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Article: Is Ryan Doumit's Catching A Critical Liability?

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#1 jorgenswest

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:52 AM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...a-and-Pitch-f-x

#2 Heistyman

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 10:57 AM

Why yes it is.

#3 John Bonnes

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:04 AM

This is a really interesting story. Thanks for bringing it to our attention.

This comes down to a simple question: how much do you trust this metric?

BTW, it isn't about how much do you trust "pitch f/x". It's how much do you trust the method for converting the "framing" to run. And how convinced are you that the "framing" that is referenced is a skill of the catcher, versus the pitching staff, or the umpiring, or the counts that accompany the catcher.

For instance, if Doumit tends to call more strikes early in the count than, say Molina, then one would expect the data to show that Doumit is worse at "framing" pitches. Why? Because it has been demonstrated (also using pitch f/x) that umpires are FAR more likely to count anything close to a borderline pitch a strike on a 3-0 or 3-1 count, or a ball on a 0-2 or 1-2 count.

I don't have time to review the details of the metric, but the linked stories above seem to have quite a bit of detail. I'm looking forward to reviewing it. I'd encourage others to do so, too.

I will say this: the thought that one's catcher, can effect a team by 60 runs based purely on his ability to frame pitches, is hard to believe. If so, it is a pretty huge finding, moreso than most defensive metrics and even moreso than McCracken's stuff. It will be interesting to see how this evolves.

#4 Rosterman

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:19 AM

Doumit is the backup. If Mauer goes down, would you sacrifice his behind-the-plate skills for his bat, compared, to say, a Butera in the line-up. Plus he offers flexibility of being able to "play" outfield and first base if push comes to shove, plus is basically written in as a DH. That Mauer is playing first, Morneau DHing, means Doumit also gets to catch some. But it also means the Twins pretty much need to carry a third catcher (who can hopefully do more than catch, or at least pinch-hit). The only reaso I would see in keeping Butera would be if the Twins saw the return of Dickey and needed someone to catch knuckle
balls.

#5 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:19 AM

This sounds a lot like the argument from several years ago that Gomez+Span are worth 80 runs a season compared to Span+Young (I believe that was the comparison). It doesn't pass the smell test... Not even close. In this situation, we're saying that Molina is worth ONE RUN A GAME more than Doumit.

Stop and think about that for a second. One freakin' run a game... On defense. As a catcher.

That doesn't make the slightest bit of sense no matter how you look at it. I'm all for pushing defensive metrics forward and trying to make the best use of them possible but 70+ runs difference between two catchers, neither of which played even half a season behind the plate, is laughable.

The average team scores, what, about 5 runs a game? That means, using this metric, that just swapping out Doumit for Molina (over a half season) is worth 20% of your team runs... On defense. Just the catcher. No pitching, no fielding... Just the guy behind the plate.

Impossible. Laughable, even. Basically, the argument here is that if you replace Doumit with Molina in 2012, the Twins pitching staff would have gone from 13th in the American League to 9th in the AL, coming pretty close to being a league average pitching staff.

By replacing the backup catcher. Not even by replacing the starting catcher. By replacing the backup catcher. And we're not even counting their offensive contributions.

The math here makes me shake my head. It's absurd.

#6 gunnarthor

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:31 AM

Klaw has taken issue with the framing angle in his chats, too. While Molina helps with framing, it's not 50 runs, in his opinion.

Framing is nice but it's early and we don't know how accurate it is or how long it'll stick around. (Anyone remember DIPS for pitchers? Santana overrated and Bonderman better arguments were common). As with defensive stats, it's hard to measure and it's hard to value. With both variables in doubt, it would be silly to put too much emphasis on this.

#7 DaTwins

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:33 AM

Brock, have read Mike Fast or Max Marchi's work on this subject? It's pretty convincing. You can argue degrees, but framing is absolutely significant.

#8 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:39 AM

Brock, have read Mike Fast or Max Marchi's work on this subject? It's pretty convincing. You can argue degrees, but framing is absolutely significant.


Catchers undoubtedly have an impact on the game.

