Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

With the arrival of 26-year-old Yasmani Grandal, A.J. Ellis will likely see less playing time, but he will not let that stop him from improving his game.

In a study, 80.1 percent of all pitches caught on the inside part of the strike zone were called strikes when Ellis was catching, ranking him 35th out of 42 in this study. With that in mind, Ellis is working on improving, as he told J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News Group:

I worked on stances, different ways to set up,” he said. “It’s no secret somewhere I’ve struggled, based on the statistical information, is framing metrics. … Hopefully I can turn that from a weakness into a strength.”

Along with the expectation he’ll be pushed for time by Grandal, Ellis pales in comparison when it comes to pitch framing. Whereas it may not have been a point of emphasis for Ellis, Grandal said in January framing pitches is something he’s worked on dating back to his days in college.

Ellis, 33, has played all seven years of his pro career with the Dodgers and 2015 will be the first time in the last three years he isn’t the team’s clearcut starting catcher. Although platooning with Grandal may cut into Ellis’ playing time, he said Thursday he isn’t concerned with his role.

Pitch framing was the least of Ellis’ worries in 2014, as most of his struggles came in the batter’s box. His slash finished at .191/.323/.254 for the season, his worst full year in the Majors. However, Ellis’ credit, he improved dramatically at the plate in the postseason.

While pitch framing may not be one of Ellis’ strong suits, he’s regularly been praised for his handling of the pitching staff. Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi said that influence was among the considerations the Dodgers took into account when deciding to re-sign Ellis.

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5 Responses

  1. Tmax

    It has taken this Front Office to get me to pay attention to a weird stat like pitch framing. I have always like Ellis as the pitchers have all thought he studied hard and because of that worked with the pitcher and came up with a solid game plan. Also during the game called a good game and was solid defensively

    Reply
    • dodgermutt

      Scioscia was great at framing pitches which gave the pitcher a few extra strikes per inning.

      Reply
    • Michael N. Norris

      T….just a question for you ok….what is Ellis’s lifetime BA? what is Grandal’s ? now, who has the most career passed balls? Who had the most last year? here are the answers…..Ellis is at .243 lifetime. Grandal . 245…..Grandal’s is skewed by the fact that he hit .297 his first year..since he has not been above .225. Ellis was injured pretty much from the beginning of the year so he only played 92 games, and had 2 passed balls,. He was the hottest hitter on the team in the 4 game playoff with StL. So once he got well,, he hit. Grandal played 76 games at C last year and had 12 passed balls,. He has 21 in 3 years, or 158 games behind the plate. Ellis has 22 passed balls in 7 YEARS< ,,,,and with guys like Greinke and Kersh and McCarthy who throw a lot of pitches in the dirt that hitters swing and miss, how many passed balls do you think Grandal will have this year….that means runners in scoring position and higher ERA's. Pitch framing? whoopee, If you cannot catch it it means nothing….

      Reply
      • Tmax

        You are so right on this. I have always been a big AJ Ellis fan as he works hard on studying the game and helping the Team develop a strategy for pitching the game. He is a hard-nosed old time catcher. He plays hurt which is why his batting average was down but he goes to work every game. I love the guy. I have never thought about pitch framing until these analytic nerds showed up. I am not even sure it is a real stat. But I will listen and see if it is real or not. But at the end of the day you have to block the ball and throw runners out. If you cannot do that then who the hell cares about pitch framing? I would not be so mad about this if we had not given up Kemp to get him.

      • Michael N. Norris

        It in my mind is the worst trade since Piazza was traded to Miami. We got 5 guys in that trade, Only 1 played more than 1 year as a Dodger……Gary Sheffield, and he was a total asshole. It was a 2 for 2. Fed Ex for Wieland, and Kemp for Grandal. Grandal is supposed to be this great prospect. If he is that good, why did the Padres play his butt at 1st base for about 50 games? And why pray tell did they trade him? because they got a legitimate star for NOTHING,

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