Whether you believe in pitch-framing or not, the Dodgers certainly do. According to baseball prospectus the Dodgers have two of the best pitch-framers in baseball in 2018. Dodger’s catchers, Yasmani Grandal and Austin Barnes each rank in the top ten respectively. Grandal ranks third and Barnes ranks eighth. For the record I do believe in pitch-framing and I think it’s a super valuable skill set. In these modern baseball times I think it’s a must for a backstop.
Pitch-framing is more of an art form these days than anything else. Or at least that’s my opinion. Pitch-framing is the skill of pulling a pitch that is originally out of the strike zone back into the strike zone. It is essentially fooling the home plate umpire into calling a ball a strike. It’s pretty simple, more strikes equals more outs, and more outs equals more wins.
Baseball Prospectus lists the top framers and Grandal has registered a 13.5 Framing runs score on their list. That means that Grandal has saved 13.5 runs for the Dodger’s pitching staff. Austin Barnes has a 9.2 framing runs value. Grandal has had over 6,000 framing chances and Barnes over 2,700 such chances.
Not only does Baseball Prospectus agree Stat corner does as well. Stat Corner measures all things pitch-framing wise and has Grandal and Barnes ranked second and third overall. Arizona catcher Jeff Mathis tops both lists as the best pitch-framer in MLB.
Now Barnes has had a terrible year at the plate. There is no question that Barnes is a horrendous hitter, one of the worst actually. However he’s one of the best pitch-framers, which is probably why the Dodgers keep him around. He certainly handles the pitching staff well enough. Of course all of this is by design as the Dodger management has preached pitch-framing to all of their catchers. Do you believe in pitch-framing? Because the Dodgers have two of the very best in the game.