Marchi: Measuring catcher framing in the minor leagues

From Max Marchi at Baseball Prospectus on June 13, 2013:

In my last article, I presented the results of using Retrosheet pitch-by-pitch data for measuring catchers’ framing performance. After showing that the alternate method fared quite well, despite not relying on pitch location data, I went on to provide historical leaderboards (Brad Ausmus is tops among catchers of the past quarter century) and explore the issue of aging (Father Time seems not to take much of a toll on framers).

I left you with one teaser: while it was nice to have some of the retired catchers ranked, the most valuable byproduct of that research was that it made ranking active catchers at lower levels possible. That’s the topic I’ll tackle today.

Framing in the minors
New PITCHf/x systems are continuously being installed in minor league ballparks, so analysts working in MLB front offices probably have the luxury of rating minor league catchers using at least some pitch location data.

However, despite the relative richness of their databases, before putting a dollar sign on the mitt they’ve likely had to ask themselves the same question I’ll attempt to answer here: Is it safe to use framing numbers recorded at the minor league level to project success (or failure) at mastering the art in the big leagues?

Read the full article here:

Originally published: June 13, 2013. Last Updated: June 13, 2013.