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July 1, 2013

Overthinking It

This Week in Catcher Framing, 6/29

by Ben Lindbergh

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

The Best (min. 140 OZoneStrikes+ZoneBalls)

Ratio

Catcher

OZoneStrikes

ZoneBalls

Ratio

Hank Conger

111

65

1.71

Yasmani Grandal

100

62

1.61

Jonathan Lucroy

327

215

1.52

Brian McCann

150

119

1.26

David Ross

103

82

1.26

Martin Maldonado

94

76

1.24

Jose Molina

185

157

1.18

Yadier Molina

301

261

1.15

Erik Kratz

158

138

1.14

Evan Gattis

114

107

1.07

The Worst (min. 140 OZoneStrikes+ZoneBalls)

Ratio

Catcher

OZoneStrikes

ZoneBalls

Ratio

Ryan Doumit

40

148

0.27

Jesus Montero

54

148

0.36

Kelly Shoppach

75

176

0.43

Rob Brantly

133

297

0.45

Gerald Laird

48

103

0.47

Carlos Santana

135

278

0.49

Chris Iannetta

154

310

0.50

John Buck

156

306

0.51

Wilin Rosario

163

295

0.55

Kurt Suzuki

163

290

0.56

***

This Week in Jose Molina, 6/20-6/26

Weekly Net Strikes: -4
Weekly Playing Time: 4 G, 4 GS, 33.0 innings
Yearly Playing Time: 50 G, 43 GS, 364.0 innings
Yearly Net Strikes: 28

"This Week in Jose Molina is So Slow" might've been a better idea for a series. In the second inning on Sunday, Molina hit a ball that bounced on the warning track, and he ended up on first:

In the sixth, he grounded into one of the slowest-turned double plays you'll ever see. Robinson Cano ran around Kelly Johnson's takeout slide, took his time to release the ball, and still got Molina by two steps:

The best part: in the eighth inning of the same game, Molina stole second.

3. Date: 6/26
Batter: Colby Rasmus
Pitcher: Roberto Hernandez
Umpire: Gary Darling
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 91-mph sinker
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.165 feet

This pitch is breaking away from the plate, but Molina intercepts it and brings it back toward the batter before it can get too far from the strike zone.

2. Date: 6/23
Batter: Travis Hafner
Pitcher: Joel Peralta
Umpire: Alan Porter
Count: 1-0
Pitch type: 79-mph slider
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.191 feet

Molina has to move the glove to get to this one, but once he catches the pitch, the movement stops.

1. Date: 6/26
Batter: Jose Reyes
Pitcher: Roberto Hernandez
Umpire: Gary Darling
Count: 1-0
Pitch type: 93-mph sinker
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.202 feet

After over two months on the disabled list, Jose Reyes was thrilled to be back in the batter's box. Then Molina reminded him why hitting sucks sometimes.

***

This Week in Jonathan Lucroy, 6/20-6/26

Weekly Net Strikes: 4
Weekly Playing Time: 5 G, 5 GS, 45.1 innings
Yearly Playing Time: 61 G, 58 GS, 515.1 innings
Yearly Net Strikes: 112

A good week for Lucroy, whose two best frames were also among the week's top five.

3. Date: 6/25
Batter: Ryan Sweeney
Pitcher: Kyle Lohse
Umpire: Jeff Kellogg
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 77-mph changeup
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.411 feet

It seems like Lucroy never has to move his glove to get to the pitch. Then you look a little more closely, and you realize that he does, sometimes—it just doesn't look like it. It doesn't look like it to umpires, either.

2. Date: 6/23
Batter: Jason Heyward
Pitcher: Alfredo Figaro
Umpire: Manny Gonzalez
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 75-mph slide
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.425 feet

Figaro pitches low in the zone, so he shows up here almost every week. If I pitched for the Brewers, I'd try to do what Figaro does.

1. Date: 6/22
Batter: Andrelton Simmons
Pitcher: Burke Badenhop
Umpire: Larry Vanover
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 80-mph curveball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.492 feet

At 15.2 inches off the ground, the lowest called strike of the week.

***

Best Frames of the Week

5. Date: 6/21
Catcher: Yadier Molina
Batter: Nelson Cruz
Pitcher: Tyler Lyons
Umpire: Chris Conroy
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 90-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.420 feet

Cruz doesn't care for this call.

4. Date: 6/23
Catcher: Jonathan Lucroy
Batter: Jason Heyward
Pitcher: Alfredo Figaro
Umpire: Manny Gonzalez
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 75-mph slide
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.425 feet

Same as the second Lucroy frame above.

3. Date: 6/22
Catcher: Jonathan Lucroy
Batter: Andrelton Simmons
Pitcher: Burke Badenhop
Umpire: Larry Vanover
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 80-mph curveball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.492 feet

Same as the top Lucroy frame above.

2. Date: 6/21
Catcher: Yadier Molina
Batter: Elvis Andrus
Pitcher: Tyler Lyons
Umpire: Chris Conroy
Count: 3-0
Pitch type: 90-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.528 feet

Slightly lower and farther outside than the first Yadier Molina frame above. The expanded zone on 3-0 helps here.

1. Date: 6/22
Catcher: Yasmani Grandal
Batter: Skip Schumaker
Pitcher: Brad Boxberger
Umpire: Mike Muchlinski
Count: 3-0
Pitch type: 90-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Strike Zone: 0.764 feet

Another 3-0 count call, though Grandal rates well overall and seems to have sound receiving skills.

***

Worst Frames of the Week

5. Date: 6/22
Catcher: Jonathan Lucroy
Batter: Dan Uggla
Pitcher: Donovan Hand
Umpire: Larry Vanover
Count: 1-1
Pitch type: 69-mph curveball
Distance from Center: 0.542 feet

Not every call went Lucroy's way this week. He does a double-take when he realizes that there's no strike call forthcoming, then tosses the ball back to the pitcher like he can't bear to touch it.

4. Date: 6/22
Catcher: Brian McCann
Batter: Norichika Aoki
Pitcher: Tim Hudson
Umpire: Larry Vanover
Count: 2-0
Pitch type: 90-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.520 feet

Aoki's crouch is pretty pronounced, which might have something to do with why this shows up as one of the worst of the week.

3. Date: 6/21
Catcher: Wilin Rosario
Batter: Denard Span
Pitcher: Tyler Chatwood
Umpire: Sam Holbrook
Count: 0-0
Pitch type: 93-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.516 feet

Rosario seems to catch this one with his glove turned up, then brings it back to a more horizontal orientation. That may have made the pitch look a little higher than it was.

2. Date: 6/25
Catcher: Chris Stewart
Batter: Nelson Cruz
Pitcher: David Robertson
Umpire: Dan Iassogna
Count: 1-0
Pitch type: 93-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.516 feet

Coming up for the throw may have cost Stewart this call. It was worth it, though: he got the runner.

1. Date: 6/22
Catcher: Carlos Corporan
Batter: Travis Wood
Pitcher: Bud Norris
Umpire: Phil Cuzzi
Count: 1-1
Pitch type: 91-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.508 feet

Another one where throwing to to second seems to cost a catcher a strike. To compound the problem, Corporan throws the ball into center, allowing the runner to advance to third.

***

Bonus Worst Ryan Doumit Frame of the Week
Date: 6/20
Batter: Alejandro De Aza
Pitcher: Scott Diamond
Umpire: Jeff Nelson
Count: 1-0
Pitch type: 89-mph four-seam fastball
Distance from Center: 0.683 feet

Doumit seems surprised that he didn't get this call. You'd think he'd be used to it by now.

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

1 comment has been left for this article.

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