net Strikes: 39
Yearly Net Runs: 5.1

Yadier Molina has caught almost twice as many innings this season, but Jose leapfrogged his younger brother in the runs rankings with another solid week. As always, the three called strikes he caught farthest from the zone:

3. Date: 5/29
Batter: Tom Koehler
Pitcher: Roberto Hernandez
Umpire: Alan Porter
Count: 1-0
Pitch type: 91-mph sinker
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.236 feet

Hernandez's follow-through makes my neck hurt.

2. Date: 5/25
Batter: Ichiro Suzuki
Pitcher: Matt Moore
Umpire: John Tumpane
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 92-mph four-seamer
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.281 feet

Ichiro was surprised by this call. Completely baseless speculation: I wonder whether having high socks makes a hitter any more likely to get borderline low calls in his favor. High socks make knees look a little lower (to me). Someone should do a study!

1. Date: 5/25
Batter: Ichiro Suzuki
Pitcher: Matt Moore
Umpire: John Tumpane
Count: 1-0
Pitch type: 91-mph four-seamer
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.301 feet

Same game, same Suzuki. Hanigan told me that the closer a pitch is to the umpire's eye level, the less he likes to move the glove. Molina receives this one quite casually, then transfers his attention to the runner at third.

***

This Week in Jonathan Lucroy, 5/23-5/29

Weekly Net Strikes: 13
Weekly Net Runs: 1.7
Weekly Playing Time: 5 G, 4 GS, 37.0 innings
Yearly Playing Time: 41 G, 38 GS, 340.0 innings
Yearly Net Strikes: 67
Yearly Net Runs: 8.7

A very strong week for Lucroy. If you've been reading this series from the start, you won't be surprised to see that his best frames all came on low pitches:

3. Date: 5/28
Batter: Joe Mauer
Pitcher: Brandon Kintzler
Umpire: Doug Eddings
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 92-mph four-seamer
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.327 feet

The quintessential Lucroy called strike.

2. Date: 5/28
Batter:  Scott Diamond
Pitcher: Alfredo Figaro
Umpire: Doug Eddings
Count: 1-0
Pitch type: 92-mph four-seamer
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.406 feet

More of the same, with just slightly more glove movement.

1. Date: 5/28
Batter: Jamey Carroll
Pitcher: Alfredo Figaro
Umpire: Doug Eddings
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 93-mph four-seamer
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.680 feet

Lucroy pulls this pitch up so quickly and imperceptibly that it looks like the ball is attached to an invisible string running from Figaro's hand to the glove. (Or maybe I'm just starting to hallucinate.) Obviously, it helps that Figaro nearly nailed the target. 

According to the numbers, this one was the farthest outside of any called strike caught this week. That might seem unlikely, but (thanks in part to Lucroy) it's lower than it looks:

It's also possible that the PITCHf/x operator overestimated the height of the bottom of Carroll's zone—he's not a big guy to begin with, and he gets considerably smaller once he's in his crouch.

***

Best Frames of the Week

5. Date: 5/25
Catcher: Yadier Molina
Batter: Nick Punto
Pitcher: Seth Maness
Umpire: Gary Cederstrom
Count: 1-0
Pitch type: 83-mph changeup
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.470 feet

If there are any home movies of the Molinas out there, somewhere in the world, they must just show all three Molinas making this motion at various stages of development. In the delivery room! At birthday parties! On their prom nights! And eventually in the majors. All of them framed before they could walk. If I were better at Photoshop, I'd make a sonogram image of a framing fetus, label it "Jose Molina, 28 weeks," and embed it here. But I can't, so you'll have to settle for that description of the concept.

4. Date: 5/26
Catcher: Welington Castillo
Batter: Jay Bruce
Pitcher: Kevin Gregg
Umpire: Bob Davidson
Count: 1-0
Pitch type: 91-mph four-seamer
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.480 feet

Bruce: Don't do it
Bruce: Do not turn around
Bruce: Umpires hate it when you turn around
Bruce: Just keep grooming this dirt
Bruce: /grooms
Bruce: /grooms
Bruce: Oh f*ck it

3. Date: 5/27
Catcher: A.J. Pierzynski
Batter: A.J. Pollock
Pitcher: Yu Darvish
Umpire: Vic Carapazza
Count: 3-1
Pitch type: 80-mph slider
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.499 feet

Pierzynski has historically rated as a poor receiver. The movement he made on this one was somewhat pronounced, but it can't be easy to receive sliders that move like wiffleballs. It's certainly not easy to hit them. Pollock looked like Charlie Brown for the rest of the plate appearance.

