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※ 本文為 dinos 轉寄自 ptt.cc 更新時間: 2013-07-12 21:45:17
看板 MLB
作者 kelpiejo (開啤酒)
標題
 [翻譯] Art of Pitch Framing 捕手的尾勁 (下)

時間 Fri Jul 12 21:09:13 2013


依舊附上原文連結:http://goo.gl/tWt4g
Studying the art of pitch framing by catchers such as Francisco Cervelli, Chris Stewart, Jose Molina, and others - Grantland
[圖]
Trying to turn balls into strikes isn't new, but the catchers who do it well may soon be more prized than ever. ...
 

Video is widely available through the minors, but the pitch-tracking
technology that has made the Molina name more famous has penetrated only so
far. According to one front-office source, about 40 minor league ballparks
have a PITCHf/x system installed, and about 25 are equipped with Trackman (a
competing ball-tracking technology that relies on Doppler radar). Around 20
of the 30 parent clubs have at least one affiliate with one of the two
systems in place, with the highest concentration at Triple-A. The teams pool
much of the information that's collected; the more of your own PITCHf/x or
Trackman data you elect to share with others, the more you receive in return
(although clubs generally keep info from non-league events held in their
stadiums — workouts, high school and college games — to themselves).

在小聯盟,錄影技術非常普遍,但是讓Molina更出名的投球追蹤系統才剛起步。根據某球
團透露,大約有40個小聯盟球場裝有PITCHf/x系統,有25個球場裝有Trackman系統(一種
依賴都卜勒雷達的系統)。30個球團中,大約有20個在至少某個小聯盟層級裝有這樣的配
備,大多集中在3A。這些球團共用這些系統的資訊,你分享的越多,得到的就也越多。(
雖然球團會把非正式比賽的數據自己留著,包括練球、高中比賽、大學比賽等等。)


Still, 65 ballparks with ball-tracking technology just scratches the surface
of professional baseball below the big leagues. Even in 2013, seven years
after the first PITCHf/x systems were installed in big league ballparks, most
of the minors — to say nothing of amateur and international baseball — are
a ball-tracking blind spot. That means that receiving skills still have to be
evaluated the old-fashioned way (with actual eyes) and the slightly less
old-fashioned way (via video).6

但是,以小聯盟來說,65個球場只是九牛一毛。2013年了,PITCHf/x系統在大聯盟球場已
經裝了七年了,大部分的小聯盟球場──學生棒球和其他國家就別提了──依然是投球追
蹤系統的盲區。這表示,要評估接捕能力,還是要靠肉眼這種老派的方式,在加上比這在
新潮一點點的方式,錄影。


That's not really a problem, because the search for good framers, like almost
every other pursuit in the modern front office, works best with input from
both stats and scouts. Over small samples, an experienced scout or instructor
can tell you more about someone's receiving skills than a computer connected
to a camera can, especially at levels where it's more difficult for catchers
to frame pitches because the pitchers can't hit the target consistently.
Opinions vary on exactly how long it takes to evaluate a catcher's receiving
skills, but the consensus is that the assessment comes quickly.

這不是什麼大問題,因為要找具備好的接捕能力的捕手,就跟現在球團要做的任何事情一
樣,需要數據和球探來綜合評估。樣本太小的話,要辨別接捕能力,有經驗的球探和教練
比電腦還要管用,尤其是有的層級的比賽裡,捕手根本很難當,因為投手根本丟不準。要
花多久才能評估一個捕手的接捕能力,這一點還眾說紛紜,不過大家都同意用數據套下去
就很快了。


Yankees catcher Chris Stewart confidently says he can spot a strong receiver
in five to 10 pitches. Others offer more conservative estimates. "I think you
need a couple of games to give a truthful evaluation," Yeager says. "You have
to see a guy catch a couple of days, and you have to see him catch three or
four different pitchers, because every pitcher's different."

洋基捕手Stewart信心滿滿地說他只需要五到十球就可以看出一個捕手是不是會接球,其
他人就保守多了。Yeager說:「我想,要得到一個真實一點的評估,需要幾場比賽。你得
看他接個幾天,然後得看他接三四個不同的投手,因為每個投手都不一樣。」


That snap judgment is just the start. Once you've acquired a catcher with
some raw talent for framing, the real work begins. There's no
one-size-fits-all plan for grooming great receivers — and not every catching
instructor agrees on the proper way to receive pitches — but there are,
generally, two types of improvements a player can make. There's the
mechanical change, which can be adopted immediately, and the incremental
increase in comfort and confidence that comes with experience, repetition,
and familiarity with a pitching staff.

