Lindbergh: Brandon McCarthy on the value of catcher framing

From SABR member Ben Lindbergh at Baseball Prospectus on May 20, 2013:

Diamondbacks starter Brandon McCarthy is known as one of baseball’s most thoughtful, analytical pitchers; two years ago, he famously embraced advanced statistics and remade himself as a pitcher by perfecting a two-seamer that helped him get groundballs more often. As a result, he’s pretty popular on the internet. I asked him to provide the pitcher’s perspective on the importance of pitch framing and receiving skills.

On how he likes to see a catcher receive his pitches: “You keep the ball where you’re throwing, but it just feels soft. Like you’re just throwing to something that just—as a pitcher, you can see movement, see stabbing, the head is moving a lot, there’s a lot of movement. You know that the umpire can see that. And if the umpire is reacting to that, then you’re probably losing pitches. There isn’t much of that with [Miguel Montero], it’s soft and it’s kind of comfortable receiving as opposed to some catchers it looks like they’re—not scared of the ball, but they’re just very anxious to go get it. And it seems like with them you see more pitches being taken away from them.”

On what a good receiver is worth: “I don’t want to put a concrete number on it, because that’s what people take away from it, and you can kind of become married to that. But I would say it’s pretty worthwhile. I mean, the difference between being in a 1-1 count and a 1-2 count is big. Sometimes you might have two of those situations in a game or three, and sometimes you might have 10 or 11, and if he’s doing something for you that’s earning calls that you might not usually get… You know, it’s hard to say because it’s not really an easy situation, you don’t know if somebody else would have gotten that call, or if it’s the umpire, or if it’s him, but I would say over the course of a season it’s probably worth a lot more than most people would consider.”

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Originally published: May 20, 2013. Last Updated: May 20, 2013.