When he was acquired for Matt Kemp, one thing we heard a ton about was how Yasmani Grandal affects the game defensively. Thanks to a graph put together by Baseball Prospectus, we can see some of what exactly Grandal offers behind home plate. It’s pretty impressive.
The tweet and graph below is a list of catchers and the number of runs they saved with framing and blocking the plate.
2015 leaders in framing + blocking runs. Framing accounts for most of the variance. Posey helped most by blocking pic.twitter.com/EMdb1EBZQi
— Baseball Prospectus (@baseballpro) November 2, 2015
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The immediate counter I’m sure we’ll get a nauseating amount of is how this is just another example of spreadsheet baseball, but saving upwards of 25 runs defensively with just two statistical categories is nothing to scoff at. That he saved five more runs than the next guy on the list is pretty noteworthy, too, considering how close everyone else was to each other.
Baseball Prospectus also doesn’t take into account assists from behind the plate here, as throwing someone out on the base paths tends to have at least as much to do with the pitcher as any catcher’s throwing motion and arm strength. The list only focuses on things solely within the catcher’s control, which makes sense in this context.
As we all know, Grandal’s season was severely hampered by a nagging shoulder injury that needed surgery soon after the season ended. Yes, Grandal struggled with the bat at times. Yes, stats and topics like this require math and stuff. Neither of those two points have anything to do with the value Grandal offered defensively this season.