Pavlidis: Measuring MLB’s best game-callers at catcher

From SABR member Harry Pavlidis at on May 23, 2015:

It’s a commonly held truth: Being a catcher hurts. No one appreciates the position’s impact. Catchers squat for seemingly hours at a time. And lord, the foul tips down below. But thanks to the march of analytics, we’re on the cusp of grasping just how valuable a catcher can be. For years, the Holy Grail of statheads has been the attempt to quantify “game-calling,” or the pitch-by-pitch management of a staff. It seemed elusive, but we think we’ve finally found it. And now we’re ready to reveal it to you …

1. How do you measure game-calling?

Here’s a fun task: Try quantifying something as ephemeral as game-calling. Well, after a decade of research, that’s just what we’ve managed to do — by crafting a statistical model that attempts to quantify the value of everything from stolen-base prevention and directing pace of play to identifying hitter tendencies like swing behavior in various game situations and knowing which batters expand hit zones in RBI opportunities. Sound complicated? Oh, it is. But based on these factors, and controlling for others, we can now quantify, in runs saved, how well catchers manage their pitchers.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: May 26, 2015. Last Updated: May 26, 2015.