Monday, December 26, 2016

A thought on pitch framing

Jeff Sullivan, Hardball Times, on pitch framing:

Every team now wants good-receiving catchers. Every team, additionally, wants to develop more good-receiving catchers. The market is going to end up flooded with good-receiving catchers. By then we’ll no longer recognize them as good-receiving catchers. Pitch-framing is sufficiently important that baseball teams will prioritize it right into insignificance.

Sullivan's essential point: Now that it is possible to quantify pitch framing -- now that we can measure it -- and now that every front office takes analytics seriously, there will be less of a gap between the best and the worst.

The Twins are late to this party, but they are trying to make up for lost time. Sullivan's piece uses Ryan Doumit as its example of a terrible pitch-framer; the Twins embraced Doumit as a catcher for 2-plus seasons. Sullivan also includes a chart of the ten best and ten worst pitch framers of 2016. Jason Castro, the Twins new No. 1 catcher, is on the nice list, and Juan Centero, departed backup, is on the naughty list.

This conversion is part of what Sullivan is talking about. The Twins organization wasn't necessarily opposed to good-receiving catchers, but it wasn't a priority. Now they have prioritized that skill, and one more of the 30 organizations has jumped on the bandwagon.


  1. Twins held unto Butera for a long time, long beyond the fans tolerance his lack of offensive production.

    So, historically the Twins did value defensive skills of catchers.

    Perhaps with a glut of "no hit" playersI to have two DH's and a free substitution rule. ☺

  2. I know pitch framing is considered important and I agree. What I can't understand is why it's needed. What's wrong with the umpires that they can't make an accurate call. They should be looking at where the ball crosses the plate, not where the catcher's mit ens up.