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Did Doumit's pitch-framing cost the Twins 3.8 wins?

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#1 Mike Frasier Law

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 09:59 AM

I was perusing Fangraphs and saw an article about the end of the Doumit catching era. According to the article, Doumit was/is the worst pitch-framer ever. -3.02 strikes per game: http://www.fangraphs...-end-of-an-era/

According to the same article, one call is worth .13 runs. And, if I understand correctly, 10 runs is roughly 1 win.

So Doumit caught 99 games for the Twins total. 99 games x 3.02 runs per game is 298.98 lost strikes. That equates to 38.8 runs, or nearly 4 wins total.

Just though it to be interesting. Does anyone buy this math?

#2 Winston Smith

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 10:13 AM

No!

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#3 drivlikejehu

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 10:14 AM

No, I don't think that's a credible number of runs/wins. It's very much a minority view among sabremetrics people that the impact is that large. The effect is real, but at this point I don't think anyone has a good handle on how to measure the importance of it.

#4 mike wants wins

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 10:15 AM

I don't, and here's why......runs are discrete activities that happen within an inning. You can't add up .1 run over 10 games, and come up with a run. It is the issue I have with this particulary analysis. I might be wrong, maybe you can do this, but I have my doubts.

Look at it this way, if he gave up 1 strike every three innings, what are the odds that one strike leads to a run? I guess you could argue that 1 missed strike an inning increases the odds of a run scoring that inning by x%, and therefore you can make the kind of argument you are making over 99 games.....but I think framing's impact is being over rated.

that said, I could be totally wrong, and this is the exact kind of analysis that was done. Frankly, it is kind of why I struggle with all the stats that peanut butter pitching effectiveness over a season......there are just some days where a pitcher is awful, and some when a pitcher is awesome. I'd rather have the guy that is awesome 2 starts, and terrible one start, than the guy that is mediocre every start......but again, maybe I'm missing something, and maybe starts aren't discrete.
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#5 Parker Hageman

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 10:17 AM

StatCorner.com has it broken out further. According to their reports, Doumit cost the Twins -15.9 runs above average (or roughly 1.5 wins) in 2013. In 2012, he was -21.2 RAA (or 2.1 wins). So, overall, it may have resulted in 3.6 wins.

Another study for catchers -- which is still in its infancy -- is how well they prevent passed balls and wild pitches. According to Dan Brooks' research (the Brooks who runs BrooksBaseball.net), Doumit was -0.8 RAA on average each season between 2009-2013. Surprisingly (maybe?), it was better than Joe Mauer (-0.9)*. At the top of the list is Carlos Ruiz (saving 3.7 runs per season, min 20,000 pitches total) and at the bottom is Miguel Olivo (costing -4.5 runs per season).

https://docs.google....p=sharing#gid=0

At the end, I still question how cleanly these two things correlate to wins overall. In general, I believe there is an advantage for having catchers who can coax additional strikes (which puts pitchers in advantageous counts or help ring someone up) that could led to few pitches overall. Likewise, those who are able to corral bad pitches better are keeping runners from moving up a base and putting themselves in better scoring positions.

*For those who have watched, Mauer has a high tendency of simply trying to one-hand pitches in the dirt. This sort of jives with that eye-test.

#6 Thrylos

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 10:30 AM

Nope.

I buy the concept of pitch framing but not these quantification efforts. The main issue I have with those number is that they are not normalized for umpire strike zone. And this is a solvable problem but requires some fuzzy math...

In other (simpler words) if a strike per PitchF/X is called a ball, the current system always calls it "bad framing" by the catcher. However, if that particular umpire behind the plate usually calls that strike a ball, it is an umpire thing and not "bad framing".

So, yes, I kinda buy it qualitatively but not quantitatively and nobody knows how many wins (if any) Doumit's catching cost.

Also: To calculate the latter correctly, because is not an isolated situation, you have to also replace Doumit's offensive contribution with a replacement level player in those games (as a catcher.)
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#7 Willihammer

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 10:31 AM

I don't know how many wins Doumit gained/lost but I do think people underestimate the impact and ripple effect of losing or gaining strikes. Think about how different an at-bat becomes if you go 1-2 instead of 2-1 for example. Having the advantage in the count is absolutely critical.

#8 Thrylos

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 10:34 AM

Another study for catchers -- which is still in its infancy -- is how well they prevent passed balls and wild pitches. According to Dan Brooks' research (the Brooks who runs BrooksBaseball.net), Doumit was -0.8 RAA on average each season between 2009-2013. Surprisingly (maybe?), it was better than Joe Mauer (-0.9)*. At the top of the list is Carlos Ruiz (saving 3.7 runs per season, min 20,000 pitches total) and at the bottom is Miguel Olivo (costing -4.5 runs per season).

https://docs.google....p=sharing#gid=0

At the end, I still question how cleanly these two things correlate to wins overall. In general, I believe there is an advantage for having catchers who can coax additional strikes (which puts pitchers in advantageous counts or help ring someone up) that could led to few pitches overall. Likewise, those who are able to corral bad pitches better are keeping runners from moving up a base and putting themselves in better scoring positions.

