Ed. note: Time is in short supply during football season, meaning less time to do things like the Three Things. That doesn't mean I'm out of idea, however. In an effort to avoid those ideas from being lost to the ether, I'm starting this setup, where we run through quick ideas that might ordinarily take up one item on a Three Things. Today, that item is Jason Castro and catcher framing.
In talking about how phenomenal a season Jonathan Lucroy has had, Sky Kalkman brought up what his fWAR total might look like if it adjusted for pitch framing.
BPro puts Lucroy at +23 framing runs in 2014. Added to his 6.2 fWAR, that's nearly 9 WAR. (More than Mike Trout.)— Sky Kalkman (@Sky_Kalkman) September 22, 2014
FanGraphs' defensive valuation for catchers is far from complete, because it doesn't include anything for pitch framing. It does include defensive stats, and Jason Castro has done very well in them this season. That's why he's got 1.4 fWAR despite hitting so abysmally.
Yet, those defensive metrics deal largely with throwing out runners and blocking the plate. If we add in an adjustment for pitch framing?
Well, the quick calcuation Kalkman used was about 9 runs per Win Above Replacement. So, if Lucroy's total adds about 2.5 WAR, then Castro's 14.5 runs above average, according to Baseball Prospectus, would land him another 1.4 WAR.
Topped onto his season, that gives Castro close to 3 fWAR this season. It's still a drop from where he was at in a great 2013 campaign, but it doesn't look nearly as drastic. It also makes him the second-best position player on the team.
That also explains why he's likely not getting traded this winter for less than a haul. He's very valuable in lots of areas and has made huge strides both as a framer and a receiver in the last two or three years. Only 10 catchers have more runs from framing.