HOW CATCHERS FRAME PITCHES. Here is an excellent article on the Grantland website by Ben Lindbergh with wonderfully chosen examples which illustrate the subtleties of the art. Videos at the site compare two catchers receiving pitches which are just the same in terms of location. One catcher, Yadier Molina, frames the pitch so that it is called a strike. The other catcher—Ryan Doumit, respected for his hitting rather than his defense— frames it badly so that it is called a ball.
Lindbergh analyzes some of the things that Molina does to frame the pitch. He sets up closer to where the pitch will arrive so that he can catch it in the middle of his body. Doumit reaches for the ball. Molina’s head stays still when he catches the ball. Doumit’s head jerks. Doumit’s glove overshoots when he reaches down for the ball, and then it comes back up. Molina’s glove never goes below where he catches the ball. Major league pitches have high velocity and lots of sharp movement. Doing what Molina does takes lots and lots of practice.