Arthur: Catcher framing is going extinct

From SABR member Rob Arthur at Baseball Prospectus on February 15, 2019:

Since the discovery of a way to measure catcher framing, the skill has been a favorite of sabermetricians, informed baseball fans, and clever front offices. But it’s also been slowly dying out, as the difference between the best and worst framers in the league shrinks. The multi-year trend towards the disappearance of framing accelerated last year and now the value of the skill appears to be less than half of what it once was.

Called Strikes Above Average (CSAA) is the best available metric for the art of framing. By multiplying a catcher’s CSAA times the number of chances they had to frame a pitch, you can quantify their total value in terms of the number of runs they saved (or lost) with their framing abilities. Across the league, the value of the best framers has been in a steady decline since the start of the PITCHf/x era (as measured here by charting the standard deviation in the number of framing runs).

As recently as 2011, the standard deviation in framing runs was 9.5 runs, but last season it fell to only 5.7, roughly a 40 percent dropoff in less than a decade. The standard deviation is a little abstract, but you can view the same pattern in the value of the best and worst framers last season compared to a decade ago.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: February 15, 2019. Last Updated: February 15, 2019.