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Jonathan Judge 

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We move ever closer to a catcher-framing metric that captures a player's true value.

Last year, Baseball Prospectus introduced our Regressed Probabilistic Model (or “RPM”) for catcher pitch-framing. RPM uses PITCHf/x data to increase the measured accuracy of the actual contributions made by catchers. But RPM also suffered from two limitations. First, because PITCHf/x data was not publicly available before 2008, RPM could only measure catcher framing from recent seasons. Second, it relied primarily on a piecemeal approach to identifying the individual contributions of pitchers, umpires and catchers.

This year, we are pleased to announce an improvement that will address both limitations. We propose to move RPM from a “With or Without You” (WOWY) comparison method to a mixed model we call “CSAA” —”Called Strikes Above Average.” This new model allows simultaneous consideration of pitcher, catcher, batter, umpire, PITCHf/x, and other data for each taken pitch over the course of a season, and by controlling for each of their respective contributions will predict how many called strikes above (or below) average each such participant was worth during a particular season. Although PITCHf/x data is preferable when available, the mixed model (in a revised, “Retro” form) will allow us to live without it when need be, permitting us to project regressed framing of catchers all the way back to 1988, when pitch counts were first officially tracked.[1] This same technique developed for Retrosheet can also be applied to recent minor-league data to provide an even deeper view into the progression and value of this skill.

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November 12, 2014 6:00 am

The Best Roster Cores

15

Jonathan Judge

Looking at the teams with the best chances of keeping the gang together--the best cores in baseball.

It’s hot stove time, when we shift our focus from the season that was to the season on the horizon. Tires are kicked, trades are proposed, and free agents are considered. During it all, metrics like WARP allow us to summarize the performance of individual players. But what about the overall core of a team’s major-league roster? How can we say, objectively, whether a team has built a core of ongoing contributors? Or, by contrast, whether it has been overly reliant on transient (e.g., departing) assets?

A productive core consists of two things: good players under long-term control, and good players who are not too old. Players under long-term control allow a team to be patient and avoid expensive, volatile solutions (except in those cases when the players under long-term control become those expensive, volatile solutions); players who are younger also tend to play more games, be more productive, and remain productive for longer.

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Which teams figure to get the most out of their core contributors in 2014?

Most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers, and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.

Jonathan Judge has a degree in piano performance but is now a product liability lawyer. He also blogs about the Brewers, and sometimes other teams, at Disciples of Uecker. Follow him on Twitter @bachlaw.


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Which teams can count on controlling their productive 2013 players for years to come?

Most of our writers didn't enter the world sporting an @baseballprospectus.com address; with a few exceptions, they started out somewhere else. In an effort to up your reading pleasure while tipping our caps to some of the most illuminating work being done elsewhere on the internet, we'll be yielding the stage once a week to the best and brightest baseball writers, researchers, and thinkers from outside of the BP umbrella. If you'd like to nominate a guest contributor (including yourself), please drop us a line.

Jonathan Judge got a degree in piano performance, but then thought better of it and became a trial lawyer instead. His hobbies include the Brewers, proper roster construction, and thinking about BABIP (which are not all necessarily related). Follow him on Twitter at @bachlaw.

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