Skip to content

Jose Molina, Russell Martin and the frame game

Apr 17, 2012, 9:44 AM EDT

Jose Molina AP

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. Matt Adams is hurt, so the Cardinals turn to Mark Reynolds

    May 27, 2015, 10:47 AM EDT

    matt adams getty Getty Images

    Adams hurt his quadriceps while running out a double.

  2. Video: Carlos Correa hit a monster home run in Fresno

    May 27, 2015, 10:30 AM EDT

    carlos correa getty Getty Images

    He has three homers and is hitting .283/.353/.500 in 14 Triple-A games. At the age of 20.

  3. Rays release Grant Balfour for the second time this season

    May 27, 2015, 10:15 AM EDT

    Grant Balfour AP

    Last month the Rays released right-hander Grant Balfour from his $7 million big-league contract and then re-signed him to a minor-league deal.

  4. Video: Kris Bryant hit a 477-foot homer off the new video board at Wrigley Field

    May 27, 2015, 9:52 AM EDT

    Kris Bryant Getty Images

    It smacked off the new video board at Wrigley Field, depriving the folks on Waveland Avenue of a home run ball.

  5. Breaking down the Braves-Dodgers trade

    May 27, 2015, 9:10 AM EDT

    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - APRIL 26: Juan Uribe #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers looks on during a game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on April 26, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) Getty Images

    No real clear winner, no real clear loser. Indeed, in this trade, that’s almost beside the point.

  6. Kevin Cash on umpiring in the Rays-M’s game: “It’s terrible. They ought to be embarrassed.”

    May 27, 2015, 8:42 AM EDT

    Kevin Cash Getty Images

    Major League Baseball will likely fine Cash for his postgame comments. Because, while umpires don’t have much apparent accountability for their actions, managers do.

  7. Justin Verlander threw four simulated innings on Tuesday

    May 26, 2015, 11:27 PM EDT

    justin verlander getty Getty Images

    Tigers right-hander Justin Verlander took what might be the final step before a rehab assignment Tuesday afternoon at Oakland’s O.Co Coliseum …

  8. Jean Segura to return from fractured pinkie on Friday

    May 26, 2015, 10:32 PM EDT

    jean segura getty Getty Images

    Brewers shortstop Jean Segura appeared to be in for an extended absence when he landed on the disabled list May 14 with a fracture in the pinkie on his throwing hand …

  9. So that Juan Uribe trade to the Braves is back on …

    May 26, 2015, 9:56 PM EDT

    uribe getty Getty Images

    FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal says the trade is done and is only awaiting approval from the commissioner’s office.

  10. Video: Hunter Pence hit a laser beam homer in Milwaukee

    May 26, 2015, 9:45 PM EDT

    hunter pence getty Getty Images

    Check out this laser shot that Hunter Pence crushed Tuesday night at Milwaukee’s Miller Park …

  11. Video: Josh Harrison recovers to make a sweet grab

    May 26, 2015, 8:13 PM EDT

    josh harrison getty Getty Images

    This wasn’t really a great catch by Josh Harrison because he bungled the route, but it did look cool …

  12. Ruben Amaro apologizes for comments about fans, admits he may have been late on rebuild

    May 26, 2015, 7:49 PM EDT

    amaro getty Getty Images

    Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. told Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com Monday that he is tired of fans who “bitch and complain” about the moves made by his front office. He went on an apology tour for those comments Tuesday …

  13. Matt Harvey fine to start Friday night against the Marlins after reports of “dead arm” problem

    May 26, 2015, 7:00 PM EDT

    matt harvey getty Getty Images

    Mets ace Matt Harvey had the worst start of his young major league career on Saturday against the Pirates, surrendering seven runs in four innings, and manager Terry Collins indicated a few days later that Harvey is fighting through a period of “dead arm.”

  14. Brandon Phillips reaggravated his turf toe

    May 26, 2015, 6:12 PM EDT

    brandon phillips getty Getty Images

    Reds second baseman Brandon Phillips missed back-to-back games earlier this month after being diagnosed with a painful case of turf toe in his left foot, and now the problem has resurfaced.

  15. Jonathan Lucroy expected to rejoin the Brewers on Monday

    May 26, 2015, 5:18 PM EDT

    Jonathan Lucroy Getty Getty Images

    Lucroy finished fourth in the MVP voting last season.

  16. Charter Communications to offer Dodgers broadcasts to its customers in Southern California

    May 26, 2015, 4:55 PM EDT

    dodgers logo

    Charter Communications customers in Glendale, Burbank, Malibu and Long Beach will be getting the Dodgers’ network within the next few weeks.

  17. Casey McGehee accepts Giants’ demotion to Triple-A

    May 26, 2015, 4:37 PM EDT

    casey mcgehee getty Getty Images

    McGehee and his $4.8 million salary predictably cleared waivers.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. J. Hamilton (3523)
  2. A. Pujols (3264)
  3. J. Lucroy (3222)
  4. Y. Puig (3068)
  5. D. Wright (3006)
  1. D. Travis (2958)
  2. B. Harper (2658)
  3. R. Castillo (2619)
  4. B. Zobrist (2447)
  5. A. Garcia (2435)