The best and worst receivers of the week and season so far.
We were off last week because of the All-Star break, so this edition will cover the two weeks since last time.
I did a guest spot on the Blue Jays Plus podcast to talk about J.P. Arencibia's receiving skills. As you'll probably recall from his previous appearances at BP, Arencibia rated very poorly over the past two seasons, and at the beginning of this season. But in mid-June, he worked with Blue Jays roving catching instructor Sal Fasano, and since then he's rated quite well. Small sample, of course, but the statistical improvement seems to be backed up by mechanical improvements. I might write more about this soon, but for now you can hear me talk about it if you're so inclined. The moral of the story is that Sal Fasano is still the best possible person.
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.