*For those who have watched, Mauer has a high tendency of simply trying to one-hand pitches in the dirt. This sort of jives with that eye-test.



Interesting to see that everyone's defensive darling, Drew Butera, rates worse than both Mauer and Doumit in that measurement...
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#9 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 10:35 AM

Nope.

I buy the concept of pitch framing but not these quantification efforts. The main issue I have with those number is that they are not normalized for umpire strike zone. And this is a solvable problem but requires some fuzzy math...

In other (simpler words) if a strike per PitchF/X is called a ball, the current system always calls it "bad framing" by the catcher. However, if that particular umpire behind the plate usually calls that strike a ball, it is an umpire thing and not "bad framing".

So, yes, I kinda buy it qualitatively but not quantitatively and nobody knows how many wins (if any) Doumit's catching cost.

Also: To calculate the latter correctly, because is not an isolated situation, you have to also replace Doumit's offensive contribution with a replacement level player in those games (as a catcher.)


I tend to agree with this. I think there are other reasons to be skeptical too. Quite honestly, these are close pitches and the umpire has tendancies, but won't always call it the same. I'm hesitant to put all of that on the catcher.

This is one of those statistics that I really think needs to be calculated multiple different ways to see if there is in fact an effect. I have no doubt that a catcher can influence this. The scope of that influence is in question.

#10 Mike Frasier Law

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 10:37 AM

Wow! Lots of interesting feedback. I do agree that this is the type of stat that is dangerous (and probably inaccurate) to simply aggregate. But replacing those 99 games with a league average catcher (hopefully better) may make our pitchers look significantly better. I think this is particularly true if you believe pitchers' confidence plays a significant role in his performance throughout a game. I imagine it is pretty disheartening when you throw the perfect pitch and it's called a ball.

#11 Riverbrian

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 10:44 AM

I don't buy it... Never have... Never will.

If Pitch framing is that influential.

Fire the umps today and automate it exactly one second after the mass firing.

If umps are so easily fooled by framing. This means that after years of training... Up to 7-8 years in the minor leagues. Multiple Performance evaluations for advancement consideration... Camps... Instructionals... Tests... After all of that training... They can't get passed catcher sleight of hand so sophisticated that it is one generation beyond "Hey look your shoe is untied".

A catcher can practice the art of framing over and over and perfect it... Yet the ump can't practice recognizing it and perfect that or simply be better than that and is apparently at the complete mercy of the more clever catcher.

If true... This means the umps are on auto pilot and robot like themselves. So... We Might as well put the real robots in.

Instructor: A strike is judged by where the pitch crossed the plate... Any questions?

Jim Joyce: We understand that... But... What if the catcher catches the ball outside the zone and moves his glove inside the zone. Is that a strike?

Instructor: No it's not... It where it crosses the plate.

Kerwin Danley: Ok... What if the catcher catches the ball in the zone but his glove moves outside the zone after catching it. Is this now a ball?

Instructor: Umm no... Again...

Marty Foster: Listen... We've been doing this for years... A strike is judged by where the glove is.

Instructor: No it's not... Because the catcher might move the glove in order to gain an advantage.

Tim McClelland: That is not true... They would never do anything like that. These catchers are good family men. C'mon guys... Let's leave this seminar. We don't have to listen to this.
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#12 Willihammer

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 11:13 AM

@RB

which of these pitches are strikes and which are balls


#13 Riverbrian

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 11:23 AM

Ball ball strike ball strike
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#14 Willihammer

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 11:32 AM

Yeah those weren't very hard were they.

#15 Riverbrian

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 11:35 AM

Yeah those weren't very hard were they.


LOL... Thanks... That made my morning. That's funny.
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#16 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 11:38 AM

I think pitch framing absolutely impacts the game. I struggle believing some of the numbers spit out by various metrics.

Without a doubt, Ryan Doumit is a liability as a catcher. But if you use him correctly, he can be a valuable player, particularly on an NL team. He's a switch-hitter, which gives him an advantage off the bench. He *should* OPS around .750, which makes him a bad DH but a very good bench bat. And you can put him behind the dish ~30 times a season and he won't kill your team, which means that you can't need to carry a second catcher on the roster, a position often synonymous with "boat anchor at the plate".

He shores up several problems on the average NL roster and his only detriment is his catching, which is also a positive because he can catch, even if it's badly.

#17 Shane Wahl

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 11:40 AM

I don't know what to make of the framing issue, but it is a damn game of inches. I mean that cliché is pretty relevant here. It's frightening to think of, but it's relevant.

#18 spycake

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 11:55 AM

Some of the numbers do seem pretty crazy, don't they? The trends seem accurate, though (same guys ranking top and bottom each year, even when changing teams/leagues).

The Rays definitely seem to be buying on the idea -- maybe not necessarily at the full published figures, but they have targeted and retained two of the top pitch framers.

