Neyer: How they taught pitch-framing in olden times (the 1980s)

From SABR member Rob Neyer at on February 17, 2015:

When I started writing this, it was supposed to be just a quick little post illustrating that pitch-framing’s been a serious part of the game for a long time now. Which I suppose we already knew, but I enjoyed seeing the proof in an old book.

Now, though, I see two interesting lines of inquiry.

One – and maybe this isn’t new, but I have trouble remembering everything I see – I’m wondering how much of pitch-framing is getting strikes in the strike zone, and how much is actually stealing strikes. Because despite what the Brewers might have been officially teaching in 1982, you gotta figure they weren’t averse to the occasional strike that really should have been a ball. I don’t know that answering this question has any practical utility – once it’s called, a strike is a strike – but I guess it’s just something else I’d like to know about pitch-framing in the real world.

My second question is something that occurred to me just a few weeks ago, in a different context. When we measure the value of a fielding play, we’re measuring that value through the lens of linear weights; save one-third of a single, and you’ve saved one-third of the standard value of a single. Does that do the play proper justice, though? Because you’ve also turned one-third of a single into an out (or maybe two-thirds of an out; I’m an amateur swimmer in these waters). Which is one less out the pitcher needs to worry about, and thus fewer pitches he has to throw, and thus he’ll throw he does throw slightly better. So should our fielding metrics somehow account for not just the base that’s saved, but also the future pitches saved? Maybe.

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Originally published: February 18, 2015. Last Updated: February 18, 2015.