快速判斷只是個起頭而已。當你有了具備尚未成熟的接球天分的捕手後,真正的工作才要
開始。要培養出一個好的接捕能力沒有標準流程(而且並不是每個教練都同意所謂正確接
捕的方式),但是基本上一個球員可以達到兩種程度的進步。第一是機制的改變,這是可
以立竿見影的,而要接的越來越有信心,越來越舒服,就需要更多的經驗、不停地重複一
樣的動作,然後和投手群混熟一點。


Some catchers are framing fixer-uppers, just a few exterior alterations away
from becoming much more valuable properties. For Diamondbacks bullpen coach
Glenn Sherlock, a former minor league catcher and an experienced catching
instructor whom Arizona GM Kevin Towers credits with turning Miguel Montero
into a good framer, the first fix is glove height. "I think catchers' targets
at the bottom of the zone is so important," he says. "You see a lot of
catchers who have high targets and take the balls out of the strike zone."7

有的捕手在接捕能力上就像老房子一樣,只要稍加修補,就有長足進步。響尾蛇的牛棚教
練Glenn Sherlock就是GM Kevin Towers找來修補Miguel Montero的。Sherlock認為,第
一步是要改變手套的高度,他說:「捕手把投球的目標訂在好球帶下緣超重要。常看到很
多捕手把目標設太高,然後就把球帶出好球帶了。」


Stewart recalls a mechanical tweak that helped him in 2008: "I had my thumb
pointing down. That's kind of the natural way you learn to catch. But
[Yankees bench coach Tony Pena] had me turn my glove so my thumb was more
pointing toward the second baseman area instead of pointing down at the
plate. It helped me work on balls coming on my left side easier. I didn't
have to turn my whole arm."

洋基捕手Stewart回想2008年,受益於一個機制上的改變:「以前我的大拇指都會朝下,
其實當你學習接球的時候蠻自然就養成這習慣的啊。但是牛棚教練Tony Pena要我把手套
轉個方向,我的姆指變得有點像是指向二壘的方向,而不再往下往本壘板指了。這樣我比
較好處理我左邊的球,就不用轉動整條手臂了。」


Yeager focuses first on a catcher's stance. "I think you can correct some
guys that are doing something just by the positioning of his arm," he says.
"Sometimes they have a tendency to get the arm inside of the knee, or they
get it on the outside of the knee, and … their knee sometimes gets in the
way … Everything in the positioning is a key."

Yeager先看的是姿勢。「我覺得只靠改一下手臂放的地方就可以糾正一些人了。有時候他
們習慣把手臂放在膝蓋內側,或是放在膝蓋外側,之類的,他們的膝蓋一直在擋他們的路
啦。姿勢的每個細節都是關鍵。」


Lower the target, turn your thumb, adjust your crouch. That's the easy stuff.
It may feel unnatural at first, and it takes some time to get used to, but it
can produce improvement overnight. The more grueling method of improvement,
the one that over the long run produces the greater gains, is as simple as it
is painstakingly slow: catch. Catch in games, catch in the bullpen, catch in
side sessions, and then do it again in your dreams after you finally fall
asleep. "Baseball is a habit," Cervelli says. "It's a repetition. You've got
to repeat things every day, and they come."

目標放低,大拇指朝向正確的方向,蹲姿好一點。這不難。或許一開始會不自然,得花一
點時間來習慣,但是馬上就可以看到效果了。還有個簡單到靠杯,也慢到靠杯的方法,就
是接球。比賽也接,牛棚也接,訓練的時候也接,然後睡覺的時候在夢中再繼續接。

Cervelli表示,「棒球就是習慣而已。無限迴圈,你每天都在做一樣的事情,就會變得自
然了。」


Bullpen drills are a big part of that repetition. Pitching machines can
simulate any type of pitch, at any speed, in any location, and apprentice
pitch framers exhaust all the possibilities. The drills aren't a time to fill
your quota of practice pitches and move on to something more interesting.
They're a time to concentrate and consolidate lessons.

這些迴圈當中,牛棚練習很重要。發球機可以模擬各種球路、各種進壘位置,這些年輕捕
手可以窮盡各種可能性來接捕。這個練習目的可不是要把一天的配額練完,然後就去其他
比較好玩的項目。這是個要好好專心把全部的訓練都打好基礎的時間。


"We do some things with the pitching machines, breaking balls, left-handed,
right-handed," Sherlock says. "We move the catcher around behind the plate to
work on backhand pitches and forehand pitches. Work on some soft wiffle-balls
to simulate movement, and just working on catching it without a glove …
 Also, something that we do is check to make sure that they're breathing back
there. You start watching the catchers go through these drills and see that
they're holding their breath."

