I Was Framed: Catching Metrics Paint Favorable Picture of Miguel Montero

Ever since Miguel Montero was acquired via trade from the Diamondbacks, a great deal has been made about framing and how much better Montero is at it than Welington Castillo. This raises a couple questions though: What does it actually mean to be good at framing? What exactly goes into this metric?

StatCorner.com is a site that has framing stats all the way back to 2007. Several factors play into these metrics, with the ultimate rating being how many runs above average (RAA) a catcher’s framing is worth. The other main stats are as follows:

  • Sample: the number of pitches caught during a season
  • zBall%: Percentage of pitches caught in the zone but called a ball
  • oStr%: Percentage of pitches caught out of the zone but called a strike
  • +Calls: Number of positive calls a catcher gets (total number of oStr minus total number of zBall)
  • PerGame: Average of how many +Calls a catcher gets per game (+Calls/games played)
  • RAA: Runs above average (AVG=0) saved by the catcher’s framing

With all those definitions in mind, we can actually look at Montero and how he stacked up against incumbent Cubs catcher Welington Castillo. I will focus on the last two seasons for each, starting with 2013 (courtesy of StatCorner):



zBall% oStr% +Calls PerGame


Miguel Montero







Welington Castillo







The sample size was very close in 2013, but the results were not quite even. I will give a little bit away early here and let you know that Montero was an absolute framing stud in 2014, so the above numbers were a little surprising to me.

There are some glaring figures that stick out right away here. First of all, Montero had a lower percentage of balls called on pitches in the zone and a slightly higher percentage of strike calls out of the zone. The difference in these numbers obviously led to Montero having a better number of +Calls (despite the fact that it was still not a very good number).

Both catchers were below average in the RAA stat; for a frame of reference (pun intended), the 2013 leader was Jonathan Lucroy, who put up 29.7 RAA. Montero was clearly much better than Castillo, even though he was still considered below average. But just wait ’til you get a look at 2014 framing stats for both (again, courtesy of StatCorner):



zBall% oStr% +Calls PerGame


Miguel Montero







Welington Castillo







OK, so Montero stepped his frame game up quite a bit last season and ended up with the best RAA of all catchers in 2014. Castillo, on the other hand, was -.1 away from being the worst catcher in all of baseball when it came to framing.

Montero improved by getting a great deal more calls on pitches out of the zone for strikes while having fewer actual strikes called balls. He earned his pitchers almost 1.5 extra strikes per game, whereas Beef cost the Cubs almost two strikes per game in 2014.

These numbers seem almost unsustainably high for Montero (he did have 6.6 RAA in 2012), but Castillo’s metrics behind the plate appear to be pretty consistent. That is not to say that he can’t develop these skills; perhaps having Montero around will even help in that regard. Of course, that is dependent on the Cubs keeping Castillo, the odds which seem to drop daily.

Framing metrics been around for a little while now and continue to get more play in conversations regarding the value of catchers. And just in case David Ross comes aboard the 2015 Cubs train, he had 13.6 RAA in 2012, 7.9 in 2013 and 10.5 in 2014. A Ross/Montero tandem has a really good chance to be exponentially better at framing than a backstop duo that involves Castillo.

Back to top button