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Articles Tagged Martin Maldonado 

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The framing advantage is shrinking, but Martin Maldonado is a perfect fit with the Angels and that isn't an accident.

The en vogue way to play Marco Polo among baseball nerds is to yell “pitch framing!” and listen for “no longer offers a significant edge!”

There isn’t anything wrong with that statement. As a denizen of this generally useful, insightful echo chamber, I’m not disputing the overarching point: The worst (employed) pitch framers are substantially closer to the best pitch framers than they were even three years ago, and the gap might continue to shrink. Gaining a thousand-strike leg up on outwitted competition simply isn’t happening now. It was and is a smart observation, thoroughly borne out by the numbers on a league-wide basis and reinforced by the transparent actions taken when the final bastions of stat-averse talent evaluation fell this offseason.

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December 14, 2016 6:00 am

Transaction Analysis: Catcher Swap


Nicholas Zettel

Martin Maldonado joins the ever-changing Angels and the Brewers bet(t) on Jett.

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The backup catcher with the nasty slider.

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Sure, some catchers can't hit. But are we learning to look on the bright side?

Mark Smith wrote an interesting piece last week about Braves prospect Christian Bethancourt. Bethancourt is, of course, the top defensive catching prospect in the minors and the owner of superhuman pop times. Bethancourt is also an unpolished hitter with a poor plate approach and raw power that has yet to show up in games. Despite the negatives Smith arrived at a logical conclusion by writing that Bethancourt could contribute to a team with his defense even if he never reaches his offensive potential.

Smith’s post about coming to terms with Bethancourt’s offense is just the latest example in what amounts to a paradigm shift in the analytical community regarding defense-first catchers. Think of it in terms of prospect theory: We're no longer looking at what they cost you at the plate, but what they gain you behind it. Teams may be thinking this way, too.

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