The Braves have two other catchers, apparently, so it's likely they agree with the consensus on Doumit's catching. It's a shame, because it would have been another interesting data point to see Doumit catching a quality pitching staff (although Pittsburgh's 2011 staff wasn't that bad... but Doumit was injured for a full two months of that season, and had the worst cERA on their team. Hmmmm....).

#19 Riverbrian

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 12:00 PM

Hey Hammer Here are 5 pitches for you ;)

http://wapc.mlb.com/...525673&c_id=mlb

I believe umps miss calls all the time. Sometimes the pitcher gets screwed and sometimes the pitcher gets the benefit.

Sometimes when it happens... It's a huge moment... And the pitcher either has the stuff to survive or he doesn't.

But any conversation that the catcher can influence games strictly by his framing ability to the degree that has been suggested... Simply suggests that the umpires are not worth the salary they are paid.

If true... Seriously automate it. It would be way too much influence on the game. Make it a large suspension and fine for any catcher who tries to influence an umpire. Fire all umps who are routinely fooled by it. Clean it up.

These teams pay millions per win. If a catcher can create wins by framing... The top framers would be FA rock stars with that kind of win influence. Forget the .850 OPS catcher. A framer will get you to the playoffs quicker.

Umping is hard... Judging balls and strikes is hard. The ball coming in is quick and it moves. Umps miss calls all the time but consistent missing based on the movement of the glove and not being able to recognize it after film review that the catcher got you again and again and again and not correcting it after review means you are a terrible umpire and you should be taken out of MLB ballparks... The Ump would be better suited leaving his job at the car dealership... Grabbing a quick 6 pack and a pound at Taco Johns... Eating... Getting dressed and umping Cretin Derham Hall Vs. Burnsville.

At at some point in time... We have to recognize that the umpires are professionals and capable of adjustment and are reviewed and graded on performance.
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#20 mike wants wins

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 01:02 PM

I do agree, they should automate it. And, I disagree with your belief that in a split second they are not influenced by many things other than "did the pitch actually cross the plate".

If they are graded and rewarded on performance, why was one of the worst ones working the post season this year, other than seniority?
Lighten up Francis....

#21 Mike Frasier Law

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 01:07 PM

I imagine most of you have seen/read this series on Fangraphs, but I think it's relevant to the discussion:

http://www.fangraphs...t-called-balls/

I think the value of pitch framing is absolutely up for debate. Whether it has an impact at all, on the other hand, seems to me to be a resolved question.

#22 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 02:51 PM

Hey Hammer Here are 5 pitches for you ;)

http://wapc.mlb.com/...525673&c_id=mlb


Why did they have an outfielder pitching in the playoffs!??

#23 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 04:32 PM

Honestly, whether or not the catcher has an affect on pitch framing, they should automate it.

#24 Winston Smith

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Posted 19 December 2013 - 04:46 PM

So do these stat guys take into account the pitcher and hitter? We always hear a young hitter is less likely to get the close pitch, if it's Mauer he has a great eye so it must be a ball. However, the pitcher has pin point control so it must be a strike.
Is the umpire really thinking who is pitching and who is hitting and if the catcher is a good or bad framer or is he just watching the ball cross the plate?
I umpired when I was younger and I didn't pay any attention to the catchers glove. I would hope guys at the major league level would do the same.

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#25 jay

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 10:20 AM

So do these stat guys take into account the pitcher and hitter? We always hear a young hitter is less likely to get the close pitch, if it's Mauer he has a great eye so it must be a ball. However, the pitcher has pin point control so it must be a strike.
Is the umpire really thinking who is pitching and who is hitting and if the catcher is a good or bad framer or is he just watching the ball cross the plate?
I umpired when I was younger and I didn't pay any attention to the catchers glove. I would hope guys at the major league level would do the same.


I don't think anyone is saying that MLB umpires consciously discriminate in their calls. If it was a conscious effect, it probably wouldn't exist. The immense amount of research done on this shows clear differences in the number of strike calls based on the count in particular. If every single call is truly and solely based on watching the ball, as you seem to propose, how does this exist?

That same effect causing differences, whatever it is, has been measured across pitchers, batters, umpires, and catchers. The pitcher has the largest effect while the batter has the smallest, umps and catchers are in the middle. Pitch framing attempts to measure the differences due to the catcher. You can even find many video examples that highlight mechanical differences between catchers on each end of the spectrum.

The valuation efforts are commonly questioned (by me as well). I'm not certain, but I don't think the existing attempts are able to remove the pitcher, batter, umpire, or even count effects and instead rely on averages. The batter and umpire effects become null over a large enough sample, but the pitcher and count effects matter a lot. Question and debate the value of the effect, but I'm not sure how one can question whether it exists.

All that said, I'm incredibly glad that Ryan Doumit will not wear a catcher's mitt for the Twins again.

#26 ashburyjohn

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Posted 20 December 2013 - 11:37 AM

@RB

which of these pitches are strikes and which are balls


Turn on your audio, you'll get your answer.

Oh, and Brian. I've long contended that the umpires continually squeezed Ankiel. Your video provides the proof I've been looking for. I've got a call in to the umpires office now.