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Thread: Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

    I was just having a discussion with someone about what is important to catcher defense and that was brought up by the other party. My question to him was "does the umpire ever even look at the catchers glove after the ball has crossed home plate"?

    The strikezone isn't defined by where the catcher catches the ball, because the catchers glove is well behind home plate. The strikezone is defined by where the ball is when it crosses the plate.

    So, I bring it here to you guys.... how much, if any importance do you actually put on a catchers ability to "frame a pitch"?

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

    I think it's an important task, hard to pin down that stuff, but you're selling the pitchers control to the umpire and that's important. Scioscia thinks it's REAL important\ and that the catcher is a big part of the games run prevention.

    http://www.baseballprospectus.com/ar...rticleid=14121

    Mike Scioscia isn’t a stathead kind of guy. He’s not as anti-stat as you might imagine—he’s extremely wary of sample-size issues, he doesn’t believe in distinguishing between earned and unearned runs, and he thinks pitcher wins are a bad way of measuring starters—but he is extremely skeptical of advanced defensive stats. He says they don’t account for the role of advanced scouting, positioning and, yes, even the catcher’s role in calling pitches that reflect the scouting and positioning. There’s only one defensive statistic that he thinks can accurately reflect the player’s role: Catcher Runs Allowed. “An absolute tool as to how a catcher relates to a pitcher’s performance,” he called it.

    “Let me put it to you this way,” he once said. “If you string out 162 games and you have one catcher who is giving up one run a game less when he catches, on the net runs end of it, he’s 162 runs ahead, right? So the other catcher has to produce 162 runs more than the other guy just to break even. I think a catcher is going to influence a game and a season behind the plate more than he is with his four at-bats a night.”

    Perfect: the one advanced metric he approves of is one that had essentially been considered disproven for a decade. And the one advanced metric he approves of is the one that conveniently makes him look like he was a superstar
    Last edited by westofyou; 06-18-2011 at 06:00 PM.

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    Et tu, Brutus? Brutus's Avatar
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    Re: Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I was just having a discussion with someone about what is important to catcher defense and that was brought up by the other party. My question to him was "does the umpire ever even look at the catchers glove after the ball has crossed home plate"?

    The strikezone isn't defined by where the catcher catches the ball, because the catchers glove is well behind home plate. The strikezone is defined by where the ball is when it crosses the plate.

    So, I bring it here to you guys.... how much, if any importance do you actually put on a catchers ability to "frame a pitch"?
    I umpired from about the time I was 16 until 25 or 26. Granted, I only did Babe Ruth, High School, Legion and smaller college ball, but for me, framing pitches didn't help catchers if I knew they were doing it. I always gave myself a split second to think about each pitch as it hit the mitt, so if they were good at it, it may have made a slight impact on my judgement of where the ball crossed. But if I saw their mitts being drastically moved back, it helped me determine it was usually out of the zone.

    That's just my own personal viewpoint, obviously, but I think most umpires don't allow framing to make up their mind much if I had to guess.
    "No matter how good you are, you're going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are you're going to win one-third of your games. It's the other third that makes the difference." ~Tommy Lasorda

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    Re: Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

    It was one of the things I didn't like with Jason LaRue....who always looked like he was stabbing at the ball, even strikes.

    I would say a ball is harder to be called a strike by 'framing' the pitch, than it is for a strike to be called a ball by sloppy receiving.
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    Re: Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

    From that same BP article:

    " . . . And Mathis “earns” an extra strike call every two games or so. If switching a ball to a strike is worth .161 runs, as Dan Turkenkopf found, Mathis has an edge of about 10 runs over a full season, by pitch-framing alone."

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    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

    Quote Originally Posted by VR View Post
    It was one of the things I didn't like with Jason LaRue....who always looked like he was stabbing at the ball, even strikes.

    I would say a ball is harder to be called a strike by 'framing' the pitch, than it is for a strike to be called a ball by sloppy receiving.


    Exactly.

    They all "frame" the pitch to a degree, sometimes it helps get a call, sometimes not. But if you do it poorly, not smooth, "stabbing" at the ball, as VR noted, it can really hurt the call, IMO.

    I always thought that about LaRue as well.

    Smooth, subtle movements are the only ones that work, and you can do more harm than good if you're not adept at it.
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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

    Quote Originally Posted by RFS62 View Post
    Exactly.

    They all "frame" the pitch to a degree, sometimes it helps get a call, sometimes not. But if you do it poorly, not smooth, "stabbing" at the ball, as VR noted, it can really hurt the call, IMO.

    I always thought that about LaRue as well.

    Smooth, subtle movements are the only ones that work, and you can do more harm than good if you're not adept at it.
    So essentially we are talking about the umpires not doing their jobs correctly then, right? How the catcher catches the ball should have no effect on a ball or a strike, right?

