Fangraphs just posted an interview with Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy.
One of the biggest sabermetric findings in the last few years is that catcher "framing of pitches" is a very real skill that has significant value. Additionally, scouting analysis of the players who score well on the metrics has shown that there are a set of characteristics of how catchers catch that seem to be the drivers of this effect. And these characteristics are no big surprise; they're the ones catcher instructors have preached for years. In short, be "quiet" and stay out of the ump's way.
Call it what you will, framing, receiving, etc., but it has proven quite reliable (same guys are good/bad every year) and the potential to cost or save runs is significant -- some studies have estimated the impact of an especially good or bad season could be as much as 3 wins worth of extra strikes on the upide and 6 losses worth of lost strikes on the down side. That's a massive swing.
If this strikes you as crazy, I would urge you to at least read the research before making your critique of it. Though not perfect or completely definitive, the research is quite robust and may already addressed, if not fully accounted for, for your critique. As for the smell test, I would say that our sense of smell is not finely calibrated when it comes to defensive value and that we should keep an open mind.
But setting aside the conversion of additional/fewer strikes in to runs, there is no debate about the fact that some catchers reliably get more strikes for their pitchers than others and that Lucroy has consistently shown to be among the best in MLB. He discusses the issue at length in the linked article.
Of course, it brings me back to Mesoraco. It has been my observation that he is not a very good receiver, or at least not a consistent one. Most notably, he seems to stab at the ball quite a bit, particularly on low pitches.
I had trouble finding a stat site that actually calculates catcher defensive production using framing data on an ongoing basis. But I'm curious, purely from the scouting standpoint, what do people think about Mesoraco's performance this year as a receiver?