From SABR member Ben Lindbergh at Baseball Prospectus on May 19, 2014, with mention of SABR member Harry Pavlidis:
For the most part, pitch receiving operates on a level that’s easy to overlook. Over thousands of pitches, certain catchers establish an edge, and those edges add up in a way we can’t see without looking at a leaderboard. Every now and then, though, framing on a small scale comes to the fore, usually when it leads to a larger event. Brett Lawrie, let’s say, strikes out looking out a pitch that appears to be outside, hurls his batting helmet at the home plate umpire, and gets ejected from the game. Our first impulse, like Lawrie’s, is to blame the umpire who blew the call. After reviewing the video, though, we realize that the real culprit was Jose Molina, in the catcher’s box, with the catcher’s glove. The ump was a red herring, a patsy, or maybe an unwitting accomplice.
One such sequence occurred in Saturday’s game between the A’s and the Indians, with Scott Kazmir on the mound in a scoreless tie. We pick up the action with one out in the second, no one on, and a 1-1 count on Asdrubal Cabrera.
Thanks to the work of Harry Pavlidis and Dan Brooks, we can calculate the expected outcome of any called pitch, factoring in the location, the count, the pitch type, and the handedness of the batter and pitcher. There was a 57.4 percent probability that this pitch would be called a strike. Pitchers, of course, make their own assessments of strike probability on the fly, drawing upon a mental database of previous pitches and results, and Kazmir’s body language suggests that the number he had in mind here was at least as high as BP’s. The changeup was more or less where he wanted it, but catcher Derek Norris stabbed at it and very clearly pulled it back toward the plate.
Read the full article here: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/a/23617
Originally published: May 19, 2014. Last Updated: May 19, 2014.