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Park: Twins Emphasizing Catcher Defense, Framing

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#1 Seth Stohs

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Posted 21 February 2019 - 09:59 PM

https://www.mlb.com/...catcher-framing

 

Do-Hyoung Park wrote an article tonight on the role that Tanner Swanson, the Twins minor league catching coordinator, is having in big league camp. The Twins are putting a large emphasis on pitching framing and receiving. 

 

 

"I think the industry has understood for a long time the value of receiving and pitch framing relative to other things that catchers have to do," Swanson said. "I don't know if the industry has been that in tune to how you can optimize these things."

 

There are quotes from Jason Castro and Ben Rortvedt on the value that they have found, not only from emphasizing the value, but from having data to validate or verify where they are. 


#2 Nine of twelve

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 08:19 AM

 

https://www.mlb.com/...catcher-framing

 

Do-Hyoung Park wrote an article tonight on the role that Tanner Swanson, the Twins minor league catching coordinator, is having in big league camp. The Twins are putting a large emphasis on pitching framing and receiving. 

 

 

There are quotes from Jason Castro and Ben Rortvedt on the value that they have found, not only from emphasizing the value, but from having data to validate or verify where they are. 

The day can't come soon enough that framing becomes unnecessary. The essence of framing is to try to create optical illusions that make the umpire call strikes on pitches that are outside the zone. Automated pitch calling systems are already outperforming major league umpires and this needs to be implemented as soon as it is feasible.

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#3 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 08:38 AM

 

The day can't come soon enough that framing becomes unnecessary. The essence of framing is to try to create optical illusions that make the umpire call strikes on pitches that are outside the zone. Automated pitch calling systems are already outperforming major league umpires and this needs to be implemented as soon as it is feasible.

It's not just optical illusions... strikes get called as balls due to bad framing too..

 

I'm in favor of automated systems though. Baseball really needs that. 

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#4 luckylager

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 08:39 AM

 

The day can't come soon enough that framing becomes unnecessary. The essence of framing is to try to create optical illusions that make the umpire call strikes on pitches that are outside the zone. Automated pitch calling systems are already outperforming major league umpires and this needs to be implemented as soon as it is feasible.

 

And the day that happens will be the day I cease to be a fan. As the human element is stripped away,the soul of the game is lost. I don't want to watch a video game. 

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#5 ewen21

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 08:53 AM

FanGraphs money, fantasy leagues, automated strike zones....

There exists a certain coterie of sophists who want to over-intellectualize baseball. Make it perfect. It's like musical groups using all sorts of aids to perform live.

As far as pitch framing goes I say LA-Dee-freakin-DAH! Whatever. Word gets out a guy is a good pitch framer and he will get squeezed eventually. It's a silly metric
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#6 bighat

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 09:03 AM

 

And the day that happens will be the day I cease to be a fan. As the human element is stripped away,the soul of the game is lost. I don't want to watch a video game. 

 

What did you think about instant replay when it arrived, and how have your views on instant replay changed over the years? I'm not for an automated strike zone (seems very odd not to have an umpire back there), and I think having umpires on the field helps to pace the game and keep everyone in the flow. But I do kinda like instant replay in some regards.

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#7 Doomtints

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 09:10 AM

Pitch framing has made the umpires better. There was a distinct advantage after the technique was first measured for those who could do it well, but I'm not sure what the advantage is now that umpires have adjusted.

 

In any case, I don't see championship rings coming just from pitch framing alone. Yes it should be taught and discussed -- never ignore a potential advantage -- but there are other important skills too.

Edited by Doomtints, 22 February 2019 - 09:10 AM.

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#8 Jim Hahn

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 09:17 AM

I like the thought of having a catching coordinator. Having all the catchers and their coaches on the same page makes sense. Teaching the catchers to properly receive the ball so that the ump gets a good look at borderline pitches(mostly what pitch framing is) also makes sense. There are tradeoffs however. Most good framers often have difficulty in blocking pitches. Also the best framing in the world doesn't help if your pitcher doesn't have decent command. If the pitch isn't pretty darn close to where it's supposed to be, framing doesn't matter at all.

My thoughts on electronic pitch calling really need a separate post. But, even if the technology is there, we really need a better agreement on exactly where the strike zone should be for each hitter, not some one size fits all, no matter how short or tall you are.
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#9 RatherBeGolfing

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 09:20 AM

Twins emphasizing catcher defense... *goes and puts Mitch Garver in there every other day*

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#10 Doomtints

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 09:30 AM

 

Twins emphasizing catcher defense... *goes and puts Mitch Garver in there every other day*

 

Unfortunately, pitch framing is not catcher defense. Castro has more than his share of passed balls and wild pitches against, in fact him and Garver are not dissimilar in this regard.

 

It doesn't matter if you are a pitch framing wizard if pitches are going to the backstop because you more focused on your glove finesse than playing defense.

Edited by Doomtints, 22 February 2019 - 10:18 AM.

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#11 RatherBeGolfing

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 10:17 AM

 

Unfortunately, pitch framing is not catcher defense. Castro has more than his share of passed balls and wild pitches against, in fact him and Garver are not dissimilar in this regard.

