Lindbergh: The fall of a fabled pitch framer, Jonathan Lucroy

From SABR member Ben Lindbergh at The Ringer on May 23, 2017:

Not so long ago, [Jonathan] Lucroy was one of the faces of pitch-framing, a go-to guy for media members hoping to talk strike-stealing technique.

As recently as 2013, Lucroy led baseball in runs saved from framing. This year, he leads baseball in runs lost from framing. Coupled with his disappointing (albeit fast-improving) performance at the plate — .277/.320/.412, about 5 percent below league average — that framing decline has reduced him from an MVP-caliber contributor a few years ago to a replacement-level player so far this season, according to Baseball Prospectus (whose wins above replacement player, unlike Baseball-Reference or FanGraphs WAR, does factor in framing). That’s not what the Rangers wanted when they traded two top-50 prospects, Lewis Brinson and Luis Ortiz, in the deadline deal Lucroy headlined last August.

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Originally published: May 23, 2017. Last Updated: May 23, 2017.