Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
vilehoopster

I don't see how pitch framing works?

Recommended Posts

One of the major points people on here keep talking about concerning Grandal is how great he is at pitch framing. About how he can turn balls into strikes and really help his pitchers. 

For a couple reasons, I really have a hard time believing that pitch framing can really work that often or really be important. I just finished watching a video on youtube with Tyler Flowers and some coach and I get it a little better. But the coach made that claim in the video that a good framer, can take a pitch four inches outside the zone and get it called a strike. I find that really hard to believe. I'm not saying it's impossible, but I need some things explained to me. 

First of all, it seems like for framing to work, the home plate umpire would have to be extremely naive. How is it realistic for the umpire, who has umpired probably a 1,000 games before getting to the majors not to be aware of that catcher's glove movement, the umpire not to see this movement and know what the catcher is doing and ignore it. I don't see how this can possibly work with an experienced umpire. 

Now, when I watch the game on TV, I'm not seeing the pitch form behind the plate, but from the center field camera. But when I watch the games at home from that camera, it is so obvious that the catcher is jerking the ball back over the plate; it is so obvious. I can't believe an umpire could be fooled by that movement and call a strike. 

Also, my second reason, I umpired some for little league when I was in high school. When I was behind the plate, I concentrated on the ball moving right over the plate, looking to see if the white of the ball caught any of the white of the plate. I had no idea what the catcher was doing as he caught the ball. I wouldn't be aware that the catcher missed the ball unless he suddenly jumped up to find it or go get it. All I saw was the ball as it came in from the pitcher and crossed the plate. 

I'm not saying there's no way framing can't help, but I am dubious that framing can really make much of a difference and I certainly don't think that framing can change a ball several inches off the plate into a strike. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, vilehoopster said:

One of the major points people on here keep talking about concerning Grandal is how great he is at pitch framing. About how he can turn balls into strikes and really help his pitchers. 

For a couple reasons, I really have a hard time believing that pitch framing can really work that often or really be important. I just finished watching a video on youtube with Tyler Flowers and some coach and I get it a little better. But the coach made that claim in the video that a good framer, can take a pitch four inches outside the zone and get it called a strike. I find that really hard to believe. I'm not saying it's impossible, but I need some things explained to me. 

First of all, it seems like for framing to work, the home plate umpire would have to be extremely naive. How is it realistic for the umpire, who has umpired probably a 1,000 games before getting to the majors not to be aware of that catcher's glove movement, the umpire not to see this movement and know what the catcher is doing and ignore it. I don't see how this can possibly work with an experienced umpire. 

Now, when I watch the game on TV, I'm not seeing the pitch form behind the plate, but from the center field camera. But when I watch the games at home from that camera, it is so obvious that the catcher is jerking the ball back over the plate; it is so obvious. I can't believe an umpire could be fooled by that movement and call a strike. 

Also, my second reason, I umpired some for little league when I was in high school. When I was behind the plate, I concentrated on the ball moving right over the plate, looking to see if the white of the ball caught any of the white of the plate. I had no idea what the catcher was doing as he caught the ball. I wouldn't be aware that the catcher missed the ball unless he suddenly jumped up to find it or go get it. All I saw was the ball as it came in from the pitcher and crossed the plate. 

I'm not saying there's no way framing can't help, but I am dubious that framing can really make much of a difference and I certainly don't think that framing can change a ball several inches off the plate into a strike. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As it is so easy to track what should be balls and should be strikes, it is easy to track catchers who have more balls called strikes and vice versa. The thing that amazes me is the consistency of most. Obviously the vast majority of these pitches are borderline. You would think human nature might take over once in a while. Umpires have to know who the good and bad framers are, and in their quest to get it right, a borderline  pitch they are tempted to call a ball with a bad frame catching would have to be tempting to call a strike. And a borderline strike with a great framer an umpire might be tempted to call it a ball. That doesn't appear to happen at least very often.

But to me, a great framer is worth a lot, especially if you have the proper pitching to take advantage. Like you alluded, a great framer only really matters if you are close to the plate. Carson Fulmer it wouldn't matter.

Edited by Dick Allen

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don’t think it’s that hard to grasp. On borderline pitches someone who stabs at the ball and someone who absorbs the ball can be the tipping point between a called strike or called ball. 
 

no matter how good an umpire is, the game moves fast and calls are made fast. Little things help.