 

It doesn't matter if you are a pitch framing wizard if pitches are going to the backstop.

 

Oh I agree, Castro isn't great defensively either at this stage in his career but Garver is a total butcher back there.

 

I think the overall point is we "emphasize catcher defense" and put those two out there, Garver being even more of the liability.

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#12 Doomtints

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 10:20 AM

I agree. I was a big fan of Garver for his hitting potential, but he really needs to defend better.

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#13 nicksaviking

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 10:45 AM

From my recollection, Garver seemed to improve quite a bit in the second half of the season.

 

Though maybe I was wrong. Or maybe no one noticed because the Twins weren't giving anyone a reason to watch their games anymore.

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#14 ahart10

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 10:53 AM

I equate pitch framing to flopping in other sports. Both are actions made with the intent to get a call made in your favor. Anything that can be done to minimize the effect of framing(flopping) should be done. Having goofy strike zones every night is just that, goofy. Turn on KZone and give the ump an ear piece to make strikes and balls. Let him make check swing, foul ball, or plays at the plate live with his own judgement.
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#15 luckylager

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 11:40 AM

 

What did you think about instant replay when it arrived, and how have your views on instant replay changed over the years? I'm not for an automated strike zone (seems very odd not to have an umpire back there), and I think having umpires on the field helps to pace the game and keep everyone in the flow. But I do kinda like instant replay in some regards.

I dislike instant replay. The whole process is tedious and distracting. Blown calls are just part of the game and can be great topic of conversation afterwards (often years afterwards).Baseball is like life - sometimes you catch a break, sometimes you don't. Things usually even out in the end. 

 

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#16 drivlikejehu

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 12:38 PM

A pitch should be called a strike when it meets the criteria laid out in the rulebook. Whether or not an umpire makes a good decision has no bearing on whether the pitch met the criteria.

 

I'm not interested in watching baseball to see how close umpires can come to enforcing the rules. If the rules can be enforced more efficiently, that improves the game, period. Baseball is about baseball players, not umpires. Celebrating missed calls is like celebrating naked fans running onto the field as a great "human element" to the game.

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#17 Nine of twelve

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 12:46 PM

 

 Baseball is like life - sometimes you catch a break, sometimes you don't. Things usually even out in the end. 

So let's just eliminate drunk driving laws. If someone gets killed by a drunk driver that's just a bad break. I guess it evens out in the end because they would have died eventually anyway.

An extreme analogy, to be sure. But the point I'm making is if there's a way to have players see the reward for making the proper play let's do it. A pitcher should be rewarded for throwing a strike and a batter should be rewarded for taking a ball. It shouldn't be tainted by bad judgement on the part of the human being charged with making the decision.

Edited by Nine of twelve, 22 February 2019 - 12:48 PM.


#18 lwarring

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 12:47 PM

I have always assumed a catcher's ability to call a game (pitch selection) has got to me their most valuable asset. What pitches are thrown and where they are thrown seems to be a huge factor in pitcher success and unless a pitcher is shaking off a catcher often, the catcher is the one deciding how best to deceive the hitter. Unless a pitcher has a very simple (therefore predictable) pitch pattern it would depend almost entirely on a catcher to determine pitch choice. A catcher that knows the right pitch sequence and placement would automatically make your pitching staff better and one that doesn't or is too predictable in their choices can only make hitting easier for the opposition.

As a batter, a catcher can only make an impact 3 to 5 times a game and even if they are great only make a positive impact 1 or 2 times a game on average. A starting pitcher can only make an impact once every five days and then rarely for more than 7 innings. So, wouldn't it make sense to accept a catcher that bats .125 if they can call a good game since they would be making a positive impact almost every game and for the entire game?

 

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#19 luckylager

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 01:53 PM

 

So let's just eliminate drunk driving laws. If someone gets killed by a drunk driver that's just a bad break. I guess it evens out in the end because they would have died eventually anyway.

An extreme analogy, to be sure. But the point I'm making is if there's a way to have players see the reward for making the proper play let's do it. A pitcher should be rewarded for throwing a strike and a batter should be rewarded for taking a ball. It shouldn't be tainted by bad judgement on the part of the human being charged with making the decision.

 

It's a game. Played by and officiated by people. It's worked out pretty well for 150+ years. If the powers that be want to F with it, they can go right ahead. It just wont appeal to me. 

 

Take the technology to the next level and we can replace the players with robots who never strike out or make an error (and possibly can be programmed to understand your drunk driving analogy). ;)

 

Edited by luckylager, 22 February 2019 - 02:01 PM.


#20 DocBauer

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Posted 22 February 2019 - 03:12 PM

Makes sense to try and have your catchers on the same page, whether it's framing or something else. I agree game calling and overall defense are more important. But as was previously mentioned, framing isn't necessarily trying to "steal" a strike so much as making a close pitch be called a strike.

As to the whole umpire scenario, I prefer the human element. But while never perfect, you absolutely can teach, review, grade, promote and denote so there is greater accuracy and consistency behind the plate.
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