NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Minnesota Twins signed Jason Castro to a three-year, $24.5 million deal in November in spite of a rough history as a hitter, and at least partly because Castro has been one of the dominant catchers in pitch-framing statistics, which theoretically reflects the ability to present pitches to umpires in a way that makes them look like strikes.
Castro ranked fifth among all catchers last season in one pitch-framing metric, as compiled by Catcher Report, after finishing in the top 10 the year before. During the postseason, Cleveland catcher Roberto Perez seemingly turned borderline pitches from Corey Kluber, Josh Tomlin, Ryan Merritt and other Indians pitchers into strikes, a performance thought to have made the difference for the Indians as they advanced to Game 7 of the World Series.
Pitch-framing is a skill that teams have increasingly sought and paid for, and more and more, teams give evaluation demerits to catchers who don’t rate highly. Matt Wieters is seemingly one catcher who has been hurt by this, after finishing low in these metrics.
Wieters is looking for a job now, at a time when the Orioles are looking for a frontline catcher, one of the 10 biggest holes in the market among teams that are working to contend in 2017.