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Thread: Doumit ranks as worst pitch framer for 2nd straight week

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    Senior Member All-Star Willihammer's Avatar
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    Doumit ranks as worst pitch framer for 2nd straight week

    Doumit records the worst OOZ strike calls -to- Inzone ball calls ratio for second straight week, as measured by baseballprospectus. Luckily he's not catching frequently enough to crack into the Runs leaderboard. Also a test you can do to see if you are good at identifying good frame jobs.

    Baseball Prospectus | Overthinking It: This Week in Catcher Framing, 4/26
    Baseball Prospectus | Overthinking It: This Week in Catcher Framing, 5/1

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    Senior Member All-Star IdahoPilgrim's Avatar
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    I know pitch framing is now "part of the game" and everybody is doing it, but I guess it still rubs me the wrong way a little. Basically, we're seeing who can best trick the umpire into making an incorrect call - who can cheat most effectively?

    In other parts of the game there are people advocating using technology to take the human element, i.e. mistakes, out of umpiring. Maybe we need to talk about that here, and develop a system that can call balls and strikes correctly without relying on human judgment.

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    Speediest Moderator All-Star snepp's Avatar
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    The framing is as much about not "losing" strikes as it as gaining them. From the limited stuff I've read all of the extra glove moment and head bobbing that the "poor" framers do can cause them to lose strikes that a typical catcher would expect to get. It's not just about "tricking/cheating" the umpire.
    "Maybe you could go grab a bat and ballÖ and learn something. Maybe you will get it."
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    Super Moderator MVP USAFChief's Avatar
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    "Pitch framing" is pretty much just another overblown sabremetric sidetrack down a deadend sidestreet. It'll be all the rage for a season or two, then cooler heads and common sense will prevail, folks will realize it's much ado about nothing, and it'll be relegated to the dustbin of history.

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    Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
    "Pitch framing" is pretty much just another overblown sabremetric sidetrack down a deadend sidestreet. It'll be all the rage for a season or two, then cooler heads and common sense will prevail, folks will realize it's much ado about nothing, and it'll be relegated to the dustbin of history.
    Interesting....I thought common sense would tell us that umpires are humans that make mistakes. As a catcher if you can limit the number of strikes that are called balls and maximize the number of balls that are called strikes then common sense would tell me that you are a good catcher (obviously there are other variables here too).

    But I guess that is why we have the old addage:

    Common sense isn't very common.

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    Isn't pitch framing more like a counting stat than a measure? The data simply counts the number of pitches and tallies one of four things (in zone/called strike, in zone/called ball, out of zone/called strike, out of zone/called ball).

    Since it is a counting stat, I don't think it will go away.

    I don't think there is any argument that catchers vary in their ability to get called strikes and that the counts show Doumit is consistently at the bottom of the list.

    There will be great debate on how much it matters.

    This is where the sabrmetric folk jump in and create a metric to measure the impact of getting an extra called strike or missing a strike in the strike zone. These measures will try to turn those events into runs saved or lost. Any new metric deserves great scrutiny. Many of these metrics will end up in the dustbin.

    Minimally, I hope the Twins are aware of two things.

    - Framing the strike zone is a catching skill.
    - Doumit is not very good at it.

    How much does it matter? I don't think anyone knows.

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    I think pitch framing is a misnomer. Where the ball is caught often doesn't really indicate very accurately whether a pitch was a ball or strike. I suspect that how a catcher moves, whether he blocks the umpire's vision, and probably a few other factors can effect an umpire's call more than where and how the pitch is caught. Sometimes when a pitch appears to catch the plate for a strike but the catcher has to move a long way to catch it(ex. fastball on inside corner, catcher sitting outside) the umpire appears to miss those calls. I am not sure how you put that sort of thing on the catcher. Clearly some batters seem to get more of the close calls than other batters. I don't know how you blame the catcher for that. Mauer and Doumit seem to be in some sort of rotation that have them catching the same pitchers most of the time. Are you sure that Mauer just isn't catching the ones with better control, who are perhaps getting the benefit of the doubt on close pitchers from the umpires?

    I am inclined to agree with Chief here. It looks to me that sabre stat people are trying to measure something that probably isn't really very measurable. Even if it is, I am not sure the tools are there to measure it accurately. It is also very possible they are looking are certain results and assigning the wrong cause to it. More than likely, there are multiple causes since we are dealing with people here.

    There is actually nothing wrong with the sabre people studying pitch framing, I just think it is pretty premature to call certain catchers "bad" catchers based on these studies.

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    Is it real? If so, shouldn't teams try to measure it? Some people, who spend a lot of times on computers, just seem to have something against increasing knowledge and using science and math. It is truly bizarre to me.
    Lighten up Francis....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim H View Post
    I think pitch framing is a misnomer. Where the ball is caught often doesn't really indicate very accurately whether a pitch was a ball or strike. I suspect that how a catcher moves, whether he blocks the umpire's vision, and probably a few other factors can effect an umpire's call more than where and how the pitch is caught. Sometimes when a pitch appears to catch the plate for a strike but the catcher has to move a long way to catch it(ex. fastball on inside corner, catcher sitting outside) the umpire appears to miss those calls. I am not sure how you put that sort of thing on the catcher. Clearly some batters seem to get more of the close calls than other batters. I don't know how you blame the catcher for that. Mauer and Doumit seem to be in some sort of rotation that have them catching the same pitchers most of the time. Are you sure that Mauer just isn't catching the ones with better control, who are perhaps getting the benefit of the doubt on close pitchers from the umpires?

