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Thread: Framing the pitch

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    BobC, get a legit F.O.! Mario-Rijo's Avatar
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    Framing the pitch

    Just ran across this piece on BP on the catchers impact on pitching. So I thought I'd add it for discussion. As many expected Hanny is very good at helping his pitchers while Ramon was not.

    BP link

    Catchers play a central role in the game of baseball through their involvement with every pitch that their pitchers throw. One of their key tasks is receiving borderline pitches without discouraging the umpire from calling strikes.

    Dan Turkenkopf was one of the first analysts to investigate this phenomenon using detailed pitch location data. He found that catchers differed significantly in their performance at getting strike calls from umpires. Matthew Carruth and Bill Letson followed up with additional research and similar conclusions. The size of the effect that Dan and Bill found was so large as to be almost unbelievable.

    Earlier this year, I observed that where the catcher set the target relative to the edge of the strike zone and whether the pitcher hit the target had a large impact on the likelihood of a strike call. Some pitchers, such as Tom Glavine and Livan Hernandez, were consistently able to expand the edges of the strike zone by several inches. The fact that catchers are paired with a limited number of pitchers in a season affects our ability to properly assign credit for extra strike calls to catchers. Adjusting for pitcher-catcher pairing reduces the apparent size of the catcher responsibility for the effect to more reasonable levels.
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    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Re: Framing the pitch

    I've always felt that the catcher that can sit behind the plate like he really isn't there, who knows how to receive the baseball like it's an egg, who has great hand technique with very little movement, has a tremendous effect on both the pitchers ability to throw strikes and the umpire's likelihood of calling them. A nice, freshly cleaned window for the umpire to see through. Jumpy catchers, ala Jason Larue, make the umpire see everything through a dirty window and the pitcher suffers.
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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: Framing the pitch

    Quote Originally Posted by RANDY IN INDY View Post
    I've always felt that the catcher that can sit behind the plate like he really isn't there, who knows how to receive the baseball like it's an egg, who has great hand technique with very little movement, has a tremendous effect on both the pitchers ability to throw strikes and the umpire's likelihood of calling them. A nice, freshly cleaned window for the umpire to see through. Jumpy catchers, ala Jason Larue, make the umpire see everything through a dirty window and the pitcher suffers.
    I think this is one of the reasons why Molina is one of the best catchers in the game. He is about as good of a catcher as I have ever seen at framing a pitch and selling it to the umpire (I never got to see Bench play so please forgive me). Mike Matheny was the same way when he played. This is why I feel that with a catcher, I would rather have someone that can be beautiful at framing a pitch rather than a catcher that can just mash balls.

    Do you also feel that if a pitcher frames a pitch perfectly, it gets them in better position to throw out runners? It seems that it would be difficult to throw out potential base stealers if catchers are stabbing at the ball and have a herky/jerky motion when catching the ball.
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    Beer is good!! George Anderson's Avatar
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    Re: Framing the pitch

    Quote Originally Posted by RANDY IN INDY View Post
    I've always felt that the catcher that can sit behind the plate like he really isn't there, who knows how to receive the baseball like it's an egg, who has great hand technique with very little movement, has a tremendous effect on both the pitchers ability to throw strikes and the umpire's likelihood of calling them. A nice, freshly cleaned window for the umpire to see through. Jumpy catchers, ala Jason Larue, make the umpire see everything through a dirty window and the pitcher suffers.
    Bingo, a good catcher can make the difference of whether a good 10-15 pitches are called a ball or strike during a game at the HS level anyway.

    The "we need a Questec system to call balls and strikes" discussion is queing in 5,4,3,2,........
    "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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    Moderator RedlegJake's Avatar
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    Re: Framing the pitch

    I don't know about how that sets up their throw to second Mike, the release time, arm strength and footwork have more to do with that I think but I agree that the importance of the defensive and staff handling aspects of catching are gaining more prominence.

    Its always been a defense first position but a lot of teams have still sacrificed the position to the lords of offense over the years. - Now that science is starting to back up the notion that framing strikes and staff handling has a measurable impact and that impact might be more significant than some thought, more attention might be paid to moving mashers who are less than adequate behind the plate to 1st or left or DH.

    If these numbers are valid did Ramon's bat make up for his poorer catching skills and the strikes he cost the pitching staff? And if you can compute a run cost to this couldn't you factor it into a catcher's WAR rating at some point?

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    Moderator RedlegJake's Avatar
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    Re: Framing the pitch

    Quote Originally Posted by George Anderson View Post
    Bingo, a good catcher can make the difference of whether a good 10-15 pitches are called a ball or strike during a game at the HS level anyway.

    The "we need a Questec system to call balls and strikes" discussion is queing in 5,4,3,2,........
    Ugh....don't get it started....