  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I used to think pitch framing is a joke. The umps read this stuff and they might even be offended when a catcher tries to frame a ball a strike.

but I’ve seen catchers who are jumping around behind the plate and can’t catch a ball smoothly make it hard on umps to call borderline pitches strikes so I now see some value in a guy. Whois quiet behind the plate giving his pitcher the best chance out three.

but the other hand the stat guys get ahold of a stat and drive in the ground so it’s probably not  as big a deal as the stat guys make i5. Out to be

Edited by runtheballdown
Left a word out
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, Blackout Friday said:

I don’t think it’s that hard to grasp. On borderline pitches someone who stabs at the ball and someone who absorbs the ball can be the tipping point between a called strike or called ball. 
 

no matter how good an umpire is, the game moves fast and calls are made fast. Little things help.

I think this part is huge. So often people think framing as stealing strikes by bringing a ball back into the zone, but equally important is avoiding bringing a strike OUT of the zone with poor receiving.

 

Narvaez really seemed to struggle with receiving pitches at the bottom of the zone and would flail at them, swinging his mitt out of the zone. He cost pitches like Rodon a ton of strikes by swiping at low sliders that caught the zone but were called balls because of how awkward the catcher was in receiving it.

 

The human nature thing is right - if the catcher moves as little as possible, pitcher hits the mitt/target, and the catcher doesn't need to adjust to receive it, the ump is naturally going to be inclined to think "that's a good pitch". Having a 'quiet' catcher that doesn't blow calls with poor receiving skills is just as important as stealing the odd strike, imo.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, runtheballdown said:

I used to think pitch framing is a joke. The umps read this stuff and they might even be offended when a catcher tries to frame a ball a strike.

but I’ve seen catchers who are jumping around behind the plate and can’t catch a ball smoothly make it hard on umps to call borderline pitches strikes so I now see some value in a guy. Whois quiet behind the plate giving his pitcher the best chance out three.

but the other hand the stat guys get ahold of a stat and drive in the ground so it’s probably not  as big a deal as the stat guys make i5. Out to be

You beat me to it haha

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It indisputably works. The ball is flying between 85-100 MPH, cutting, curving, diving, running, dropping, etc. Umps can only get such a good read on where exactly it crosses the plate. A catcher who absorbs a pitch effortlessly and with minimal movement can instantly shift it a couple inches over the corner? Let the ball travel a little further to fall into the zone? Go and get it as to not allow it to drop out of the zone? You won't even notice as an umpire. 

Also, as a guy who did catch in independent pro ball. I can tell you that umps will often literally tell you what they do and don't like with pitch presentation. "Don't turn the glove around, just catch it and stick it."... "Let those breaking balls come to you a bit more and they'll start turning into strikes."... etc. 

Think about a "get me over" kind of a curve ball that drops into the zone. If you reach and extend your elbow upward to go and get it? You're going to catch that ball high and it will look out of the zone. If you let it come down to your face/chest. That's going to get called a strike. 

Same with a low pitch. A ball crosses the middle of the plate, he sees that it's center cut... but the ump can't really tell EXACTLY how high it is off of the ground. If you get low and extend out/up with a stiff arm. Get slightly underneath it. You're going to catch it at a higher point. It's going to look like it is in the zone more than it would if you let it travel and you catch it nearly at the ground. 

Umps are only human. They're as susceptible to not seeing the difference of an inch or two on a 95 MPH pitch as a batter. 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Richie
  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The thing about pitch framing is it takes the pitcher completely out of the equation.  You can't tell me if Clayton Kershaw and Manny Banuelos throw the same exact pitch an inch off the black the catcher is the reason it's called a strike.  Clayton Kershaw will get that pitch because he's Clayton freakin Kershaw and Manny Bauelos will not because he's Manny freakin Banuelos.  Of course this can't be quantified so it's just ignored and all credit goes to the catcher.

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, runtheballdown said:

I used to think pitch framing is a joke. The umps read this stuff and they might even be offended when a catcher tries to frame a ball a strike.

but I’ve seen catchers who are jumping around behind the plate and can’t catch a ball smoothly make it hard on umps to call borderline pitches strikes so I now see some value in a guy. Whois quiet behind the plate giving his pitcher the best chance out three.

but the other hand the stat guys get ahold of a stat and drive in the ground so it’s probably not  as big a deal as the stat guys make i5. Out to be

I thought it was mostly a stat BP made up because they couldn't think of anything better.  Then I saw Omar Narvaez stab at the ball for a season and became absolutely convinced it plays a big (too big, the umps should be better) role in what pitches get called balls and strikes.

It's not even so much turning "borderline" pitches into strikes -- it's making sure obvious strikes get called strikes.  Omar loses so many fucking calls on the outside edge that are obviously 2/3 in the zone on pitch trax because he's diving out to get them and the ump is influenced.