Sherlock說:「我們用發球機做很多事情。變化球、左投手、右投手等等。我們也會讓捕
手蹲在不同的點,來練習正手和反手的球。也會用威浮球來模擬球的變化,然後用空手接
起來。對了,我們還要確保捕手有自然地呼吸。有時候他們在訓練的過程當中會憋住呼吸
。」


Motivated catchers don't just do drills. They watch video, both of themselves
and their opponents at the position. "Watch video of guys that are good,"
Stewart says. "Watch them and see how they do it and try to intertwine it
into your game."

奮發向上的捕手可不只是做這些訓練。他們會看影片,自己的影片還有在捕手位置上的競
爭者的影片。Stewart說,「看那些強者是怎麼做的,然後融入自己的方式。」


Eventually, all of this pays off in game action. If it sounds a little
monotonous, well, it is. That's another reason why, even if decades down the
line every place where baseball is played comes pre-installed with a PITCHf/x
(or FIELDf/x) system, there will still be a role for scouts. No matter how
all-seeing the eyes in the sky above ballparks become, teams will still need
to know what's going on inside their players. Character and work ethic are at
least as important in determining whether a catcher reaches his ceiling as a
receiver as it is in determining how good a hitter he'll be.

最終呢,這些努力都會在比賽中得到回報。有點單調嗎?本來就是如此。這也就是為什麼
即便幾十年後全世界的球場都裝了投球追蹤系統,我們還是需要球探的原因。不管以後球
場會進步成怎樣,球團還是需要知道他們的球員心裡在想什麼。性格和工作倫理事關這些
捕手能夠達到多高的天花板,也包括他們打擊方面可以有怎麼樣的表現。


"We can make you better if you have an open mind and you're willing to work
and willing to try certain things," says Yeager, who mentions Russell Martin,
A.J. Ellis, and Tim Federowicz as some of his best students.8 "[You've] got
to want to get back there and take the time of squatting and blocking balls,
transferring balls, throwing balls, receiving balls, getting your hands beat
up, getting foul tips into you. You've got to realize that you're going to
get beat up physically back there."
The good news is that if you do have the masochistic impulse to get drilled
by baseballs, you can have a future in framing. Naturally, the younger you
start to work, and the more naturally gifted you are, the quicker it will
come, but those gifts aren't a prerequisite. "If you see a guy that has some
very soft hands, you know that at one point he's going to get it," says Tony
Pena, a four-time Gold Glover who now serves as the Yankees' bench coach and
catching instructor.9 "There's no limit. There's going to be a guy that plays
for a long time and then becomes a really good catcher over years."

Russell Martin、A.J. Ellis和Tim Federowicz的恩師Yeager表示,「如果你願意敞開心
胸,願意嘗試,我們可以讓你進步。你必須得願意花時間蹲在那邊檔球、傳球、接球、手
被砸得很痛又一直被擦棒球招呼。你得要有準備,你真的會被砸。」如果你自虐到肯做這
些苦差事,那麼恭喜你,你可以開始走上你的接捕之路了。自然,你開始的年紀越小,你
就能有越多的才華,上手也更快,但這些才華並不是最重要的。四屆金手套,現在的洋基
板凳教練Tony Pena說:「你只要看到有那種手感很好的人,你就知道他會是一回事。沒
有限制啦,總是有人打球打了好幾年轉型,最後還是變成一個好捕手的。」


"I don't think everybody can be the same," Cervelli says. "[But] if you work,
if you let somebody coach you, it can happen. You can be close." Stewart
concurs. "Obviously there's something inside that person that allows him to
do what he's able to do, but it's more of a repetition skill, I think, than a
God-given talent."

Cervelli說:「每個人都不一樣啦。但是如果你努力,而且找到人指導你,就有可能會成
真。不會差太遠。」Stewart也同意:「很顯然有人就是有特別的能力,但是我想更重要
的是不停重複地練習,這比天賦重要。」


Being born without the hands of a Molina brother is a handicap, but it's a
handicap that can be overcome. Now that teams know what a great receiver is
worth, and players know that they know, both sides have more incentive than
ever to focus on framing, both before and after each backstop's big league
debut.

天生不如Molina或許是某種殘廢,但是是一種可以克服的殘廢。現在球隊知道一個懂得接
捕的人的價值,球員也知道球隊開始關心了,大家對於接捕這件事情就更有動力了,不管
這些球員是上了大聯盟或是還沒都一樣。


§ § §

Brian Cashman has never known the feeling, but there's a certain freedom that
comes with being in charge of a bad baseball team, especially one that
isn'texpected to be good. Unburdened by the constant pressure to minimize
risk and construct a competitive roster that accompanies a club like the
Yankees, losing teams led by creative executives are able to experiment and
innovate. If you're going to be bad no matter what you do, you might as well
try to be bad in a way that will make you better eventually.

