Skip to content

Jose Molina, Russell Martin and the frame game

Apr 17, 2012, 9:44 AM EST

Jose Molina

One last thing on the Cody Ross strikeout:  feel pity for Ross, feel some aggravation at umpire Larry Vanover, but let us not slight Jose Molina, whose pitch framing is about as good as it gets in baseball and, as Bradley Woodrum notes at FanGraphs today, was likely the biggest reason that call went the way it went.

That link has a lot of detail about pitch location and framing.  But if it’s too much for you, the topic of a catcher’s influence on the game is tackled in a less complicated fashion in Anna McDonald’s piece from ESPN yesterday about Russell Martin, which also touches on Molina’s greatness in this area:

Martin’s ability to frame pitches is recognized throughout baseball. Through extensive statistical research, Max Marchi of Baseball Prospectus recently pinpointed Martin as the second best catcher (behind Brian McCann) in the major leagues over the past four years in framing pitches — receiving that borderline pitch and influencing umpires to call a strike.

Cashman said he “very much so” takes advanced statistics and research into consideration when evaluating the work of a catcher. With the wealth of data now available via the Pitch f/x system, researchers like Marchi are digging into catchers’ abilities in framing pitches, blocking pitches in the dirt, controlling the running game and fielding bunts. A major reason the Rays signed career backup Jose Molina to become their starting catcher was data that showed he was one of the best at framing pitches.

It’s an art form, really. And even though I often wish we had robots calling balls and strikes, I can’t lie and say that a good frame job by a catcher isn’t something amazing to see.

Latest Posts
  1. No, the Red Sox signing Pablo and Hanley is not proof that baseball needs a salary cap

    Nov 26, 2014, 8:00 AM EST

    Hanley Ramirez AP

    It’s like clockwork. A team signs a big free agent or two and someone argues that baseball is doomed without a salary cap. It’s always baloney, of course.

  2. Giants casting “wide net” that includes Max Scherzer

    Nov 25, 2014, 10:12 PM EST

    max scherzer getty Getty Images

    Max Scherzer, a client of Scott Boras, seems comfortable with slow-playing this market. We’ve seen loads of rumors and reports involving the other prominent free agent ace, Jon Lester, but it’s hard to identify which teams are in the running at the moment for Max. The Giants may be one …

  3. Lucas Harrell, Jim Adduci both sign contracts in Korea

    Nov 25, 2014, 8:47 PM EST

    kbo logo

    Via Jeeho Yoo of Seoul’s Yonhap News, right-hander Lucas Harrell and outfielder Jim Adduci both agreed to one-year deals Tuesday in the Korea Baseball Organization — Harrell with the KIA Tigers for $900K and Adduci with the Lotte Giants for $650K.

  4. Diamondbacks “among teams pushing hardest” for Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas

    Nov 25, 2014, 7:51 PM EST

    yasmany tomas getty Getty Images

    Arizona has been mentioned before as a potential landing spot for Cuban outfielder Yasmany Tomas, but it was never really considered a strong likelihood. Maybe that perception should be changing …

  5. Red Sox announce four-year, $88 million deal with Hanley Ramirez, DFA Juan Francisco

    Nov 25, 2014, 6:38 PM EST

    red sox logo

    The Red Sox have officially introduced Hanley Ramirez and his new four-year, $88 million pact. Juan Francisco was DFA’d in the process.

  6. Yu Darvish has been cleared to resume throwing

    Nov 25, 2014, 5:40 PM EST

    Yu Darvish AP AP

    Darvish missed the final six weeks of the season with an elbow injury.

  7. The Senate will hold a hearing about domestic violence in professional sports

    Nov 25, 2014, 5:25 PM EST

    Capitol

    Possibly well-intentioned, possibly grandstanding. But it’s hard to see how this is in Congress’ bailiwick.

  8. Indians interested in Chase Headley

    Nov 25, 2014, 4:46 PM EST

    Chase Headley AP

    What would happen to Lonnie Chisenhall?

  9. The Cubs have offered Jon Lester “north of $135 million”

    Nov 25, 2014, 3:46 PM EST

    jon lester getty Getty Images

    Based on what we know at the moment, the Cubs’ offer is the richest one out there.

  10. Twins drop arbitration eligible Anthony Swarzak

    Nov 25, 2014, 3:15 PM EST

    swarzak getty Getty Images

    Swarzak was due for a raise to around $1.5 million via arbitration.

  11. How Twitter has changed baseball coverage. Which is part of the story, anyway.

    Nov 25, 2014, 3:03 PM EST

    Typewriter

    Technology itself hasn’t changed how reporters do their jobs. Rather reader demand, newly obvious by technology, has done so.

  12. Daisuke Matsuzaka is going back to Japan

    Nov 25, 2014, 1:47 PM EST

    Daisuke Matsuzaka Getty Getty Images

    Matsuzaka spent the past two seasons with the Mets.

  13. Dave Martinez is leaving the Rays after being passed over for manager

    Nov 25, 2014, 1:20 PM EST

    Dave Martinez, Joe Maddon Getty Images

    Martinez served as Joe Maddon’s right-hand man since 2008.

  14. The Mariners have spoken with the Red Sox about Yoenis Cespedes

    Nov 25, 2014, 1:00 PM EST

    cespedes getty Getty Images

    They’ve been linked to Justin Upton and Matt Kemp. But another power bat is a possibility.

  15. Red Sox designate Ryan Lavarnway for assignment

    Nov 25, 2014, 12:46 PM EST

    Ryan Lavarnway Getty Images

    Lavarnway was once a top-100 prospect.

  16. Mets interested in Craig Breslow

    Nov 25, 2014, 12:15 PM EST

    Craig Breslow Getty Getty Images

    Breslow spent the past three seasons with the Red Sox.

  17. Let go of your Troy Tulowitzki fantasies, Yankees fans

    Nov 25, 2014, 11:03 AM EST

    troy tulowitzki getty Getty Images

    At least to the extent you still have them. Because it ain’t happening.

  18. More Hall of Fame ballots like Adam Rubin’s please

    Nov 25, 2014, 10:30 AM EST

    10 METS FAYTOK

    The first rule of Hall of Fame Ballot Club: Use all ten slots on your ballot. The second rule of Hall of Fame Ballot Club: USE ALL TEN SLOTS ON YOUR BALLOT.

  19. Phillies sign Chris Nelson

    Nov 25, 2014, 10:15 AM EST

    Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v New York Yankees Getty Images

    Nelson was the ninth overall pick in the 2004 draft.

Featured video

Maddon has high hopes for Cubs
Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. P. Sandoval (5803)
  2. Y. Tomas (4006)
  3. H. Ramirez (3842)
  4. J. Lester (3355)
  5. A. LaRoche (2304)
  1. J. Upton (2249)
  2. J. Bruce (2219)
  3. T. Hunter (2043)
  4. I. Davis (2041)
  5. M. Scherzer (1923)