2. Date: 5/28
Catcher: Tony Cruz
Batter: Lorenzo Cain
Pitcher: Tyler Lyons
Umpire: Joe West
Count: 1-1
Pitch type: 89-mph four-seamer
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.517 feet

I wish I could give Cruz credit for this, because he's literally the least-played player in baseball—10 games and 16 PA since Opening Day—and his next day on the bench might be brighter if he could think about how he stole that one strike. But sometimes, a bad call is just a bad call. I don't know that Cruz did anything to make this a strike. It just was one.

1. Date: 5/28
Catcher: Jonathan Lucroy
Batter: Jamey Carroll
Pitcher: Alfredo Figaro
Umpire: Doug Eddings
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 93-mph four-seamer
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.680 feet

As seen in the Lucroy section above.

***

Worst Frames of the Week

5. Date: 5/25
Catcher: Yan Gomes
Batter: Mike Napoli
Pitcher: Vinnie Pestano
Umpire: Ron Kulpa
Count: 1-1
Pitch type: 88-mph four-seamer
Distance from Center: 0.482 feet

There are many ways in which this pitch could (and should) have been a strike. It could have been a called strike, or a swinging strike called by Kulpa, or a swinging strike called by Ed Rapuano at first. Triple redundancy! And still Pestano's plan failed.

4. Date: 5/24
Catcher: Carlos Corporan
Batter: Yoenis Cespedes
Pitcher: Erik Bedard
Umpire: Brian O’Nora
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 90-mph four-seamer
Distance from Center: 0.467 feet

Either Corporan was crossed up, or he suddenly forgot physics.

3. Date: 5/27
Catcher: Wilin Rosario
Batter: Matt Dominguez
Pitcher: Adam Ottavino
Umpire: Lance Barrett
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 81-mph slider
Distance from Center: 0.447 feet

Sometimes, the "worst" frames happen when a pitcher misses his spot by a foot. Other times, the catcher is Wilin Rosario.

2. Date: 5/28
Catcher: Russell Martin
Batter: Brayan Pena
Pitcher: Justin Wilson
Umpire: Larry Vanover
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 96-mph four-seamer
Distance from Center: 0.396 feet

A rare stabby reception from Russell Martin. He looks like he knows what he did.

1. Date: 5/27
Catcher: Rob Brantly
Batter: Matt Joyce
Pitcher: Jose Fernandez
Umpire: Greg Gibson
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 96-mph four-seamer
Distance from Center: 0.388 feet

The pitcher was on the wrong side of the plate, but Brantly rarely looks completely comfortable.

Bonus Worst Ryan Doumit Frame of the Week
Date: 5/26
Batter: Andy Dirks
Pitcher: Anthony Swarzak
Umpire: Clint Fagan
Count: 3-1
Pitch type: 90-mph four-seamer 
Distance from Center: 0.870 feet

Doumit caught only eight innings this week, so this was the worst he could do. No Doumit catch is complete without a head dip, a right arm spasm, and a strong resemblance to a poorly operated puppet.

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

6 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: Russel... (06/01)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Overthinking It: The L... (05/31)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Overthinking It: The P... (06/06)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around ... (06/02)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of September 12-1...
The Week in Quotes: September 8-14
In A Pickle: How To Lose Lots of One-Run Gam...
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Monday, September 1...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: September 15, 2014
Premium Article Monday Morning Ten Pack: September 15, 2014
Premium Article Baseball Therapy: Starving Young Royals, Bat...

MORE FROM JUNE 1, 2013
Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: Russell Martin and Ryan Hani...
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around the League: June 1, 20...

MORE BY BEN LINDBERGH
2013-06-04 - Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Tuesday, June 4
2013-06-04 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 2...
2013-06-03 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 2...
2013-06-01 - Overthinking It: This Week in Catcher Framin...
2013-06-01 - Premium Article Prospectus Q&A: Russell Martin and Ryan Hani...
2013-05-31 - Premium Article Overthinking It: The Longest Plate Appearanc...
2013-05-31 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 2...
More...

MORE OVERTHINKING IT
2013-06-08 - Overthinking It: This Week in Catcher Framin...
2013-06-07 - Premium Article Overthinking It: One Small Step for Kansas C...
2013-06-06 - Premium Article Overthinking It: The Plate Discipline-Only P...
2013-06-01 - Overthinking It: This Week in Catcher Framin...
2013-05-31 - Premium Article Overthinking It: The Longest Plate Appearanc...
2013-05-30 - Overthinking It: Bill James, Base Umpires, a...
2013-05-28 - Premium Article Overthinking It: The Montero-Pineda Trade in...
More...