But it's not 20% of runs allowed. Not even close. That's friggin' absurd.

#9 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:48 AM

Think about this for a minute, guys. Why would teams invest so much in pitching? You can take a collection of awful replacement players (basically, the Twins 2012 rotation) and if you can coax them to throwing a well below average 5.00 ERA (not setting the bar very high), to turn that into a league-average rotation, all you'd have to do is go find a catcher who is really good at framing pitches. He'll shave one full run off the ERA and turn that team into a 4.00 ERA rotation overnight. You don't need good pitchers, you only need average to below average hurlers and a good catcher!

I mean, really. You have to be ****ing kidding me.

#10 kirbyelway

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:48 AM

You look at the pitchers Molina had to work with and the pitchers Doumit had to work with. That is your difference!!!!!!

#11 kirbyelway

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 11:54 AM

Frame a close pitch from Sam Deduno and frame a close pitch from David Price. Who do you think gets the strike called more often.........DUH!

#12 108 Double Stitches

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:07 PM

Brock makes a good point.

Doing a reality check after your stat is a sign of being thorough -- and
this stat cries out that no checking was performed. Looks sloppy and
unbelieveable with respect to the numbers being cited. Kind of, not
so much an advanced metric but more of an advanced exageration.

#13 Brandon

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:20 PM

I think Bonnes point about pitch calling by the umps is a good point. he has written about that in the past. I do think 50 runs is a bit excessive too. I do believe that you have a point though about framing and calling pitches and the potential to cost runs. However I think that the offense is an important part of the game and with us lacking on so many areas. Now if Doumit could play 3rd that would be nice.

#14 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:34 PM

This sounds a lot like the argument from several years ago that Gomez+Span are worth 80 runs a season compared to Span+Young (I believe that was the comparison). It doesn't pass the smell test... Not even close. In this situation, we're saying that Molina is worth ONE RUN A GAME more than Doumit.

Stop and think about that for a second. One freakin' run a game... On defense. As a catcher.

That doesn't make the slightest bit of sense no matter how you look at it. I'm all for pushing defensive metrics forward and trying to make the best use of them possible but 70+ runs difference between two catchers, neither of which played even half a season behind the plate, is laughable.

The average team scores, what, about 5 runs a game? That means, using this metric, that just swapping out Doumit for Molina (over a half season) is worth 20% of your team runs... On defense. Just the catcher. No pitching, no fielding... Just the guy behind the plate.

Impossible. Laughable, even. Basically, the argument here is that if you replace Doumit with Molina in 2012, the Twins pitching staff would have gone from 13th in the American League to 9th in the AL, coming pretty close to being a league average pitching staff.

By replacing the backup catcher. Not even by replacing the starting catcher. By replacing the backup catcher. And we're not even counting their offensive contributions.

The math here makes me shake my head. It's absurd.


well said.

#15 mako83

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:54 PM

Is bringing AJ back totally out of the question. it seems like doumit was paid also to back up willingham as well as mauer. Is butera a minus 21 in the offense sabermetrics thing a what, he feels like it.

#16 SgtSchmidt11

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 12:57 PM

This sounds a lot like the argument from several years ago that Gomez+Span are worth 80 runs a season compared to Span+Young (I believe that was the comparison). It doesn't pass the smell test... Not even close. In this situation, we're saying that Molina is worth ONE RUN A GAME more than Doumit.

Stop and think about that for a second. One freakin' run a game... On defense. As a catcher.

That doesn't make the slightest bit of sense no matter how you look at it. I'm all for pushing defensive metrics forward and trying to make the best use of them possible but 70+ runs difference between two catchers, neither of which played even half a season behind the plate, is laughable.

The average team scores, what, about 5 runs a game? That means, using this metric, that just swapping out Doumit for Molina (over a half season) is worth 20% of your team runs... On defense. Just the catcher. No pitching, no fielding... Just the guy behind the plate.

Impossible. Laughable, even. Basically, the argument here is that if you replace Doumit with Molina in 2012, the Twins pitching staff would have gone from 13th in the American League to 9th in the AL, coming pretty close to being a league average pitching staff.

