The Los Angeles Dodgers new front office consists of plenty of executives that rely on these types of stats to help them construct a roster. Defensive liabilities Hanley Ramirez and Matt Kemp are no longer in Los Angeles, while defensive upgrades such as Jimmy Rollins and Joc Pederson will likely man those positions. Catcher Yasmani Grandal was the biggest piece of the Matt Kemp trade with the San Diego Padres, and much of the hype surrounding the 26-year-old catcher was his ability to frame pitches.
In an interview on Dodger Talk on AM 570 Radio, Grandal spoke about his skill:
That’s something I’ve been doing for a long time. It’s just something that we worked on while I was in college and it’s just the way that I been catching for a long time.
While he is considered one of the better catchers in terms of pitch framing, he doesn’t read too much into it because it’s something he’s always done:
I don’t give it too much thought. I always liked to play games while I’m back catching and try to see how many strikes I could get off an umpire.
Last year, Grandal ranked sixth among catchers in the number of runs saved by getting extra strikes. Over the entire season, Grandal added 120 strikes to his pitchers. Meanwhile, Dodger starter A.J. Ellis cost his pitcher over 45 strikes and about seven runs. These advanced stats show that even though Grandal struggled with passed balls and baserunners, he still brings value behind the plate. It appeared Grandal never recovered from a 2013 knee injury, which could help his passed balls and throwing out baserunners in 2015.
Expect a lot more looking strikes in 2015, and it will be on purpose with the acquisition of Grandal.