Between blocking pitches in the dirt, taking foul tips off the mask, chest protector and various body parts, calling a game, managing a staff and other responsibilities, it is safe to say Cubs catchers don’t have a glamorous job.
But they are excellent at their craft. Specifically, for the purposes of this post, anyway, in the pitch framing department.
Baseball Prospectus and StatCorner do an excellent ob rounding up the important numbers, with regard to pitch framing ability. And it should come of no surprise that the leaderboard features the Cubs’ catching tandem.
BP has Miguel Montero’s 16.6 framing runs added as the fourth best in baseball. Montero, who saw his number improve from 13.6 in 2014, is in the top 10 in this particular category for the second straight season and third time in four years.
Teammate David Ross ranked 20th with 5.5 framing runs added, which is impressive in a sense because he did so in 2,686 fewer chances than Montero.
Montero also ranked fourth with 112 extra strikes, while Ross’ 37.1 extra strikes ranked 20th.
The Cubs’ catchers also rate high on the StatCorner leaderboards.
Ross did rate higher than Montero in added calls per game, as his 1.53 ranked fifth among catchers. However, Montero ranked sixth in runs above average (13.3), while Ross’ 8.7 ranked 12th.
For what it’s worth, Kyle Schwarber still has a ways to go to gain the kind of defensive prowess that Ross and Montero each possess.
StatCorner’s reports have Schwarber’s defense in framing valued at -1.5 RAA, -11 +calls and -0.76 calls per game in a 1,153 chance sample size. As for as Baseball Prospectus is concerned, Schwarber had -1.7 extra strikes and -0.3 framing runs added by count.
In fairness to Schwarber, he is still in the learning stages of his catching career. So, it might not be fair to judge him too harshly at this time.