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Willihammer
09-20-2013, 09:59 AM
The bottom five:
John Hester (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=52534), 30, Angels: 32.9 (5623)
Josmil Pinto (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=51667), 24, Twins: 21.8 (5607)
Rafael Lopez (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/player_search.php?search_name=Rafael+Lopez), 25, Cubs: 20.2 (6894)
Tomas Telis (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=59818), 22, Rangers: 17.5 (6070)
Jake Lowery (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=69850), 23, Indians: 15.5 (4814)


Hester was over 10 runs worse as a receiver than anyone else in the upper minors. He also hit .237/.307/.391 as a 30-year-old in the PCL. Somehow, that performance earned him a spot on the Angelsí September active roster. Pinto was promoted to Minnesota this month after a big offensive year (.309/.400/.482) in the minors, and thus far heís continued to hit. But if heís as bad behind the plate as Maxís estimate suggests, then Twins fans still wonít get to see a solid receiver while Doumit recuperates from a concussion.



I've noted before how, after putting down a sign, Pinto waits till the last, possible, moment before settling into position, sometimes bobbing back and forth when there's a runner on base. I wonder if its all that movement that's costing him strikes.

Baseball Prospectus | Overthinking It: This Week in Catcher Framing, 9/20 (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21855)

nicksaviking
09-20-2013, 10:17 AM
I've noted before how, after putting down a sign, Pinto waits till the last, possible, moment before settling into position, sometimes bobbing back and forth when there's a runner on base. I wonder if its all that movement that's costing him strikes.

Baseball Prospectus | Overthinking It: This Week in Catcher Framing, 9/20 (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21855)

I think Pinto is a below average defensive catcher but I'm not sure I totally buy into the pitch framing metrics. It just doesn't take into account the human factor in regards to the man standing behind the catcher. For instance, doesn't an umpire already have a preconcieved notion that Trevor May has a hard time finding the strike zone long before the pitch even reaches the catchers glove?

Willihammer
09-20-2013, 10:27 AM
I think Pinto is a below average defensive catcher but I'm not sure I totally buy into the pitch framing metrics. It just doesn't take into account the human factor in regards to the man standing behind the catcher. For instance, doesn't an umpire already have a preconcieved notion that Trevor May has a hard time finding the strike zone long before the pitch even reaches the catchers glove?

The Rock Cats had the 3rd best walk rate in the Eastern League. The Red Wings held the best in the IL. So I doubt the low framing score is due to the team staffs being especially wild.

Larsbars08
09-20-2013, 10:39 AM
I've found the pitch f/x info for AA/AAA to be highly dubious. Have you watched the MiLB gameday, with the pitch by pitch results? I can never tell what is called strike or ball based on where it shows up on the screen. I'm not saying Pinto is particularly good. I think we've all been hearing that Pinto's main weakness is defense, and I'm sure pitch framing plays into that. I do question how accurate the info is in the article. It's probably not good, and I'm sure the September numbers for the Twins will be down on Pinto, hopefully it won't be Doumit bad.

diehardtwinsfan
09-20-2013, 10:55 AM
I think Pinto is a below average defensive catcher but I'm not sure I totally buy into the pitch framing metrics. It just doesn't take into account the human factor in regards to the man standing behind the catcher. For instance, doesn't an umpire already have a preconcieved notion that Trevor May has a hard time finding the strike zone long before the pitch even reaches the catchers glove?

I think I need more data in general before buying into those. I think you have something if you can look season by season for a catcher and see either the same results or mild fluctuation, but I would want to see years worth of data before you can call this a good metric.

Willihammer
09-20-2013, 10:55 AM
I've found the pitch f/x info for AA/AAA to be highly dubious. Have you watched the MiLB gameday, with the pitch by pitch results? I can never tell what is called strike or ball based on where it shows up on the screen.

The Gameday display may be off, but the data itself is accurate to within a half-inch (provided the whole system is calibrated correctly).


Early in the life of the PITCHf/x project, the Sportvision engineers sought to establish the accuracy of the system’s plate location data. They devised a clever experiment wherein a pitching machine launched baseballs against a foam board mounted vertically at home plate. The plate locations measured by PITCHf/x were checked against the indentations of the ball on the foam board, and Sportvision found that the accuracy of their system was within a half inch in this experiment. In an investigation of the statistical uncertainty of a number of PITCHf/x-derived parameters, such as speed and location, based upon a much larger sample of data from the PITCHf/x system installed in Toronto, Alan Nathan came to a similar conclusion (http://webusers.npl.uiuc.edu/%7Ea-nathan/pob/MCAnalysis.pdf) about the uncertainty in the plate location.

