WHY DO UMPIRES LET CATCHERS FRAME PITCHES SO OFTEN? A year ago, I described here some of the things that catchers do to persuade umpires that a ball was really a strike. I posted here about the recent emphasis on the importance that pitch framing by catchers plays in winning baseball games. Two recent statistical studies suggest that the difference between a catcher who is good at framing pitches and one who is bad is about .33 runs per game (one third of a run per game) or about four wins a year.

Nick raised an interesting question with me recently. Now that the importance of pitch framing has been established, why haven’t umpires changed their pitch calling to reduce its impact? For example, they could make an effort to avoid being influenced by the catcher’s glove. Or, as an extreme example, when a catcher who is good at pitch framing is behind the plate, they could call what seem to be close pitches strikes rather than balls.

It doesn’t seem to have happened yet.

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