    I am inclined to agree with Chief here. It looks to me that sabre stat people are trying to measure something that probably isn't really very measurable. Even if it is, I am not sure the tools are there to measure it accurately. It is also very possible they are looking are certain results and assigning the wrong cause to it. More than likely, there are multiple causes since we are dealing with people here.

    There is actually nothing wrong with the sabre people studying pitch framing, I just think it is pretty premature to call certain catchers "bad" catchers based on these studies.
    There are several years of data from the pitch/fx system. Mike Fast, hired last summer by the Astros, published the first study looking at a period of 5 years of data following the 2011 season. Looking season to season, the data correlates for catchers well. The same catchers in spite of changing teams or leagues continue to do very well or very poorly.

    I think it is accurate to state that while Doumit has been catching since 2007, the ratio of called strikes from pitches thrown in the zone is lower than any other catcher in baseball. This data correlates well from one season to the next. It is easy to project which catchers will do well or poorly based on the previous year's performance.

    Does it make Doumit a bad catcher? That is for teams to decide. At least one team doesn't think it matters.

    I would think it matters less if you have a staff of pitchers that miss bats and get swinging strikes. When you don't miss bats, you count on getting called strikes.

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    Super Moderator MVP USAFChief's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
    Is it real? If so, shouldn't teams try to measure it? Some people, who spend a lot of times on computers, just seem to have something against increasing knowledge and using science and math. It is truly bizarre to me.
    If you're referring to me, Mike, I have nothing against "increasing knowledge and using science and math." In fact, I'm much in favor of it. I'm not of the opinion this is "science and math." At least not yet. Putting a number to something doesn't necessarily make it math, or at least not "good" math.

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    Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
    If you're referring to me, Mike, I have nothing against "increasing knowledge and using science and math." In fact, I'm much in favor of it. I'm not of the opinion this is "science and math." At least not yet. Putting a number to something doesn't necessarily make it math, or at least not "good" math.
    Not every stat is a necessarily good or useful stat. If there are too many variables and too much variance within the variables your output isn't going to be worth a darn. Also there seems to me to be a randomness to whether a certain ump on a certain day will call a pitch a ball or a strike. I don't think you can take a bunch of random occurrences and try to formulate a scientific opinion out of the data.
    For example, If a certain pitch is an inch off the black, umpire A might call it a strike 60% of the time, and umpire B might call it 40% of the time. How can you make a definitive argument that the catcher had anything to do with the umpire's decision? It seems to me this stat is trying to chase a conclusion without recognizing the limitations in the data.

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    Also, there is great value in trying to measure things, and even in being wrong. Being wrong teaches us a lot more definitive things than being right does.
    Lighten up Francis....

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    Senior Member Big-Leaguer crarko's Avatar
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    So how's Butera's broken pinkie mending?

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    Super Moderator MVP ashburyjohn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by USAFChief View Post
    it'll be relegated to the dustbin of history.
    I would not have taken you for a Trotskyite.

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    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    The guy catches one game a week. How can he be judged in a skill that requires thousands of pitches to be meaningful when he only catches 140 or so?
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

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    Senior Member All-Star cmathewson's Avatar
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    Eduardo Escobar went 0-1 this week. His triple slash is 000/000/000. By the numbers, he's the worst hitter int he majors for the week. That's the level of insanity with using framing as a way of evaluating a back-up catcher.
    "If you'da been thinkin' you wouldn't 'a thought that.."

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    Senior Member All-Star YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    Eduardo Escobar went 0-1 this week. His triple slash is 000/000/000. By the numbers, he's the worst hitter int he majors for the week. That's the level of insanity with using framing as a way of evaluating a back-up catcher.
    I'm sure you could find someone that went 0-2.

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    Senior Member All-Star YourHouseIsMyHouse's Avatar
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    Pitch framing is just part of the defensive game as I see it. Doumit is an awful defender and framer. If he's not producing with the bat (he's not), he's hurting the team. It makes him a bad option at catcher because of the defense. The limited offense he's given so far hurts even more when he's the DH. It's been only a month, but I'm frustrated with how's he's done and the extension is starting to look bad. Let's see if he can dig himself out of the hole he's dug himself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cmathewson View Post
    The guy catches one game a week. How can he be judged in a skill that requires thousands of pitches to be meaningful when he only catches 140 or so?
    The data goes back to 2007. He was at the bottom of rankings when the Twins signed him. That status hasn't changed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jorgenswest View Post
    The data goes back to 2007. He was at the bottom of rankings when the Twins signed him. That status hasn't changed.
    But, they are giving updates by the week! That's crazy. I thought UZR was stupid because you need 3 years of data to formulate an opinion. Then people still extrapolate ridiculously small sample sizes out if it. This is orders of magnitude worse. I heard a good line from a statistician that seems appropriate here: if you want, you can torture the data until it tells you what you want it to say.

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