Baseball Prospectus | Spinning Yarn: How Accurate is PitchTrax? (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=13109)

Larsbars08
09-20-2013, 11:03 AM
I've never doubted the MLB numbers, just that the MiLB iteration doesn't seem to be as accurate. Pitches that end up in the dirt, often show up just below the displayed strike zone, pitches that appear to be just above the knees are called consistently balls. Maybe MiLB parks calibrate it poorly, maybe they don't have the latest versions of it. But it's no where near as detailed or consistent as the MLB version.

Willihammer
09-20-2013, 11:38 AM
I've never doubted the MLB numbers, just that the MiLB iteration doesn't seem to be as accurate. Pitches that end up in the dirt, often show up just below the displayed strike zone, pitches that appear to be just above the knees are called consistently balls. Maybe MiLB parks calibrate it poorly, maybe they don't have the latest versions of it. But it's no where near as detailed or consistent as the MLB version.

I assume its the same Sportsvision system in both leagues. Its certainly possible some parks' systems are out of calibration.

I did quickly look up some gameday at bats in the two leagues, because I almost never look at Gameday's displays. At first glance, it looks liek there are differences in the MLB and MiLB versions. For example, compare these two intentional walks.

Miguel Sano, from March 2013, top of the ninth. All 4 pitches appear to be just off the strikezone.

New Britain vs. Trenton - August 26, 2013 | MiLB.com Gameday | The Official Site of Minor League Baseball (http://www.milb.com/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_08_26_nbraax_treaax_1)

Compare to this Miguel Cabrera intentional walk from Tuesday (bottom of the 7th):

http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/gameday/index.jsp?gid=2013_09_17_seamlb_detmlb_1&mode=gameday#gid=2013_09_17_seamlb_detmlb_1&mode=classic

Appears to be much more accurate.

Larsbars08
09-20-2013, 11:43 AM
It's entirely possible that it's the MiLB gameday that is screwed up, not the data itself. It will be interesting to see what the September numbers for pitch framing will be for Pinto.

IdahoPilgrim
09-20-2013, 11:57 AM
I've noted before how, after putting down a sign, Pinto waits till the last, possible, moment before settling into position, sometimes bobbing back and forth when there's a runner on base. I wonder if its all that movement that's costing him strikes.

Baseball Prospectus | Overthinking It: This Week in Catcher Framing, 9/20 (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=21855)

That is a matter of perspective. For my view, it is the umpire who is costing him strikes. He's the one making incorrect calls.

righty8383
09-20-2013, 11:58 AM
If pitch framing actually has any effect on called strikes, that's more evidence that robots should be calling balls and strikes. Its that time...

Siehbiscuit
09-20-2013, 12:00 PM
All I know is that if the team wants to move Mauer to 1B to make room for a poor backstop, I am not a fan of the move. Catchers that make their pitchers better is very undervalued by our organization. Mauer has a good arm, but how well does he actually handle the staff? Doumit, Hermann and now Pinto are on the roster due to their bats, not their defense.

Unless Pinto is guaranteed to hit like Piazza, McCann or another Mauer, I want a catcher that's first skill is his actual defensive ability and followed closely by his ability to work with the pitchers. Hitting is a luxury. The Twins have to help this pitching staff every way possible. Hopefully, the defensive minded cathcer we took in the 3rd round can move quickly or Steinbach can really develop Pinto!

Willihammer
09-20-2013, 12:37 PM
That is a matter of perspective. For my view, it is the umpire who is costing him strikes. He's the one making incorrect calls.

Its not one umpire though. That parenthetical number by Pinto's name is total number of pitches caught - well over 5000. So we are talking about many umpires.

If your answer is to swap out the whole system for robots, fine, but that's a separate issue. As long as humans are back there, their perceptions are going to be affected by catcher positioning and movement (among other things).

jorgenswest
09-20-2013, 05:18 PM
I would think he is young enough to improve.

He won't improve until this skill is valued and understood by the organization. Knowledgeable coaches, video study and hard work can turn this around.

Marta Shearing
09-20-2013, 05:43 PM
Pitch framing metrics.....what will they come up with next? Ridiculous.

jorgenswest
09-20-2013, 07:39 PM
Pitch framing metrics.....what will they come up with next? Ridiculous.

I think the Twins management agrees with you.

Jim H
09-20-2013, 08:03 PM
The idea that Pitch f/x is correct to within a half inch is wrong on the face of it. The plate has depth, 16 inches of it, and a pitch thrown by a major league pitcher has movement, vertical and often horizonal. No matter how Pitch f/x is calibrated, front-center-back of the plate, it is not only possible but quite likely, that on close pitches, a pitch will catch part of the strike zone but miss the part that Pitch f/x is monitoring.