By replacing the backup catcher. Not even by replacing the starting catcher. By replacing the backup catcher. And we're not even counting their offensive contributions.

The math here makes me shake my head. It's absurd.


Agree Completely. +1

#17 greengoblinrulz

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 01:18 PM

From the chart.....Drew Butera was also a -8.6 for 10/11. Why is it that he is considered a good defensive catcher again???? His pass balls are high, his throwing is just league average.......why???

Tampa believes in a defensive backup C & is one of baseballs elite teams/best pitching staffs
Minnesota believes in an offensive backup & is one of baseballs worse teams/worse pitching staffs
Hmmmmmm

Edited by greengoblinrulz, 02 December 2012 - 01:23 PM.


#18 jorgenswest

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 01:25 PM

It is hard to believe.How can it make that much difference?

Based on their decision making, I don't think the Twins believe it. I at least hope they were aware and considered it last fall before signing Doumit.

Here is what strikes me about the data that is difficult to dismiss.

Why do the same catchers to consistently well or poorly year to year? It doesn't even matter if they change teams.

If it is pitching based and not catching based, why do catchers on the same team vary?

It comes down to two elements.

Is the pitch f/x reliable enough to determine when a close ball is turned into a strike or a strike on the edge into a ball?

Is Dan Turpenkopf's work finding that switching the call from a ball to a strike on a close pitch was worth about 0.13 runs on average accurate?

http://www.beyondthe...ibble-the<br />
One last link, below is the spreadsheet from 2011.

https://docs.google....&hl=en_US#gid=0

A year ago at the time of the Doumit signing Aaron Gleeman referenced the Mike Fast work. I put it away and came back to it when I saw that in spite of both catchers changing teams in 2012, Jose Molina and Ryan Doumit retained their spots at top and bottom of the list. Is it time for Doumit to have a role as and pinch hitter while being the emergency third catcher?

I think most of us will ignore the work.

Do we want the Twins to ignore it? I hope they haven't.

Edited by jorgenswest, 02 December 2012 - 01:29 PM.


#19 mnfireman

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 01:28 PM

I agree that Price, Shields, Hellickson, Moore, etc... will get more close calls than the Twins ragtag band of misfits will. Plus, how many of those framing calls does Molina get based on name and reputation? Too biased of a metric.

#20 snepp

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 01:30 PM

I thought the stuff that I read from Fast last offseason had the reasonable range for full-time catchers as something like +/- 15.


Are these figures coming out of the same methodology or from someone else?

#21 jorgenswest

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 01:32 PM

Does it matter if he gets the call because of skill or reputation? He still gets the call. Watching the videos in the study, I think it is more skill than reputation.

Why didn't Jaso do well with that pitching staff in 2011?

#22 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 01:52 PM

Honestly, the only way to put any type of stock into catcher ERA is to look at how the same pitchers perform over a few years with the same catchers... If there was something to this, I'd imagine that over a large enough sample, you could determine that the catcher made the pitcher X amount of runs better... but this would essentially have to be done with the same group of pitchers pitching to the same catchers over several years to get enough data to be remotely conclusive...

#23 jorgenswest

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 02:00 PM

Honestly, the only way to put any type of stock into catcher ERA is to look at how the same pitchers perform over a few years with the same catchers... If there was something to this, I'd imagine that over a large enough sample, you could determine that the catcher made the pitcher X amount of runs better... but this would essentially have to be done with the same group of pitchers pitching to the same catchers over several years to get enough data to be remotely conclusive...


This isn't catcher ERA.

#24 old nurse

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 02:03 PM

Perhaps Jorgenswest forgot the key point in the article he referenced


[COLOR=#292929][FONT=Mercury SSm A]And finally, before we get started, the disclaimer. These splits are not necessarily indicative of skill. They measure less than one full season and include many other factors that should be corrected for. As time passes, we should be able to complete more technically rigorous analysis (that's the royal we, as in someone else who knows more about statistics) that may begin to clarify what percentage is skill and what percentage is unexplained/random variation. Until that time, I strongly recommend not using this information for anything more than entertainment purposes.[/FONT][/COLOR]
Even the author did not believe his numbers.