I can't wait to watch Grandal 120 times next year behind the plate.  Should be good for about 5 calls a game going the Sox' way or so that previously wouldn't.  McCann isn't a very good framer either.  Grandal is elite.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This doesn't have anything to do with anything and I was never a Catcher but I think of it as shooting a moving target by leading it.

Catcher sets glove to where the pitch WILL be around earlier so it looks like a strike.  This probably doesn't make sense and I'm phrasing this poorly but this is how I think of it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Framing is no different than taking a flop in the NBA.  Or a soccer player writhing on the ground to show how badly he was fouled.  It's all schoolyard crap in a professional sport with careers and $millions at stake. This is why instant replay is everywhere and hopefully taking the human naivete out of the equation.  Or human limitations to properly track a 95mph slider.

Time for electronic umps at the plate.  They won't give a spit about gamesmanship, how you hold the glove, how smooth you are etc.  It's a ball, or it's a strike.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, JoeBatadatz said:

Framing is no different than taking a flop in the NBA.  Or a soccer player writhing on the ground to show how badly he was fouled.  It's all schoolyard crap in a professional sport with careers and $millions at stake. This is why instant replay is everywhere and hopefully taking the human naivete out of the equation.  Or human limitations to properly track a 95mph slider.

Time for electronic umps at the plate.  They won't give a spit about gamesmanship, how you hold the glove, how smooth you are etc.  It's a ball, or it's a strike.

 

I would have agreed with you until we signed Grandal.  Now framing gives us an edge.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To understand framing you have to first understand that there are no balls and strikes and there is no strike zone.

Tom tango has described that pretty well. There is a zone he called heart zone which most of the time is called a strike. And there is a waste zone which almost never is called a strike. 

 

And then there is a zone called shadow zone in which the chance for a strike call is about 50 50. The strike zone doesn't have a distinct edge, it is a human construct that doesn't physically exist and this means the inches around this imagined edge are very hard to tell for the ump as the ball is travelling extremely fast.

A good framer doesn't turn balls into strikes, what he does is getting more calls in the shadow zone by using better technique. You have to keep in mind that at 90 mph this is incredibly hard to tell. Due to how the eye works both the umpire and the batter will lose track of the ball the last 8-10 feet or so of ball flight and only see a blur that the brain extrapolates. This means he will use other tells to make the call and the catcher can be part of it, for example by holding the glove more quiet or by catching it out to in. Blatant pulling back of strikes will have a different effect though and usually not work.

So the difference is not stealing strikes that are way outside but maybe more like getting 55% of the calls in the shadow zone vs 45%. Over a whole game this will mean quite a few more calls.

 

Edited by Dominikk85
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Doesn't who is throwing the pitch factor in also?  Doesn't an established successful pitcher get those calls in the shadow zone more than a rookie or journeyman because he earned that respect?  Again you can't tell me if Max Scherzer and Dylan Covey throw a pitch in the shadow zone the only factor in if it's called a ball or a strike is the technique used to catch it.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
7 hours ago, Richie said:

It indisputably works. The ball is flying between 85-100 MPH, cutting, curving, diving, running, dropping, etc. Umps can only get such a good read on where exactly it crosses the plate. A catcher who absorbs a pitch effortlessly and with minimal movement can instantly shift it a couple inches over the corner? Let the ball travel a little further to fall into the zone? Go and get it as to not allow it to drop out of the zone? You won't even notice as an umpire. 

Also, as a guy who did catch in independent pro ball. I can tell you that umps will often literally tell you what they do and don't like with pitch presentation. "Don't turn the glove around, just catch it and stick it."... "Let those breaking balls come to you a bit more and they'll start turning into strikes."... etc. 

Think about a "get me over" kind of a curve ball that drops into the zone. If you reach and extend your elbow upward to go and get it? You're going to catch that ball high and it will look out of the zone. If you let it come down to your face/chest. That's going to get called a strike. 

Same with a low pitch. A ball crosses the middle of the plate, he sees that it's center cut... but the ump can't really tell EXACTLY how high it is off of the ground. If you get low and extend out/up with a stiff arm. Get slightly underneath it. You're going to catch it at a higher point. It's going to look like it is in the zone more than it would if you let it travel and you catch it nearly at the ground. 

Umps are only human. They're as susceptible to not seeing the difference of an inch or two on a 95 MPH pitch as a batter. 

