2015 Blue Jays Defence, better than last years?
Feb 25, 2015; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcherRussell Martin
(55) work out during spring training atBobby Mattick
Training Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
It will come as no shock to anyone reading the piece that a significant upgrade was made at catcher this season. In 2014, the Jays allowed Dioner Navarro to receive the bulk of the innings behind the dish, taking over from the nauseatingly brutal J.P Arencibia.
According to FanGraphs advanced analytics, not including pitch framing, Navarro did an adequate job in his inaugural season. He caught 907 innings, throwing out 15 of a total 73 attempted stolen bases on the season. The problem is that throwing out base stealers accounts for only a fraction of the job description.
Pitch framing or more simplified, receiving, can be far more important. Last season, Navarro was the third worst pitch framer in the major leagues, recording a woeful -20.0 RAA (pitch framing metric).
The good news is that their new catcher Russell Martin is far superior. Last season, according to the only publicly available data, Martin had the 10th best RAA at 11.7, 31.7 runs or 233 calls better than Navarro. Not surprisingly, the Pirates ranked fourth in league defence for catchers.
Consequently, one of the noticeable differences to the Jays’ defence this season will be behind the dish with Martin framing his way to success.