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Ryan Doumit was born on April 3, 1981, which made him an established 27-year-old major leaguer by the time Dan Turkenkopf discovered the tip of the pitch framing iceberg. Later research—and plenty of video evidence—would reveal Doumit as the worst framer of the PITCHf/x era, if not ever.

In some ways, Doumit was born at just the right time to carve out a strange little career. Five years earlier, and we wouldn't have been able to record much of his framing follies—at least not in PITCHf/x-style detail. Five years later, and he almost certainly wouldn't have been allowed to catch 4,397 2/3 big-league innings.

As part of Catcher Day here at BP, we've released oodles of data for public consumption—numbers on everything from framing to blocking to controlling the running game. Doumit, not surprisingly, ranks dead last on our career framing leaderboard—which tracks catchers back to 1988—and nobody's particularly close, especially rate-wise:

Player

CS Chances

CSAA

CS Runs

221) Kirt Manwaring

58,331

-0.0135

-129.9

222) Jorge Posada

109,338

-0.0074

-131.3

223) Gerald Laird

49,318

-0.0185

-145.5

224) Charles Johnson

85,129

-0.0131

-183.0

225) Ryan Doumit

33,297

-0.0367

-196.8

*Minimum 10,000 CS Chances

Perhaps the best way to contextualize Doumit's framing ineptitude is by looking at seasonal data: Of the thousands of player seasons tracked by BP, only 14 of them notched a worse CSAA than Doumit's career mark—and five of those were turned in by Doumit himself. Believe it or not, this article isn't about Doumit. It's about finding the next Doumit, if such a creature exists.

With the realization of framing's importance relative to other things catchers do defensively over the last few years, it's entirely possible that if we were to clone Doumit—for research purposes only, of course—and stick a 21-year-old version of him back in Single-A today, his manager would tell him to drop his catcher's mitt off at the nearest Goodwill. In short, terrible framers are unlikely to keep getting reps behind the dish these days.

With that in mind, who are today's worst young framers (25-and-under), and do any of them have a chance of reaching Doumitian depths in the big leagues? I pored over BP's catcher data to try to find them.

The Long Shots

Blake Swihart, Boston Red Sox

Level

CS Chances

CSAA

CS Runs

AA

5,594

0.0204

20.9

AAA

2,569

0.0031

1.3

MLB

5,190

-0.0079

-6.3

Here's Jason Parks, discussing Swihart's weaknesses in the 2014 Red Sox top 10:

"Low-rider behind the plate (backside close to the ground) can shrink target size; still refining as a receiver."

By the numbers, Swihart responded with a monster framing year in Double-A in '14, nearly keeping pace with defensive wunderkind Austin Hedges, but he slid back to near average in Triple-A and struggled last season in a rushed major-league debut. You could probably chalk that up to rookie adjustments, but—at least anecdotally—it seems like good pitch framers need little time to adjust to life in The Show. Here's a list of how some of the game's best framers performed in their rookie season:

Player

CSAA

Yasmani Grandal

0.030

Francisco Cervelli

0.005

Jonathan Lucroy

0.044

Buster Posey

0.001

Hank Conger

-0.006

Eh, nevermind. Cervelli and Posey were close to average, and Conger was nearly as bad as Swihart. Plus, we're not talking about Swihart turning into one of baseball's best framing catchers . . . we're talking about him turning into the worst.

Forget I ever mentioned him.

Kyle Schwarber, Chicago Cubs

Level

CS Chances

CSAA

CS Runs

AA

2,626

0.0135

3.6

AAA

962

0.0050

0.7

MLB

988

-0.0063

-1.1

The Cubs value Schwarber because the dude can hit, but they also value good defense behind the plate, so there's a decent chance the Schwarber-to-left-field experiment becomes mostly permanent by 2016. It's not that Schwarber is unplayable at catcher, it's just that the Cubs already have a couple of competent veteran backstops in Miguel Montero and David Ross (particularly Montero), and there's a patch of left field grass with Schwarber's name on it—provided he doesn't trip over it.

Even if the Cubs try to make Schwarber a full-time catcher at some point, Doumit's record for framing futility is probably safe. As you can see above, the numbers don't hate him back there, and the eyewitness accounts are generally mixed enough to justify a glass half-full outlook.

Jakson Reetz, Washington Nationals

Level

CS Chances

CSAA

CS Runs

A

2,095

-0.0157

-5.7

Reetz turned 20 on January 3, so tagging him as The Next Doumit would be a disservice to the concept of player development. He's got at least two or three more years in the minors to iron out the fine details of professional catching, and that's if the rest of his game comes around. Still, he gets the nod here because he's a legitimate prospect with a toolsy skill-set that could eventually fast track him to the majors, despite the .223 TAv he posted last season in Low-A ball.

Below Double-A, we only have framing data for the New York-Penn League in 2015, where Reetz ranked 42nd among 45 NYPL catchers (min. 500 framing opportunities) in CSAA:

Player

CS Chances

CSAA

CS Runs

41) Nick Collins

2,117

-0.0143

-5.4

42) Jakson Reetz

2,095

-0.0157

-5.7

43) Stuart Levy

893

-0.0176

-2.7

44) Blake Anderson

1,505

-0.0243

-6.3

45) Gregori Rivero

2,143

-0.0255

-9.5

Here's a GIF of Reetz receiving a few pitches (albeit, from a pitching machine):

An automated strike zone could be in place by the time Reetz reaches the majors—if he reaches the majors—so, yeah, just a guy to keep an eye on.