For example, using our favorite pitcher Correia as an example, 2 of the pitches he throws are a sinker and a cutter which runs away from a left handed hitter. For Correia to successful really, he needs the umpire to call his sinker a strike, even if it only a strike at the front edge of the plate. In fact if the sinker is a strike at the back edge of the plate or even worse, strike height where the catcher catches it, Correia will likely be in trouble. That will mean that pitch will likely have been at least mid thigh or higher in the hitting zone(which is actually in front of the plate for most hitters, especially pull hitters). For a sinkerball pitcher having a sinker that high or higher in the hitting zone usually means that ball will be hit hard if it is in or near the middle of the plate. Correia has to hope that the umpire will call the plate because if he is forced to bring the ball up to get a called strike he will get hit harder than he would otherwise.

When Correia throws his cut fastball to left handed hitters, again he wants the umpire to call the front edge of the plate. Ideally he wants to hit front corner of the plate away from the hitter letting it run outside the strike zone further back. If he has to throw that pitch so that the catcher can frame it or have it be a strike in the middle of the plate where Pitch f/x is likely set up, well that pitch will be close to the middle of the plate in the hitting zone. He could also try throwing that pitch inside but then he wants to hit the back corner of the plate nearest the hitter. Here framing might do him some good if the umpire actually pays attention to such things.

A Pitcher has to have good control to take advantage of the depth of the plate. But when Bert talks about a pitcher trying to bounce his curve right behind the plate, what he means is that pitch can be a strike or close to a strike at the front edge of the plate. If it is close the hitter may have to chase that pitch in a pitcher's count. If the pitcher starts that pitch too high it can be right in the hitter's hitting zone in front of the plate, even though if he takes that pitch it might appear plenty low based on where the catcher catches it.

Often when pitchers are the commentators on broadcasts they will often disagree with Fox-tracks or whatever they call the the version of pitch f/x that broadcasts use. The main reason for that, is pitch f/x has no way to measure the depth of the strike zone. Pitchers understand using the depth of zone, even if they don't explain it very well.(I don't know if I have either)

By the way, the depth of the plate effects high pitches as well. On high pitches, the pitcher wants to be above the hitting zone at the front of the plate, but hopefully catch the back of the plate in the strike zone, if you are trying for a called strike. Sometimes guys without great velocity can get that effect because their ball will drop a bit more than guys who throw in the high 90's.

IdahoPilgrim
09-20-2013, 08:04 PM
Its not one umpire though. That parenthetical number by Pinto's name is total number of pitches caught - well over 5000. So we are talking about many umpires.

If your answer is to swap out the whole system for robots, fine, but that's a separate issue. As long as humans are back there, their perceptions are going to be affected by catcher positioning and movement (among other things).

Actually, I see it as the same issue. If pitch framing is indeed affecting the outcome of a game, positively or negatively, then that's part of why utilizing technology to assist the umpires to make the correct calls is becoming necessary. A strike should be a strike and a ball should be a ball regardless of a catcher's skill (or lack of skill) in influencing a call.

Willihammer
09-20-2013, 08:37 PM
@ JimH. See the discussion above about Gameday's display. Same rule applies to Foxtrax or any other graphical display of pitchf/x data. The data itself is accurate, its the 2d presentations that are limited.

Willihammer
09-20-2013, 08:52 PM
All I know is that if the team wants to move Mauer to 1B to make room for a poor backstop, I am not a fan of the move. Catchers that make their pitchers better is very undervalued by our organization. Mauer has a good arm, but how well does he actually handle the staff? Doumit, Hermann and now Pinto are on the roster due to their bats, not their defense.

Unless Pinto is guaranteed to hit like Piazza, McCann or another Mauer, I want a catcher that's first skill is his actual defensive ability and followed closely by his ability to work with the pitchers. Hitting is a luxury. The Twins have to help this pitching staff every way possible. Hopefully, the defensive minded cathcer we took in the 3rd round can move quickly or Steinbach can really develop Pinto!

Little known factoid that may or may not mean anything - in 2012, the Twins had a winning record in games caught by Drew Butera. He also had the lowest catcher ERA.

I don't know if Butera is a particularly good framer overall but I think its possible he was better at framing the low strikes, esp. compared to Mauer, which would seem to be pretty important to a staff like ours.

jorgenswest
09-20-2013, 09:04 PM
Little known factoid that may or may not mean anything - in 2012, the Twins had a winning record in games caught by Drew Butera. He also had the lowest catcher ERA.

I don't know if Butera is a particularly good framer overall but I think its possible he was better at framing the low strikes, esp. compared to Mauer, which would seem to be pretty important to a staff like ours.

The Dodgers are among a group of teams that highly value defense at catcher and show it with their roster decisions. The Twins are at the opposite end of the spectrum.

Shane Wahl
09-21-2013, 12:27 AM
The Dodgers are among a group of teams that highly value defense at catcher and show it with their roster decisions. The Twins are at the opposite end of the spectrum.

What, by playing Joe Mauer there so much this year? By ending Doumit's time behind the plate?

