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Catcher framing and Blocking the Ball.
Posted 21 September 2011 - 07:27 PM
The best at saving runs in a season based on runs per 120 games is Jose Molina at 35 followed by Jonathan Lucroy at 24.
Posted 18 October 2011 - 07:25 PM
He went on to combine Fast's data on pitch framing, Fangraph's data on preventing stolen bases and his own data on blocking balls to come up with an adjusted WAR ranking for 2011. The usual warnings about small sample size apply. For those that can turn their lonely eyes away from the gran facenda that is Red Sox baseball these days, Salty ranked 11th out of 36* catchers with at least 500 innings in 2011 and had an adjusted WAR of 3.3. FG had him at 2.5.
*thanks Jon Abbey
Posted 18 October 2011 - 08:39 PM
Looking at the above listing, I'm struck by how much Carlos Santana evidently hurts his team defensively, I had no idea. Now I wonder if he'll stick there long-term.
One thing is that there were actually 36 catchers with 500+ innings caught this year, that table just lists the top 15 in adjusted WAR, so Saltamacchia comes off a lot better than 11th out of 15, actually 11th out of 36. The full list is linked on the original article, and is DLable here:
Varitek is 32nd out of 36 with a -0.5 adjusted WAR (down from 0.5), JP Arencibia is right above him at -0.2, all the way down from 1.5.
Posted 18 October 2011 - 08:54 PM
Posted 18 October 2011 - 09:14 PM
Posted 18 October 2011 - 09:39 PM
I wish he showed the numbers for Salty when he's catching everyone else, just so we could find out exactly how much Wakefield depressed his value. I suppose it's reasonably likely we'll find out next year, and his numbers should improve accordingly.
Posted 18 October 2011 - 09:49 PM
Posted 01 December 2011 - 07:57 AM
Posted 05 December 2011 - 04:58 PM
I'll reiterate a piece of my previous post
Framing pitches, as noted above, mostly consists of minimizing how much movement the umpire senses (not sees, senses, as he crouches in proximity/contact with the catcher's back).
Because the umpire can't perfectly see both corners at the same time without parallax issues, he has to use judgement. If the catcher in front of him sets up and receives the pitch and barely moves his body or his glove, that must mean the pitcher hit the glove, and of course the catcher set up with his glove in the strike zone right? The two pieces of the catcher that the ump will be most aware of are his glove and his head, since the glove is out front and the catcher's head occupies the majority of the umpire's peripheral vision on one side. On a pitch low in the zone, the umpire's view is occluded, but the catcher's head moving in his peripheral vision is almost a billboard yelling "it's low!".
Minimal movement felt or perceived by the umpire is the key, which can sometimes lead to a ball lipping off the edge of the mitt or trickling away. A ball tailing in on a right handed batter, at some point rather than move the glove laterally you should rotate the glove from palm down to palm up to make the catch. But rotating the glove like that looks like a lot more movement and much less likely to get the call, and it's not a decision you have a lot of time to make in real time. Similar situation with pitches that are low and the catcher has to decide how low a pitch he can catch the ball normally rather than flop his mitt over the other way.
And one thing I noticed when I played as a kid that I didn't think would carry through to higher levels of competition but it seems like it does:
When you catch the ball, stop the mitt in place. The BP article references the Art of Catching book about stopping the mitt when you catch the ball, and it's true. Moving the mitt any further than needed to make the catch is asking for it to be called a ball. Catching the ball and moving the mitt back in to the strike zone is asking to get it called a ball and runs the chance of ticking the ump off ("You think I didn't notice that?" How dumb do you think I am?"). I wouldn't think major league catchers would still make both of those errors but they do. The only time moving the mitt back into the zone seems to help is the low pitch, like a curve caught clean right above the dirt, you can sometimes snatch it.
Hell I still see pros pound the mitt behind the inside corner so the batter can hear it and set up outside, that didn't even work in junior high ball.
There's also an exact length of time to hold the mitt still after the catch. Too short and it's like rolling through a stop sign. Too long and you're trying too hard to convince the ump it was a strike. Catch it firmly, pause a moment, throw the ball back.
Another factor that just occurred to me regarding quiet catchers who don't move much. A catcher who isn't moving around as much the umpire can get in much closer and be more confident in not interfering with him. Wasn't uncommon back then for the ump to be in contact with the back of my shoulder, similar may pertain in the majors.
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