Getting Warmer

Christian Bethancourt, San Diego Padres

Level

CS Chances

CSAA

CS Runs

AA

10,995

-0.0064

-11.7

AAA

9,962

0.0007

1.1

MLB

4,564

-0.0139

-9.2

One way to earn a living as a major-league catcher without possessing adequate framing skills is by doing other things well. Bethancourt's bat hasn't come around like many had hoped, as he's mixed a .205 TAv in 278 plate appearances in Atlanta with mostly underwhelming minor-league performance. And much of his defense—framing included, obviously—leaves something to be desired.

He does have one thing going for him, however, and that's the cannon attached to his right shoulder. According to a Ben Lindbergh article at 538, Bethancourt led all MLB catchers last year in pop time (1.83 seconds) and average velocity (86 mph), resulting in him throwing out nine of 20 would-be base stealers. Bethancourt's also consistently rated above average in both of our statistics that measure catcher throwing, SRAA and TRAA.

The Braves, in the midst of a massive sell-off, decided Bethancourt wasn't their guy, dumping him to the Padres for Casey Kelly. In San Diego, he'll have to battle Derek Norris and Austin Hedges for playing time. While Bethancourt's current lack of options may give him the edge over Hedges for immediate backup duties, Hedges superior glove could turn Bethancourt's stay in San Diego into a short one.

Bethancourt's future remains cloudy, but his arm alone will likely keep teams calling for the next half-decade or so, no matter how the rest of his game develops.

J.T. Realmuto, Miami Marlins

Level

CS Chances

CSAA

CS Runs

AA

11,759

0.0214

41.3

AAA

213

0.0019

0.1

MLB

7,759

-0.0142

-16.2

The Marlins, perhaps not surprisingly, have employed a number of poor framers over the last few seasons: Jarrod Saltalamacchia (-0.0083 career CSAA), Koyie Hill (-0.0159), Rob Brantly (-0.0188), Brett Hayes (-0.0240), Tomas Telis (-0.0502), and Realmuto. A couple of those guys didn't garner much playing time in Miami, but the fact that the Marlins acquired them in the first place speaks toward the organization's thoughts on the relative importance of pitch framing.

A converted shortstop, Realmuto received solid grades in the minors for his plus arm and overall athleticism, and decent marks for his receiving skills. The numbers mostly agreed. What's puzzling, then, is what happened last season, where only Carlos Ruiz clearly rated as a worse framer among major-league catchers who got as many opportunities behind the dish as Realmuto. The 24-year-old currently has the starting gig locked down in Miami, so it'll be interesting to keep tabs on how his framing numbers shake out in 2016.

Salvador Perez, Kansas City Royals

Level

CS Chances

CSAA

CS Runs

AA

5,551

0.0138

12.9

AAA

1,528

0.0033

0.9

MLB

33,440

-0.0086

-42.2

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Perez has caught nearly 50 more games than any other catcher since 2013, and the Royals have made it to the World Series in back-to-back years. And while Perez annually rates as a below average receiver, his numbers aren't that bad. Last year, for instance, Perez's framing cost the Royals some 8.3 runs, which isn't a huge number considering he caught nearly 1,200 innings.

Still, maybe all that wear and tear will cause Perez's framing skills to deteriorate more quickly than the average catcher, and maybe the Royals will keep playing him because, clearly, his presence on the field isn't stopping whatever they have working in KC. While he may never reach complete framing incompetence, Perez, who doesn't turn 26 until May 10 and already has –42.2 CS Runs, could rack up enough playing time to at least take a stab at Domit's all-time mark.

Could Be The One

Tomas Telis, Miami Marlins

Level

CS Chances

CSAA

CS Runs

AA

9,082

-0.0126

-19.0

AAA

6,059

-0.0151

-14.4

MLB

1,460

-0.0502

-10.5

There are 5,345 player seasons with at least one framing opportunity in our database, and Tomas Telis' first two years in the majors rank 5,343 and 5,344, respectively. In other words, Telis has been worse than Doumit as a framer in all but one of Doumit's seasons—Doumit's 2008 campaign, where he notched a –0.0584 CSAA, ranks last. Stretch Telis' major-league framing performance out to 7,000 CS Chances—a typical season for a catcher—and he'd be worth –50 runs.

What's more about Telis is that his minor-league numbers have also been dreadful. While a good chunk of the catchers listed in this article posted respectable (or even good) minor-league framing statistics only to fall short in limited big-league exposure, Telis has been bad right out of the chute. Further, questions surrounding Telis' glove have always followed him in the scouting community. As the 2012 Baseball America Handbook noted: "He still has a lot of work to do behind the plate, as he struggles receiving velocity and movement."

Miami provides a fertile environment for bad framing to flourish, too, as they've taken little caution in running a number of poor framers out there in the recent past. Plus, only Realmuto (with framing issues of his own) and Jeff Mathis stand in the way of an everyday job for Telis.

Of course, Doumit need not surrender the throne just yet. Telis has only caught 28 games in the majors, and while framing statistics stabilize quickly, players can indeed improve their framing skill. Really, there's nowhere to go but up. Then there's the question of whether Telis can actually log significant playing time. Unless the bat comes around—and Telis has posted solid if unexciting numbers in the minors—there's a chance even the Marlins avoid playing him often, especially with a more polished Realmuto on the roster.

Ryan Doumit's career took place in a world unlike this one, where advanced pitch framing stats existed only on the fringes. Now framing is as commonplace as "pop time" in the parlance of catcher defense, and more so than that, we can prove it's far more important. If Doumit version 2.0 is out there, somewhere, it might be Telis—but look quickly because, barring significant improvement, it's unlikely he'll get much time to do damage back there.

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