 

 

 

 

Good post. It works because everything is so fast. Don't try It in little league or a pitcher that doesn't throw hard cause it won't work. I've caught and I could frame better with hard throwers than soft tossers

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Harold's Leg Lift said:

Doesn't who is throwing the pitch factor in also?  Doesn't an established successful pitcher get those calls in the shadow zone more than a rookie or journeyman because he earned that respect?  Again you can't tell me if Max Scherzer and Dylan Covey throw a pitch in the shadow zone the only factor in if it's called a ball or a strike is the technique used to catch it.  

Yes. And also the command itself of a pitcher. Catchers are taught to catch a ball out to in. This means for a low pitch at the knees you set up 2-3 inches below the knees and then move the glove slightly up to catch it. This only works if the pitcher has good command though because otherwise you have to move your glove too much. Everytime you have to move your glove away from the heart of the zone it likely won't be a strike. You see that with hs catchers, they will set up glove in the middle of the zone, stab down to catch it and then pull it into the zone again and this doesn't work.

Follow jerry weinstein on twitter if you want to learn about this. He is already like 70 years old but still one of the top player development guys in the game willing to learn the knewest tech stuff and probably the most respected catching development guy in the world.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple things that absolutely fascinate me about framing: prior to all the data coming out on this, we subjectively knew that framing was a real thing (I’ll never forget the effusive praise for Charles Johnson when we traded for him back circa 2000ish). However I don’t think we (or at least myself personally) realized quite how often some guys were getting extra calls. I kinda figured it was one here or there, but the data suggests that it happens all the time- several times a game. In retrospect, it makes sense too- the pitchers are the best of the best at this, and essentially live on the edge of the zone the entire game. 
 

 And secondly, I always knew it was a huge difference between being 2-1 vs. 1-2 or 1-0 vs. 0-1, but it’s super cool to be able to translate that combined with framing data into actual expected runs saved 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I do think it can influence an umpire to a degree. But obviously they read about pitch framing and may be more aware of it. I would think late in games a good framer may get a couple of close pitches. 

FWIW --As others have said, I think the pitching staff is still the key to how successful framing is. Grandal joined Milwakee in 2019 and they saw their walks go up slightly and their SO drop slightly over the previous year. I would bet that had more to do with the staff and the games themselves.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
15 hours ago, Dominikk85 said:

To understand framing you have to first understand that there are no balls and strikes and there is no strike zone.

Tom tango has described that pretty well. There is a zone he called heart zone which most of the time is called a strike. And there is a waste zone which almost never is called a strike. 

 

And then there is a zone called shadow zone in which the chance for a strike call is about 50 50. The strike zone doesn't have a distinct edge, it is a human construct that doesn't physically exist and this means the inches around this imagined edge are very hard to tell for the ump as the ball is travelling extremely fast.

A good framer doesn't turn balls into strikes, what he does is getting more calls in the shadow zone by using better technique. You have to keep in mind that at 90 mph this is incredibly hard to tell. Due to how the eye works both the umpire and the batter will lose track of the ball the last 8-10 feet or so of ball flight and only see a blur that the brain extrapolates. This means he will use other tells to make the call and the catcher can be part of it, for example by holding the glove more quiet or by catching it out to in. Blatant pulling back of strikes will have a different effect though and usually not work.

So the difference is not stealing strikes that are way outside but maybe more like getting 55% of the calls in the shadow zone vs 45%. Over a whole game this will mean quite a few more calls.

 

This is a fantastic post IMO. Also...like you mentioned...it's easy for somebody to "watch on tv"...but unless you've actually stood at the plate/caught/or umped and have seen what a 95mph baseball looks/sounds like it's hard to imagine.  Framing is such an extremely talented skill...almost second nature for the great ones.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Btw most catching coaches are saying framing is not so much about tricking the ump but about giving the ump a better look. It is not so much that good framers get strikes but that bad framers lose strikes by distracting the ump with too much move glove movement and other stuff.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ChiSox1917 said:

I think you're overestimating how easy it is to track a baseball moving at 90+ mph

He umpired little league though. None of those little shits were able to pull a fast one and pitch frame on him

  • Haha 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Dominikk85 said:

Btw most catching coaches are saying framing is not so much about tricking the ump but about giving the ump a better look. It is not so much that good framers get strikes but that bad framers lose strikes by distracting the ump with too much move glove movement and other stuff.

I think this makes more sense than anything and helps if the pitcher and catcher are on the same page. I also think this will all be a moot point in a yr. or 2 when they bring in the electronic eyes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Framing can be one of those important little things that players do to help win games, but having a stat involved to measure that particular skill set is BS to me.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×