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The Next Frontier in Defensive Stats - Framing the Pitch

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Joined: 15 Apr 2005
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2012 1:31 pm    Post subject: The Next Frontier in Defensive Stats - Framing the Pitch Reply with quote


It's pretty amazing all of the work that has been done, and I don't want to take away from the authors who figured all of this out. However, the results merit their own discussion:

Let's take a look at some notable bump-ups from 2011 first.

1. Russell Martin, NYY
Martin was worth an extra 15 runs to the Yankees based on called strikes. Suddenly, his 3.0 WAR campaign last season is a 4.5 one, taking him from the "nice rebound year" category to about half a win away from the best C in baseball (prior to adjusting number 2, below).

2. Alex Avila, DET
Avila was worth 16 runs via the frame. Combined with an OBP of nearly .390 and a slugging percentage over .500, that's flat ridiculous. This puts Avila at about 6.5 WAR on the year, which places him in the company of Joey Votto, Adrian Gonzalez, Justin Upton, etc.

3. Jonathan Lucroy, MIL
Lucroy had a breakout year offensively this year, but was actually worth nearly 3.5 wins the year prior based on 1.7 wins from framing and 1.7 wins from everything else. Suddenly, his 5 year, $12 M contract becomes one of the more team friendly deals in baseball if you assume that he is worth an additional 2 wins a year framing the ball.

I won't go into the guys who get downgraded, partially because many of them aren't full time catchers any more. In fact, it seems like teams are taking this into account more than you would suspect, whether they know the math behind it or not.

Guys like Rod Bajaras, Jason Varitek, and Ryan Doumit aren't getting meaningful playing time behind the dish. Guys like John Buck aren't looked at by other teams as a catcher any more. And the catchers who can get away with it - Jorge Posada, Mike Napoli, and Carlos Ruiz, are each outstanding hitters.

No real conclusion to this post, but it is definitely noteworthy how much framing pitches impacts the game, how that adds up over a season, and how teams have already started adjusting their rosters based on this knowledge.

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