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 Daily Roundup: Around ... (06/15)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Overthinking It: The L... (06/14)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Overthinking It: The M... (06/18)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around ... (06/16)

June 15, 2013

Overthinking It

This Week in Catcher Framing, 6/15

by Ben Lindbergh

Framing-related link
As promised, Max Marchi followed up on his work on Retrosheet-based historical framing by applying the same method to the minor leagues. I was somewhat skeptical that the results would be useful, since there are a few aspects of minor league life that make receiving skills harder to assess: umpires call less consistent zones, pitchers have worse command, and because of the constant promotions and demotions, catchers are less familiar with their batterymates’ arsenals.

But Max found a fairly strong correlation between framing performance in the upper minors and the majors, so we know that by the time a catcher gets to Double-A, at least, his receiving talents are detectable. That’s a significant finding, and it’s possible that we could identify strong receivers statistically in the low minors or even at the amateur level, if we had access to reliable pitch-by-pitch data. If teams aren’t doing this analysis already, they will be before long.

***

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

The Best (min. 100 OZoneStrikes+ZoneBalls)

Ratio

Catcher

OZoneStrikes

ZoneBalls

Ratio

Hank Conger

88

50

1.76

Jonathan Lucroy

282

179

1.58

Martin Maldonado

84

61

1.38

Brian McCann

106

81

1.31

David Ross

99

77

1.29

Jose Molina

160

127

1.26

Yadier Molina

258

222

1.16

Francisco Cervelli

74

64

1.16

Erik Kratz

156

135

1.16

Evan Gattis

113

106

1.07

The Worst (min. 100 OZoneStrikes+ZoneBalls)

Ratio

Catcher

OZoneStrikes

ZoneBalls

Ratio

Ryan Doumit

35

120

0.29

Jesus Montero

53

150

0.35

Kelly Shoppach

73

174

0.42

Henry Blanco

32

72

0.44

Rob Brantly

115

247

0.47

Carlos Santana

111

234

0.47

Wilin Rosario

126

254

0.50

Gerald Laird

43

86

0.50

Chris Iannetta

135

264

0.51

John Buck

132

250

0.53

***

This Week in Jose Molina, 6/6-6/12

Weekly Net Strikes: -2
Weekly Playing Time: 4 G, 4 GS, 35.0 innings
Yearly Playing Time: 42 G, 36 GS, 306 innings
Yearly Net Strikes: 33

Molina had his least-impressive week since we started this exercise, and even the top three frames aren’t as far outside the strike zone as his usual highlights. But the technique is admirable, as always.

3. Date: 6/9
Batter: Matt Wieters
Pitcher: Matt Moore
Umpire: Gary Cederstrom
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 82-mph changeup
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.063 feet

Wieters is tall, so it’s possible to get called strikes pretty high when he’s at the plate, but Molina did all he could to bring this one down quickly and with a minimum of excess movement.

2. Date: 6/11
Batter: Stephen Drew
Pitcher: Roberto Hernandez
Umpire: Chris Guccione
Count: 3-1
Pitch type: 91-mph sinker
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.091 feet

Molina goes out and gets this pitch before it can fall any farther, and as soon as it enters his glove, it’s on its way up and over the plate. The timing is tough, but Molina makes it look easy.

1. Date: 6/9
Batter: Chris Davis
Pitcher: Matt Moore
Umpire: Gary Cederstrom
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 90-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.158 feet

The classic outside strike to a left-handed hitter. Not an unusual occurrence, but still a frustrating one for Davis.

***

This Week in Jonathan Lucroy, 6/6-6/12

Weekly Net Strikes: 4
Weekly Playing Time: 6 G, 6 GS, 53.0 innings
Yearly Playing Time: 52 G, 49 GS, 437.0 innings
Yearly Net Strikes: 103

3. Date: 6/6
Batter: Freddy Galvis
Pitcher: Burke Badenhop
Umpire: Dan Iassogna
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 90-mph sinker
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.288 feet

Lucroy might be the only catcher whose glove moves less than Molina’s after he receives the pitch.

2. Date: 6/6
Batter: Michael Young
Pitcher: Wily Peralta
Umpire: Dan Iassogna
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 80-mph slider
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.303 feet

Lucroy doesn’t get crossed up here, which is often the case when a catcher fails to receive a pitch cleanly. I mentioned above that it’s tough to time a catch like Molina or Lucroy, and this is why. Lucroy tries to glove the ball and bring it up toward the zone at the same time, and in this case, the ball got left behind.

Everything looked like Lucroy until the ball popped out of the pocket, so the bobble didn’t cost him the call; Iassogna may not even have registered that the ball was dropped before his brain ordered his arm to signal a strike. Of course, as Young’s reaction reveals, hitters are never happy to see a strike called on a pitch the catcher couldn’t catch.

1. Date: 6/11
Batter: Ed Lucas
Pitcher: Wily Peralta
Umpire: Lance Barrett
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 94-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.348 feet

Peralta semi-misses his target here, but Lucroy’s quick adjustment makes it difficult to tell.

***

Best Frames of the Week

5. Date: 6/9
Catcher: Buster Posey
Batter: Martin Prado
Pitcher: Chad Gaudin
Umpire: Hunter Wendelstedt
Count: 2-2
Pitch type: 93-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.381 feet

This delivery by Gaudin has a lot of lateral movement on its way to the plate, but Posey sticks with it and presents it nicely, causing Prado to get gritty at Wendelstedt.

