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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Framing pitches by catchers: doesn't that mean there's a serious problem with calling balls and strikes?

The other night the announcer mentioned how far inside the plate umpire had his head.  It was several inches off the inside corner of home plate, which put it quite a distance from the outside corner.

Umpire Mike Reilly in Colorado
That suggests to me that the umpire is guessing about outside pitches.  The ump is also crouched low behind the catcher for protection, which makes pitches above the belt another guess.

Result: not a smaller strike zone but a wider, lower strike zone.  This allows batters to golf balls into the air for more home run opportunities.

Two rules are persistently being violated:

1. The catcher must be in the catcher's box.  The catcher usually has one foot outside.

2. The plate umpire should be directly behind the plate.  The ump travels with the catcher.

In previous posts I described how catcher's actually stood when receiving the ball:

Catchers: squat to give signs, then stand to receive the pitch? Is that the evolution?  Sunday, April 6, 2014

Here's a major article in Baseball Prospectus on framing pitches:

March 3, 2014
Framing and Blocking Pitches: A Regressed, Probabilistic Model
A New Method for Measuring Catcher Defense
by Harry Pavlidis and Dan Brooks

Instead of exploiting the problem, how about solving it?  Some suggestions:

Imaginary strike zone can be made real: a unifying theory.  Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Balloon chest protector would improve strike calling.  Thursday, February 7, 2013

Catcher? We Don’t Need No Stinking Catcher!  Monday, March 11, 2013


Cliff Blau said...

About a third of called strikes are on pitches outside the strike zone. That means there's a serious problem. http://www.beyondtheboxscore.com/2014/5/1/5668626/john-smoltz-strike-zone-baseball-pitchfx

Kenneth Matinale said...

That and pitches taken for balls that are strikes.