#25 glunn

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 02:19 PM

I wonder where Mauer ranks in this statistic.

#26 jorgenswest

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 02:30 PM

Perhaps Jorgenswest forgot the key point in the article he referenced


[COLOR=#292929][FONT=Mercury SSm A]And finally, before we get started, the disclaimer. These splits are not necessarily indicative of skill. They measure less than one full season and include many other factors that should be corrected for. As time passes, we should be able to complete more technically rigorous analysis (that's the royal we, as in someone else who knows more about statistics) that may begin to clarify what percentage is skill and what percentage is unexplained/random variation. Until that time, I strongly recommend not using this information for anything more than entertainment purposes.[/FONT][/COLOR]
Even the author did not believe his numbers.


The author earned a job in major league baseball.

One year later catchers who did well or poorly, still do well or poorly.

Do you want the Twins to continue to ignore the data?

Do you think the Rays are paying attention?

It appears that many would join the Twins in discounting this study.

It is my hope that the Twins have someone or a group they have hired in the front office responsible for seeking out these studies and evaluating the impact on the team. Minimally this work deserves lengthy study on the part of the Twins management.

#27 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 02:53 PM

Honestly, the only way to put any type of stock into catcher ERA is to look at how the same pitchers perform over a few years with the same catchers... If there was something to this, I'd imagine that over a large enough sample, you could determine that the catcher made the pitcher X amount of runs better... but this would essentially have to be done with the same group of pitchers pitching to the same catchers over several years to get enough data to be remotely conclusive...


This isn't catcher ERA.


I should have used a different term, yes I understand that... my point is that the only way to quantify the catcher's impact on runs allowed is a long term study on the same catchers and the same pitchers...

#28 Riverbrian

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 03:23 PM

I have always believed that Catchers have huge influence on games in ways that are hard to quantify. Things like the calling of pitches, framing to a lesser extent, Quarterbacking the Defense.

I don't know enough of this data and the conclusions drawn from it but a couple of incomplete thoughts jump to mind right away.

A. The Run differential seems excessive. If you see something this excessive. It's probably a red flag just like Brock said.

If the data and result was solid. Molina would be negotiating for a fairly large contract right now because there are enough teams that follow metrics and look for edges like this especially something this large.

B. I haven't read all of it and it looks like it will take awhile to get through it all but I'm wondering how a called strike can be quantified into Runs. The Difference between a 2-0 count and a 1-1 count is important but how do you quantify the rest of the at bat and the result based upon one strike or ball.

C. I've done a little umping behind the plate. Some Parents and Coaches say I suck at it and I probably do... I know that proper technique for umpires is to watch the ball from Pitchers Hand to Catchers Glove and that's easy enough understood as it's written. However, Catchers don't always sit still behind the plate. They move around and the Glove ends up being be blocked from view by the catcher a large percentage of times. Even if they sit still they block the view of the glove. The Ump is positioned behind the Catcher and for that reason it is very difficult to see the glove and if you can't see the glove consistently. It's very difficult to be influenced by framing.

If you look at the Video examples of Lucroy and Veritek shown in the example. It looks to me that the Umpires would struggle to see the glove but who knows cuz MLB umps are the best of the best. Maybe they can and I just haven't figured out how to position myself properly.

All in all... I'm a little skeptical.

#29 Seth Stohs

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 03:52 PM

Yup, I still struggle with defensive metrics as a whole. I have 0 confidence in this stat. The Butera negative numbers tell me that this stat means pretty much nothing.

I don't think anyone would say that Doumit's some great catcher defensively, but having watched most of the games, I didn't see anything that was overly alarming.

#30 jorgenswest

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Posted 02 December 2012 - 04:04 PM

B. I haven't read all of it and it looks like it will take awhile to get through it all but I'm wondering how a called strike can be quantified into Runs. The Difference between a 2-0 count and a 1-1 count is important but how do you quantify the rest of the at bat and the result based upon one strike or ball.


I think this is an article about counts and impact on runs

http://www.beyondthe...re-a-nibble-the