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June 24, 2013

Overthinking It

This Week in Catcher Framing, 6/23

by Ben Lindbergh

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

The Best (min. 120 OZoneStrikes+ZoneBalls)

Ratio

Catcher

OZoneStrikes

ZoneBalls

Ratio

Hank Conger

102

56

1.82

Yasmani Grandal

75

47

1.60

Jonathan Lucroy

292

186

1.57

David Ross

103

80

1.29

Jose Molina

173

143

1.21

Francisco Cervelli

75

63

1.19

Erik Kratz

159

135

1.18

Yadier Molina

286

1.17

1.17

Martin Maldonado

89

1.16

1.16

Brian McCann

127

1.15

1.15

The Worst (min. 120 OZoneStrikes+ZoneBalls)

Ratio

Catcher

OZoneStrikes

ZoneBalls

Ratio

Ryan Doumit

36

134

0.27

Jesus Montero

54

148

0.36

Kelly Shoppach

74

175

0.42

Rob Brantly

120

262

0.46

Chris Iannetta

141

287

0.49

Carlos Santana

129

259

0.50

Gerald Laird

47

93

0.51

John Buck

145

279

0.52

Wilin Rosario

144

271

0.53

Miguel Olivo

48

89

0.54

***

This Week in Jose Molina, 6/13-6/19

Weekly Net Strikes: -5
Weekly Playing Time: 5 G, 4 GS, 34.0 innings
Yearly Playing Time: 47 G, 40 GS, 338.0 innings
Yearly Net Strikes: 30

Not framing-related, but this week's greatest addition to Molina lore was this slide, which scored the go-ahead run in the Rays' win on Wednesday:

Molina's postgame quote:

I just said that as soon as he hit the ball I've got to try to score, pretty much that's the way it was. I took my lead really good and gave everything I had—I guess it's not that much—but I give everything and to try to slide and avoid the tag and I did, and scored a big run for us. … I think I did one of those Matrix moves and he didn't tag me.

And Joe Maddon's:

New nickname alert: Jose "Matrix Moves" Molina. It works for framing, too.

3. Date: 6/19
Batter: Jarrod Saltalamacchia
Pitcher: Jamey Wright
Umpire: Dan Iassogna
Count: 1-1
Pitch type: 87-mph slider
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.162 feet

Announcer's reaction: “And that’s outside. Or is it? No, called a strike.”

Saltalamacchia's reaction: the same.

2. Date: 6/13
Batter: Billy Butler
Pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson
Umpire: Tim Timmons
Count: 3-1
Pitch type: 90-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.236 feet

Now lean back, lean back, lean back, lean back.

1. Date: 6/19
Batter: Daniel Nava
Pitcher: Jeremy Hellickson
Umpire: Dan Iassogna
Count: 1-0
Pitch type: 80-mph changeup
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.294 feet

Not Molina's crispest reception, but good enough to get the call.

***

This Week in Jonathan Lucroy, 6/13-6/19

Weekly Net Strikes: 4
Weekly Playing Time: 3 G, 3 GS, 25.0 innings
Yearly Playing Time: 56 G, 53 GS, 471.1 innings
Yearly Net Strikes: 106

3. Date: 6/18
Batter: Marwin Gonzalez
Pitcher: Alfredo Figaro
Umpire: Mike Everitt
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 95-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.243 feet

We know from past weeks that Lucroy specializes in low pitches, but he gets a high one here. Gonzalez is so scarred by the call that he swings at every subsequent pitcher in the plate appearance, all of which are just as high or higher:


2. Date: 6/16
Batter: Derrick Robinson
Pitcher: Michael Gonzalez
Umpire: Sam Holbrook
Count: 1-2
Pitch type: 89-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.269 feet

Even more impressive because of the count (and, consequently, the smaller strike zone). Robinson stood and contemplate the call before heading back to the dugout.

1. Date: 6/16
Batter: Zack Cozart
Pitcher: Michael Gonzalez
Umpire: Sam Holbrook
Count: 2-0
Pitch type: 74-mph curveball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.376 feet

A little lower than the second one, but the call comes on a more strike-friendly count.

***

Best Frames of the Week

5. Date: 6/17
Catcher: J.P. Arencibia
Batter: Nolan Arenado
Pitcher: Josh Johnson
Umpire: Phil Cuzzi
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 93-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.427 feet

Arencibia has taken his fair share of abuse in this space, but he gets a good mention here. This pitch hits the target, but it's inside all the way.

4. Date: 6/13
Catcher: Chris Stewart
Batter: Jed Lowrie
Pitcher: Adam Warren
Umpire: C.B. Bucknor
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 81-mph curveball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.460 feet

This one was 15 inches off the ground. Jed Lowrie looks like he thinks his knees are higher than that.

3. Date: 6/13
Catcher: Chris Stewart
Batter: Josh Reddick
Pitcher: Preston Claiborne
Umpire: C. B. Bucknor
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 92-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.464 feet

Another reception by Stewart, whose crouch looks extremely stable.

2. Date: 6/19
Catcher: Derek Norris
Batter: Ian Kinsler
Pitcher: Dan Otero
Umpire: Doug Eddings
Count: 0-1
Pitch type: 90-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.474 feet

According to PITCHf/x, this was the lowest called strike of the week, 0.002 feet lower than the one above that Lowrie didn't like. Norris didn't glove his low strike as smoothly as Stewart, but he got the call anyway, much to Kinsler's dismay.

1. Date: 6/18
Catcher: Hank Conger
Batter: Mike Zunino
Pitcher: Joe Blanton
Umpire: John Hirschbeck
Count: 1-2
Pitch type: 91-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.519 feet

Conger is helping Mike Scioscia fill that receiver-sized void where Jeff Mathis used to be.

***

Worst Frames of the Week

5. Date: 6/16
Catcher: Joe Mauer
Batter: Austin Jackson
Pitcher: Evan Reed
Umpire: James Hoye
Count: 2-1
Pitch type: 88-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.479 feet

This pitch crosses the plate, but Mauer is setting inside and has to reach too far to his right.

4. Date: 6/13
Catcher: Michael McKenry
Batter: Brandon Belt
Pitcher: Charlie Morton
Umpire: Tim McClelland
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 94-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.407 feet

McKenry has a dubious track record as a receiver, but coming up to throw may have cost him this call. (The throw wasn't in time, either.)

3. Date: 6/13
Catcher: Yadier Molina
Batter: Daniel Murphy
Pitcher: Adam Wainwright
Umpire: Chris Conroy
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 90-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.398 feet

A rare missed strike by a Molina. Yadier holds the ball for an extra beat, giving Conroy plenty of time to call it, but the body movement was too much.

2. Date: 6/19
Catcher: Tyler Flowers
Batter: Oswaldo Arcia
Pitcher: Chris Sale
Umpire: Cory Blaser
Count: 0-1
Pitch type: 93-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.230 feet

Flowers has been fine behind the plate in his first full season as a first-stringer, but he doesn't present much of a target here, and there's a little too much lean.

1. Date: 6/19
Catcher: Welington Castillo
Batter: Yadier Molina
Pitcher: Edwin Jackson
Umpire: Adrian Johnson
Count: 0-1
Pitch type: 93-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.206 feet

Another one where responding to the runner might have cost the catcher a call.

***

Bonus Worst Ryan Doumit Frame of the Week
Date: 6/15
Batter: Victor Martinez
Pitcher: Sam Deduno
Umpire: Bob Davidson
Count: 0-1
Pitch type: 92-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.771 feet

Fist clench, knee movement, head dip: Doumit.

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.

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