4. Date: 6/11
Catcher: Buster Posey
Batter: Starling Marte
Pitcher: Jose Mijares
Umpire: Wally Bell
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 91-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.383 feet

A similar pitch that Posey framed a little less cleanly, getting the call nonetheless. Since this was the first pitch of the at-bat, Marte wasn’t as upset as Prado, but he wasn’t pleased.

3. Date: 6/9
Catcher: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Batter: Mark Trumbo
Pitcher: Ryan Dempster
Umpire: Marty Foster
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 89-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.389 feet

Saltalamacchia isn’t known for his defense, and there’s a little more glove movement here than we usually see from Molina or Lucroy, but he got the low strike on a big batter.

2. Date: 6/12
Catcher: Russell Martin
Batter: Nick Noonan
Pitcher: Jason Grilli
Umpire: Marvin Hudson
Count: 0-1
Pitch type: 82-mph slider
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.426 feet

Martin tugged this one up so quickly I had to watch it frame by frame to be sure it didn’t bounce. (It didn’t.)

1. Date: 6/11
Catcher: Brian McCann
Batter: Andrew Cashner
Pitcher: Tim Hudson
Umpire: Fieldin Culbreth
Count: 0-1
Pitch type: 91-mph sinker
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.440 feet

McCann’s wide stance lets him get low enough to catch pitches like this on the way up. This is the 0-1 pitch; the first strike of the at-bat looked like this:

***

Worst Frames of the Week

5. Date: 6/11
Catcher: Russell Martin
Batter: Hunter Pence
Pitcher: Gerrit Cole
Umpire: Wally Bell
Count: 1-1
Pitch type: 96-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.519 feet

Cole’s fastball has a reputation for being straight, but it showed some life in his debut start. Martin seemed surprised by how much this moved. This could be an example of a catcher’s lack of familiarity with a pitcher’s repertoire costing the pair a strike.

4. Date: 6/7
Catcher: Brayan Pena
Batter: Michael Brantley
Pitcher: Justin Verlander
Umpire: Sam Holbrook
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 96-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.497 feet

Verlander missed his spot, and Pena reoriented his glove rather than shifting it toward the outside part of the plate without turning it over (which isn’t easy, when a pitch is moving 96 miles per hour).

3. Date: 6/8
Catcher: Yasmani Grandal
Batter: Dexter Fowler
Pitcher: Luke Gregerson
Umpire: Jim Joyce
Count: 0-2
Pitch type: 82-mph slider
Distance from Center: 0.483 feet

Too much movement. Grandal’s leg drops, his glove darts out, and his non-glove hand does an unintentional fist pump.

2. Date: 6/11
Catcher: A.J. Pierzynski
Batter: Ryan Raburn
Pitcher: Derek Holland
Umpire: Mark Wegner
Count: 0-1
Pitch type: 81-mph changeup
Distance from Center: 0.470 feet

This pitch is more or less down the middle, but Pierzynski glove does an exaggerated dip.

1. Date: 6/12
Catcher: Rob Brantly
Batter: Carlos Gomez
Pitcher: Kevin Slowey
Umpire: Lance Barksdale
Count: 0-1
Pitch type: 91-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.356 feet

Brantly seems to show up in this section week after week. Granted, catching Marlins pitchers isn’t an easy assignment, but Slowey didn’t miss his spot by so much that Brantly needed to push the ball out of the strike zone in order to catch it.

***

Bonus Worst Ryan Doumit Frame of the Week
Date: 6/6
Batter: David Lough
Pitcher: Mike Pelfrey
Umpire: Tom Hallion
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 75-mph curveball
Distance from Center: 0.868 feet

Doumit caught only 16 innings this week—which is still 16 too many—so we don’t have a huge selection to choose from. He doesn’t move that much here, but he still does his trademark head dip, even though the ball is barely below eye level.

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 Daily Roundup: Around ... (06/15)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Overthinking It: The L... (06/14)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Overthinking It: The M... (06/18)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around ... (06/16)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Premium Article Rumor Roundup: Kenta Maeda Will Not Be Appea...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Live That Fantasy
Premium Article Pitching Backward: Brandon McCarthy and the ...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Bringing the Band Back...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Padres Wish Upton a St...
Premium Article Raising Aces: Best and Worst Mechanics: NL W...
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Catchin' Relief

MORE FROM JUNE 15, 2013
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around the League: June 15, 2...

MORE BY BEN LINDBERGH
2013-06-18 - Premium Article Overthinking It: The Most Surprising Team Pe...
2013-06-18 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 2...
2013-06-17 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 2...
2013-06-15 - Overthinking It: This Week in Catcher Framin...
2013-06-14 - Premium Article Overthinking It: The Longest Plate Appearanc...
2013-06-14 - BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 2...
2013-06-14 - BP Unfiltered: Gonzalez Germen and the Terri...
More...

MORE OVERTHINKING IT
2013-06-24 - Overthinking It: This Week in Catcher Framin...
2013-06-21 - Overthinking It: To Sleep, Perchance to Swin...
2013-06-18 - Premium Article Overthinking It: The Most Surprising Team Pe...
2013-06-15 - Overthinking It: This Week in Catcher Framin...
2013-06-14 - Premium Article Overthinking It: The Longest Plate Appearanc...
2013-06-12 - Premium Article Overthinking It: The Ever-Underappreciated G...
2013-06-08 - Overthinking It: This Week in Catcher Framin...
More...