Sullivan: The pitchers who benefit most from good catchers

From Jeff Sullivan at FanGraphs on May 22, 2014:

You might think there’s too much written about pitch-framing, but it’s a real thing that we can measure, so that’s kind of like saying you think there’s too much written about on-base percentage. Baseball stats are baseball stats, and that’s what we talk about here. But I’ll say this much: Usually, when people talk about framing, they’re talking about the catchers who do it. But I want to focus on the pitchers.

That is, the pitchers who benefit, and the pitchers who do the opposite of benefit. It’s important to remember good and bad framers don’t simply do what they do in isolation. That performance has an effect on pitcher statistics — statistics we’ve long thought to be fielding-independent. It’s an aspect not often discussed, in part because it gets incredibly complicated, but I figured I’d take this chance to provide a 2014 season update on pitchers and their zones. I’ve written these posts before, but not yet this season.


We have, readily available, data on number of strikes and number of pitches. Something we can also do is calculate a number of expected strikes, based on zone rate and out-of-zone swing rate. That data’s also provided on FanGraphs. Though there are ways of making this more complex and accurate, this simple statistic can get us most of the way there, and it takes seconds to enter into Excel. The beauty is the simplicity, and by comparing actual strikes to expected strikes, we can learn something about strike zones.

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This page was last updated May 22, 2014 at 2:13 pm MST.