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    One and a half men Patrick Bateman's Avatar
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    Re: Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    So essentially we are talking about the umpires not doing their jobs correctly then, right? How the catcher catches the ball should have no effect on a ball or a strike, right?
    I think it's more because there is of course a human elemant with umpiring. Like all people, perception will have a huge effect and I think a small thing like framing could very well have "some" effect on close pitches. It's not an umpiring issue per se, it's a human thing.

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    Re: Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    So essentially we are talking about the umpires not doing their jobs correctly then, right? How the catcher catches the ball should have no effect on a ball or a strike, right?
    Technically doug, you are 100% correct.


    I think it helps what they 'think' they see. To judge where a 90+ mph ball with movement actually crosses through the zone has it's imperfections, any little help the catcher can provide would only be beneficial. You may only be improving by thousandths of percentage points....but every little bit might help.
    Baseball is like church. Many attend, few understand

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    Re: Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

    There is more to it than just moving the glove back in to the strikezone. On an outside pitch if the catcher catches the ball and fold the glove in with the edge of the glove coming back in to the strikezone in one fluid motion, that is a pitch he might get for his pitcher (hard to explain). A former minor league catcher I talked to one time said he estimated he got 2-3 calls a game for his pitcher that way.
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    Re: Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

    I think tonight is a big example. I bet Volq gets more called strikes tonight if Hanigan is back there. Hernandez has not attempted to frame one single pitch that was chin high (on Hernandez). Volquez's strike zone seems to have a very low zone tonight. Hold the freakin pitch, and you'll get some more calls.

    (Sorry for the last sentance anger, needed a small vent!)

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    Viva la Rolen kaldaniels's Avatar
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    Re: Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    How the catcher catches the ball should have no effect on a ball or a strike, right?
    Right. It shouldn't, but it does at times. And until they develop and implement a laser based system to call balls and strikes, it always will have an effect. Complaining (not that you are) about it is futile.

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    Puffy's Daddy Red Leader's Avatar
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    Re: Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

    Quote Originally Posted by westofyou View Post
    I think it's an important task, hard to pin down that stuff, but you're selling the pitchers control to the umpire and that's important.
    Nicely stated, woy.

    It depends on who you're asking Doug. As the father of a 12 yr old that catches. As someone who played there. I know that we teach framing pitches now. I know that I was always taught to frame pitches. As a catcher - it's a skill you have to develop over time.

    For the most part, when you get to the minor and major league level (for the most part)it's a little more about pre-pitch positioning than it is about "framing." The really good catchers at that level, you don't notice framing on very many pitches, it's just the way they catch a pitch. They've developed and perfected hand and body positioning when receiving the ball. It's truly a skill that's been developed over a lifetime.

    Also, just like the player who's developed the skill, the umpires have done the same with the strike zone (seriously - I've witnessed...from the ground up...both of them...just brutal, on both ends). Anyway, sometimes even at the MLB level you'll notice an umpire give the catcher the call on a good frame of a breaking ball. It's always been that way. It hope it continues to always be that way because I think framing is important. It's tradition of the game.
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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    So essentially we are talking about the umpires not doing their jobs correctly then, right? How the catcher catches the ball should have no effect on a ball or a strike, right?
    How the catcher catches the ball very much has a bearing if the ball is a strike or not.

    The catchers job is to make the pitch look like a strike. If a pitch is low and the catcher swipes down at the ball then it is very unlikely to get the pitch called a strike as opposed to catching the ball where it is thrown at and holding the ball where I can see it was caught at. The same goes if the pitch is border line outside or even inside, if the catcher swipes at the ball to where he makes it look like the pitch was outside or inside then it very much lessens his chance of getting the pitch called a strike. You may not want to hear this but in he world of umpiring it very much is a reality. If the catcher is not helping me in catching the ball to where I can see it then he is not going to get the benefit of doubt on borderline pitches.

    Having a catcher who knows how to properly catch a pitch and hold it so the umpire can see it as opposed to swiping at the ball can make the difference in alot of cases 10-15 pitches either being called a ball or a strike.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard

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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Catchers: How important is "framing a pitch"?

    Quote Originally Posted by redlegz View Post
    There is more to it than just moving the glove back in to the strikezone. On an outside pitch if the catcher catches the ball and fold the glove in with the edge of the glove coming back in to the strikezone in one fluid motion, that is a pitch he might get for his pitcher (hard to explain). A former minor league catcher I talked to one time said he estimated he got 2-3 calls a game for his pitcher that way.
    You are right. A good catcher can twist his glove on an outside pitch to make it look like a strike even though it was several inches outside. It doesn't always work but on occasion the umpire will get blocked from seeing an outside pitch to where he only only sees where the glove ended up and not where he caught it several inches outside. Or the umpire simply got fooled by not following the pitch to the mitt. It happens, trust me.
    "Boys, I'm one of those umpires that misses 'em every once in a while so if it's close, you'd better hit it." Cal Hubbard


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