The best and worst receivers of the week and season.
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.
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.
The best and worst of the week and season, plus more on Matt Wieters and the Brewers.
As promised last time, I put up several BP excerpts from interviews I conducted while working on my feature on framing for Grantland. If you missed any of them, the links are here:
The best and worst framers of the week and the season, plus framing-related links.
Framing-related links of the week
It’s been an eventful week for framing on the internet. If you're here because you’re interested in catcher receiving skills, you might also want to take a look at these three articles:
Estimated historical framing: More great work by Max Marchi, who used Retrosheet pitch-by-pitch data to estimate framing performance going back to 1988. He also took a look at how receiving skills age. Next on his to-do list: estimated framing for minor leaguers, and the quantification of game-calling.
The best and worst receivers of the week and the 2013 season so far.
No intro section this time; I should have a couple framing-related features on the way early next week, which I don't want to tease too much. Let's get right to the leaderboards and frames of the week.
Blind framing test results and the best and worst receivers of the week and the season.
Let’s start with the results of last week’s blind framing test. (If you haven't taken it, and you want to know, go back and do it before you see spoilers.) I gave you 10 pairs of pitches, with one called strike and one ball in each pair, and asked you to tell me which was which. The catch was, I cut off the umpire calls at the end of the clips (because, well, it would've been pretty easy otherwise). These were the strikes:
1. Left, Morrow vs. Machado
2. Right, Halladay vs. Jones
3. Right, Volquez vs. Betancourt
4. Left, Pettitte vs. Molina
5. Left, Latos vs. Navarro
6. Right, Resop vs. Gomes
7. Right, Halladay vs. McDonald
8. Left, Harrell vs. Seager
9. Left, Roth vs. Kinsler
10. Right, Anderson vs. Ortiz
Take the blind framing test, plus the best and worst framers of the week and season.
Last July, Sam Miller administered a blind BABIP test, providing nine GIFs of batted-ball outs and nine GIFs of hits but cutting them off just before the point at which contact was made. The purpose was to test whether we could tell which would be which, based on all the visual information we had about the pitch prior to the point of contact. We failed with flying colors.
So this is a catcher framing version of that. Below you'll find 10 pairs of GIFs. One pitch on each row is a called strike, and the other is a ball, but I've cut them off before the umpire starts to signal either way. All of the pitches are from this past Wednesday, and all of them are on 0-0 counts.
The first installment of a season-long study of what makes Jose Molina (and others like him) sexy.
This is the start of an experiment. I hope it will be a fun experiment, and maybe even an enlightening one.
I find catcher framing fascinating. Because I find it fascinating, I write about it often. And every time I do, I get a lot of questions and comments and clicks, which reinforces my writing-about-framing behavior. Sometimes I write about bad framers, like J.P. Arencibiaor Jorge Posada. But mostly I write about Jose Molina. Molina is my muse.
Jason Cole catches up with the Padres' top prospect and shows him flashing his skills.
While in Arizona this spring, I caught up with Padres top prospect Austin Hedges to discuss the art of catching and his development as a player. The Southern California native was ranked the no. 1 prospect in the San Diego system and no. 19 in baseball by Baseball Prospectus this offseason. And in our recent look at the top glove tools, we named him the top defensive catcher in the minor leagues, citing his “tremendous footwork, a quick transfer from the glove to his throwing hand, a lightning-quick release and an arm that rated as one of the best in the minor leagues,” in addition to his excellent blocking, framing, and game-calling abilities.