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    Matt's Dad RANDY IN INDY's Avatar
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    Re: Framing the pitch

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    I think this is one of the reasons why Molina is one of the best catchers in the game. He is about as good of a catcher as I have ever seen at framing a pitch and selling it to the umpire (I never got to see Bench play so please forgive me). Mike Matheny was the same way when he played. This is why I feel that with a catcher, I would rather have someone that can be beautiful at framing a pitch rather than a catcher that can just mash balls.

    Do you also feel that if a pitcher frames a pitch perfectly, it gets them in better position to throw out runners? It seems that it would be difficult to throw out potential base stealers if catchers are stabbing at the ball and have a herky/jerky motion when catching the ball.
    Not really. It's two separate things, and the footwork and transfer are the keys to making good throws. Having soft hands and a soft, tension free body are very important in just about all phases of catching. The soft body part is particularly important in blocking pitches. Some really good catchers have told me that they "exhale" before each pitch to get the tension out of the body which makes a lot of sense.
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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Framing the pitch

    I will start it. The strike zone shouldn't change based on the catchers glove movements, or lack there of. If these numbers are true, and I believe they are darn close to it, it is absolutely ridiculous. We need a better way to call balls and strikes is 82 runs a season between the best/worst over 162 games. 82 runs is somewhere from 6-10 wins based on something that by definition, NEVER CHANGES. It is ridiculous.

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    Member MikeThierry's Avatar
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    Re: Framing the pitch

    Quote Originally Posted by dougdirt View Post
    I will start it. The strike zone shouldn't change based on the catchers glove movements, or lack there of. If these numbers are true, and I believe they are darn close to it, it is absolutely ridiculous. We need a better way to call balls and strikes is 82 runs a season between the best/worst over 162 games. 82 runs is somewhere from 6-10 wins based on something that by definition, NEVER CHANGES. It is ridiculous.
    By definition, the strikezone always changes. It's all depended on how tall a batter is. Obviously, the strikezone for a 5'10 player is going to be different from a 6'5 player. Because of this issue, human error is going to happen because sometimes it's difficult to judge what the proper strikezone should be.
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    Vampire Weekend @Bernie's camisadelgolf's Avatar
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    Re: Framing the pitch

    As soon as you take the human element out of the game, there's no reason to watch it anymore.

  12. #11
    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Framing the pitch

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeThierry View Post
    By definition, the strikezone always changes. It's all depended on how tall a batter is. Obviously, the strikezone for a 5'10 player is going to be different from a 6'5 player. Because of this issue, human error is going to happen because sometimes it's difficult to judge what the proper strikezone should be.
    The definition of the strikezone doesn't change. The zone itself does, because of the things you noted, but in no way, shape or form, should there be a 6-10 win difference based on balls and strikes between two catchers. Especially when we have the technology to not allow it to happen.

    If judging the strikezone is difficult, then you shouldn't be calling balls and strikes. The strikezone is clearly defined.

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Framing the pitch

    Quote Originally Posted by camisadelgolf View Post
    As soon as you take the human element out of the game, there's no reason to watch it anymore.
    As long as humans are still playing the game, there is plenty of reason to watch. I would rather get the call right than not, simply because it has always been this way.

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    Moderator RedlegJake's Avatar
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    Re: Framing the pitch

    doug the human element of a catchers skill in framing a pitch and an umpires human reaction in response to that framing is part of the game and art of baseball. I don't want automaton ball where everything is computerized down to the last spot - its darn close to that now anyway. Instead of whining about how unfair it is that Molina or Hanigan or Martin give their team an unfair advantage how about getting rid of catchers with lousy skills behind the dish? ITS A SKILL - no different from any other baseball skill.

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    The Boss dougdirt's Avatar
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    Re: Framing the pitch

    Quote Originally Posted by RedlegJake View Post
    doug the human element of a catchers skill in framing a pitch and an umpires human reaction in response to that framing is part of the game and art of baseball. I don't want automaton ball where everything is computerized down to the last spot - its darn close to that now anyway. Instead of whining about how unfair it is that Molina or Hanigan or Martin give their team an unfair advantage how about getting rid of catchers with lousy skills behind the dish? ITS A SKILL - no different from any other baseball skill.
    Except that it IS different than other baseball skills. Judgment doesn't allow for any other player to be "better" than someone else by insane amounts. A hit is a hit because its a hit by rule. A home run is a home run because of the definition of a home run, by rule. An assist/put out is that by definition, by rule. Other "skills" in baseball are not changed/altered by the rules of the game. Framing pitches is. The strikezone is clearly defined. Yet that definition clearly isn't being followed. It is allowing players to have added value based on incorrect calls that we can correct if we so chose.

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    Re: Framing the pitch

    Anyone else having a problem accessing the ORG? I can get to the thread off of the main page listing all the forums, but I cannot get to the main ORG page showing all the ORG threads. Not sure why. And I'm having something pop up at the top saying it blocked the page because of threats. But I clicked on it and told it to let me see the page anyway, and it still sent me to a message saying I couldn't access it.

    Anyone have a clue why?
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