Will Pitch Framing Help or Hurt the Cubs Next Year? And Other Bullets

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Will Pitch Framing Help or Hurt the Cubs Next Year? And Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

welington castilloIn his version of the Bullets this morning, Jay writes about a heartbreaking – but also warming – story about a player wholly unrelated to the Bears or the Cubs. Still, it’s worth a look, if only to count your blessings.

  • Pitch framing is one the vogue statistical front lines right now, with folks working very hard to interpret, analyze, and quantify the impact of dudes who are really good at nabbing extra strikes for their pitcher by the way they receive pitches. Two years ago, we all saw firsthand how damaging poor receiving skills can be in this area, as it was clearly something Welington Castillo needed to work on. And then he did – last year, Castillo’s defense was something of a revelation. He’d always had the good arm, and was decent at blocking pitches, but, to the eye, his framing also improved dramatically. FanGraphs takes a stab – get it? – at projecting framing values on a team-by-team basis for 2014 using 2013 framing data and projected playing time for 2014, and the Cubs … come up third to last, projected to lose 1.3 strikes per game based on poor framing. It appears that Castillo was still slightly below average last year at the skill – according to the data, at least – and the change from Dioner Navarro to George Kottaras at the back-up spot must be a healthy drop-off in framing ability, because the Cubs project to be almost a half-strike worse in 2014 than in 2013. Jeff Sullivan, the author, admits that the data is extremely thin here, and it’s mostly just a fun exercise. But at least now we know that pitch framing is still an issue to watch for the Cubs in 2014.
  • The Cubs took out a full-page ad in Chicago papers to honor Greg Maddux’s election to the Hall of Fame. And this CSN piece catalogs some of the national fawning Maddux is appropriately receiving.
  • More Baez-related prospect porn to start your day off right? Why not …

  • Given the incredible crop of shortstop prospects right now, having Baez just behind Bogaerts is awesome. That said, I can’t help but wonder if Callis temporarily forgot about Francisco Lindor, who is also right up there (probably ahead of Baez to most).
  • Enrollment for Cubs summer camps is underway.

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.