Originally written on Fragile Freddy's  |  Last updated 11/18/14
New_york_yankees_2159
While little of substance has happened in the off-season so far one significant move may have occurred to make an AL East competitor of the Red Sox four games better than they were a year ago.  The Tampa Bay Rays have inked catcher Jose Molina to a contract for the 2012 season and shuttled John Jaso to Seattle. You may say “hold on, Jose Molina is worth four games?”  and I would not argue at first.   There is a lot of work being done on catcher defense out there and apparently there is an argument that Molina could be this valuable. Recent work by Mike Fast at Baseball Prospectus has shed new light on the import of a catcher’s ability to “frame pitches.”  This is the act of receiving a pitch in a manner that makes it more likely to be called a strike even if it is not in the strike zone. The folks at Drays Bay used this information, plus data from a Hardball Times study on pitch blocking, to create the following chart (shamelessly stolen from Drays Bay); ...
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