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FiveThirtyEight: Catcher Is Baseball’s Most Endangered Position (Write-Up about Rutschman with Quotes from Sig)

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The rebuilding Baltimore Orioles hope Adley Rutschman becomes the new face of the franchise. Dubbed the best MLB draft prospect since Bryce Harper by Baseball America, Rutschman was taken with the first overall pick last June, the first full-time catcher selected No. 1 since Joe Mauer in 2001. But he could also become a new archetype for his position: a catcher whose primary value is his hitting.

Rutschman told FiveThirtyEight that the story behind his bat is one of nurture as much as nature. As a young player, he taught himself to switch hit with the aid of his father, a baseball coach at George Fox University, a Division III school in Oregon. They would head to the college field with a 5-gallon bucket of balls, or he would hit into a portable net in their home’s driveway. After his freshman season at Oregon State, when he hit just .234, Rutschman rebuilt his swing to add more lift and power. As a sophomore with the Beavers, Rutschman slashed .408/.505/.628, helping the school to a College World Series title and setting a series record for hits. He was even better as a junior, batting .411 with a 1.326 OPS. MLB.com and FanGraphs project him for above-average hitting and power in the majors.

In striving to improve, Rutschman tries to embrace change. “Being OK with being uncomfortable is a huge thing I like to go by,” he told FiveThirtyEight.

Orioles assistant general manager Sig Mejdal said the team had considered that catchers’ defensive value could be threatened before they selected Rutschman with the No. 1 overall pick. But Rutschman has a strong arm, and the throwing component will always be a part of the position, Mejdal noted. Rutschman has received high grades for his all-around ability behind the plate and hitting at it. Rustschman graded as an average framer in a small minor league sample last summer, but some evaluators are bullish on his framing upside.

“I think how we evaluated catchers a decade ago or two decades ago, when we really didn’t appreciate pitch framing, I think we would return to those times” if the value of framing diminishes, Mejdal said. “Of course, there are less stolen bases in the game now, but I still think there is going to be significant appreciation of their defensive skills.”

That appreciation could perhaps include skills that have largely been unquantifiable to date. Mejdal said the new Orioles regime has begun to investigate the value of pitch calling. “It’s irresponsible not to,” he said.

 

https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/catcher-is-baseballs-most-endangered-position/

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How is a bat first catcher a new archetype?

 

Also how can he be that guy when his defense grades as plus?

 

Is Sig just saying framing is overrated?

 

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18 minutes ago, Can_of_corn said:

 

 

Is Sig just saying framing is overrated?

 

Sig would be right. 

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1 hour ago, Can_of_corn said:

How is a bat first catcher a new archetype?

 

Also how can he be that guy when his defense grades as plus?

 

Is Sig just saying framing is overrated?

 

It's that it becomes irrelevant if an automated strike zone is implemented. Add to that less SBs and the catcher becomes more of an offensive position.

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42 minutes ago, scOtt said:

It's that it becomes irrelevant if an automated strike zone is implemented. Add to that less SBs and the catcher becomes more of an offensive position.

Right.  He's not saying it's overrated now, in that some catchers can fool the ump into calling balls strikes.  But in a few years strikes will be strikes and balls will be balls and all this framing nonsense will be history.

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1 hour ago, Redskins Rick said:

Then why would you so down on Wieters and his "framing"????

Probably because it's a thing now, and was then.  It's a little like the ability to hide an extra ball in the tall outfield grass in 1890s.  It's a little devious, and technology (gas mowers) came along that eliminated it.  But if you couldn't do it back in the day you were behind the curve.

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2 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

Probably because it's a thing now, and was then.  It's a little like the ability to hide an extra ball in the tall outfield grass in 1890s.  It's a little devious, and technology (gas mowers) came along that eliminated it.  But if you couldn't do it back in the day you were behind the curve.

My own mindset of this whole thing is. Framing ability is nice to have and can help you.

But there are so many other catcher attributes that I want them to have:

1. Cannon and accurate arm

2. General in charge of the players and where they need to be.

3. Ability to snap throw to first or 3rd from his knees.

4. keeping the ball in front of him, on bad pitches

5. Ability to communicate with the pitcher on the mound, keep them focused and calm.

But thats just me.

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35 minutes ago, Redskins Rick said:

My own mindset of this whole thing is. Framing ability is nice to have and can help you.

But there are so many other catcher attributes that I want them to have:

1. Cannon and accurate arm

2. General in charge of the players and where they need to be.

3. Ability to snap throw to first or 3rd from his knees.

4. keeping the ball in front of him, on bad pitches

5. Ability to communicate with the pitcher on the mound, keep them focused and calm.

But thats just me.

6.Speed in putting equipment back on in between innings when they make the last out.    I hate waiting.  

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1 minute ago, tntoriole said:

6.Speed in putting equipment back on in between innings when they make the last out.    I hate waiting.  

Very true LOL

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2 hours ago, Redskins Rick said:

Then why would you so down on Wieters and his "framing"????

Please find me quotes of me being "so down" on Wieters and his framing.

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1 hour ago, Redskins Rick said:

My own mindset of this whole thing is. Framing ability is nice to have and can help you.

But there are so many other catcher attributes that I want them to have:

1. Cannon and accurate arm

2. General in charge of the players and where they need to be.

3. Ability to snap throw to first or 3rd from his knees.

4. keeping the ball in front of him, on bad pitches

5. Ability to communicate with the pitcher on the mound, keep them focused and calm.

But thats just me.

That's why you do the math, so you can figure out the relative importance of each of those.  It at least appears that in edge cases framing is hugely important, much more so than most of the rest of your list, which I find ridiculous and in desperate need of fixing.

Folks like Tom Tango, who I very much trust, stick by the current framing metrics.  Which means at the extremes like Molina and Doumit framing has more of an impact per inning or game than a top hitter.  It's comical, baseball should be embarrassed by it, but it's apparently true.

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22 minutes ago, DrungoHazewood said:

That's why you do the math, so you can figure out the relative importance of each of those.  It at least appears that in edge cases framing is hugely important, much more so than most of the rest of your list, which I find ridiculous and in desperate need of fixing.

Folks like Tom Tango, who I very much trust, stick by the current framing metrics.  Which means at the extremes like Molina and Doumit framing has more of an impact per inning or game than a top hitter.  It's comical, baseball should be embarrassed by it, but it's apparently true.

Probably because I am old as dirt and grew up playing and learning the game in a diff era, and havent kept up with the game.

I find it amusing that Sig and Elias dont believe to much in framing, which leads me to believe its just over emphasis.

But, thats just my own belief.

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1 hour ago, DrungoHazewood said:

That's why you do the math, so you can figure out the relative importance of each of those.  It at least appears that in edge cases framing is hugely important, much more so than most of the rest of your list, which I find ridiculous and in desperate need of fixing.

Folks like Tom Tango, who I very much trust, stick by the current framing metrics.  Which means at the extremes like Molina and Doumit framing has more of an impact per inning or game than a top hitter.  It's comical, baseball should be embarrassed by it, but it's apparently true.

If that was true it would show up in free agent contacts.

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