Drew Butera is the worst offensive player in all of baseball and his defense is not longer "elite" by the way.

h2oface
09-21-2013, 01:16 AM
Pitch framing is the saddest comment there has ever been concerning the continued state of humans calling balls and strikes in baseball now that the tech is there to make it right. It is the best stat there is for making the case to let the machines call a true strike zone. When it becomes a contest to fool the human instead of get the call right, it makes a mockery of the game.......... unless one just keeps ignoring it is happening.

Jim H
09-21-2013, 09:14 AM
@ JimH. See the discussion above about Gameday's display. Same rule applies to Foxtrax or any other graphical display of pitchf/x data. The data itself is accurate, its the 2d presentations that are limited.

According to Gamevision Pitchf/x takes its picture at the front of the plate. Since the plate has depth and the ball can enter the strike zone from the top or the sides, the data supplied by pitchf/x probably is not accurate all the time. Framing does not steal pitches like Pitchf/x data seems to conclude. The pitches are probably being called accurately by the umpire a good share of the time.

I don't doubt that pitchf/x is accurate at the place it takes its picture. What I don't understand is why a lot people don't seem to understand that the picture doesn't accurately protray the strike zone.

jorgenswest
09-21-2013, 09:28 AM
What, by playing Joe Mauer there so much this year? By ending Doumit's time behind the plate?

Drew Butera is the worst offensive player in all of baseball and his defense is not longer "elite" by the way.

I said the Twins are at the opposite end of the spectrum based on roster decisions. Once rostered, Gardenhire doesn't have options.

The Twins made the decision to sign Doumit. They made the decision to extend him. They could have made another choice. Other teams would have made a different decision.

As for Butera, if the Twins had started him at catcher replacing every Doumit start they would have saved more runs than they would have lost due to his bat in those games this year. Both are poor options at catcher, but the Twins didn't give themselves other options.

Butera also has more trade value than Doumit. The Dodgers released Ramon Hernandez who at the time of the release in June (and now) had a significantly better OPS. He is also a very poor pitch framer. It took the Dodgers a few months to see it. There is no way they would have given up a prospect for Doumit.

At the time of the Butera trade I wrote about the cost of Doumit's defense compared the gain from his offense. The light hitting Butera would not need to be elite to have been a better option at catcher. Average defense would have been sufficient.

Revisiting Catching and Defense - Blogs - Minnesota Twins News & Rumors Forum (http://twinsdaily.com/blogs/jorgenswest/4188-revisiting-catching-defense.html)

Either the Twins are blind to the impact of catching on runs given up or they have it right and the Pirates, Yankees, Dodgers, and Rays are blind. The most worrisome part to me is that they are not developing this skill in their minor league catchers either.

USAFChief
09-21-2013, 09:55 AM
Either the Twins are blind to the impact of catching on runs given up or they have it right and the Pirates, Yankees, Dodgers, and Rays are blind.
I don't think those are the only two possibilities.

Mr. Brooks
09-21-2013, 09:58 AM
That is a matter of perspective. For my view, it is the umpire who is costing him strikes. He's the one making incorrect calls.

That doesn't mean that it is not a skill. It is no different than how a good veteran WR knows how to get away with pushing off the defender if he positions himself correctly.
If we are going to insist on the "human element", it will always be a skill to know how to exploit it when you can.

orangevening
09-21-2013, 01:32 PM
Little known factoid that may or may not mean anything - in 2012, the Twins had a winning record in games caught by Drew Butera. He also had the lowest catcher ERA.

I don't know if Butera is a particularly good framer overall but I think its possible he was better at framing the low strikes, esp. compared to Mauer, which would seem to be pretty important to a staff like ours.

What!?! A positive comment of Butera? Can't be...

Alex
09-21-2013, 05:59 PM
Boy, it looks like Pinto does jump around behind and seems to reset a lot after both he and the umpire set the first time, which can't be a good thing.

Watching it has gotten me distracted, but it's also making me wonder if the Twins organization is behind on the pitch framing discussion.

Willihammer
09-21-2013, 07:44 PM
Rhett Bollinger did have this to say on 9/16 (4 days before this BP article was published)


But defensively, he's been more of a work in progress, still working on his receiving skills such as pitch framing -- he often moves with the pitch instead of just moving the glove -- and pitch calling.

But Twins manager Ron Gardenhire has been impressed with his work ethic, as Pinto is in constant communication with bench coach and former big league catcher Terry Steinbach before, during and after games.

"Obviously, he's doing fine," Gardenhire said. "He has things to learn. Steiny is right there with him every step of the way. He talks to him between innings about situations and things. He's anxious to learn and do it right. And that's the good thing about having Terry Steinbach as one of our coaches."



Pinto having success while learning on the job | twinsbaseball.com: News (http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20130916&content_id=60779398&notebook_id=60787398&vkey=notebook_min&c_id=min)