Brian Cashman從來沒有過這種感覺,但是管理一支不怎樣的球隊卻有某種自由,尤其是
沒人看好你的時候。沒有一天到晚又要風險評估又要建構豪華陣容的壓力,由富有創意的
團隊帶領的弱隊更有本錢實驗和創新。如果你竭盡所能還是很爛,你可能會想要試試看有
沒有什麼方法可以擺爛之餘,順便迎接一個光明前程。


That's what we're seeing with the Astros, a rebuilding club that's currently
making the Marlins look like big spenders. Rather than risk jeopardizing
their long-term potential by trying to strike a balance between rebuilding
and respectability, the Astros decided to raze their roster, trading every
veteran who wasn't tied down and spending hardly anything on free agents.
It's a path that has led to a lot of losing, with much more to come. But it's
also allowed the Astros to completely start over, in just about every
capacity. They've restocked a formerly barren minor league system, climbing
from 26th to ninth in the Baseball Prospectus organizational rankings in a
single season. They've blazed new trails in pitcher usage patterns and
defensive shifts. And led by GM Jeff Luhnow, they've assembled a new-school,
cross-disciplinary front office with intellectual talent drawn from atypical
baseball backgrounds.

這就是我們關注太空人的原因。企圖取得重建和被對手尊重的平衡可能會得冒著爛到天荒
地老的風險,寧可不要。太空人決定砍掉重練,把沒什麼限制的老將賣掉,不在自由球員
市場上買人。這樣會讓他們輸掉很多比賽,但也讓太空人有可以完全重新開始的機會。他
們把原本一片荒蕪的農場慢慢填起來了,一季之間原本排行26名的小聯盟系統爬到了第9
名。他們在輪值和防守布陣上開始了新的嘗試。在總管Jeff Luhnow的帶領之下,太空人
建立起一個新潮又多領域的FO。


One member of that front office is Mike Fast. And as you'd expect, given
Fast's focus on framing before he was hired, the Astros are exploring ways in
which they can make receiving skills a strength. You can't see that effort
reflected yet at the major league level; backup catcher Carlos Corporan is
about average, according to Marchi's model, and starter Jason Castro is
somewhat worse. It wouldn't matter much, anyway. A few extra strikes in the
majors right now wouldn't make the Astros' immediate outlook any less
hopeless. It's below the surface where Houston's framing future is taking
shape. That's where the Astros are seeking out the potential benefits of
developing strong receivers before they reach the big league level.

這個FO的成員之一是前面有提到的Mike Fast。跟你想的一樣,Fast既然曾經關心過接捕
這件事,現在的太空人也在想要怎麼樣讓接捕成為他們的強項。現在還沒辦法在大聯盟層
級看出什麼端倪,根據Marchi的模型,板凳捕手Corporan大概是聯盟平均值,先發的

Jason Castro則更加略遜一籌。不過沒差啦,現在在大聯盟多幾顆好球不會讓太空人看起
來多了什麼希望。在看不到的地方,太空人的接捕未來才正要慢慢成形,他們想在小聯盟
栽培出優秀的接捕能力,再送這些球員上大聯盟。


By stocking the minors with good framers, the Astros could accelerate their
pitching prospects' development or make them more attractive to other teams
by bolstering their stats with catchers who earn them extra strikes. With the
catchers themselves, Houston can simply wait until Castro and Corporan enter
the arbitration process and start to make more than they're worth, at which
point they can promote those prospects. By the time the Astros decide to make
winning at the big league level a priority, they could have a few catchers
capable of expanding the strike zone. They may have put the first phase of
that plan into action when they acquired Double-A catching prospect Max
Stassi, a 22-year-old with a reputation for strong receiving skills, in the
February trade that sent Jed Lowrie to Oakland.

讓小聯盟充滿這些善於接捕的捕手,太空人可以加速投手大物們的發展,或是讓捕手接球
時三不五時幫你多添一顆好球的幫助之下,投手的數據看起來更加吸引其他隊伍的注意。
以捕手新秀本身來說,太空人大可以等到Castro和Corporan進到仲裁階段再來操作。等到
太空人決定開始要在大聯盟積極贏球的時候,他們可能已經有幾位有能力把好球帶放大的
捕手了。這計畫的第一步可能是今年二月時,他們用游擊手Jed Lowrie跟運動家換來了2A
捕手Max Stassi,22歲的他接捕的技巧頗受好評。


The man tasked with overseeing the receiver assembly line is Mark Bailey, the
former Astros catcher and bullpen coach who accepted a new position this
season as the club's roving catching instructor, and he couldn't sound more
excited. The 51-year-old is a recent convert to the church of pitch framing,
and he's eager to spread the word. Bailey has seen the research and the
stats, and he's also studied what the catchers who produce the best stats
look like. Fast and Astros director of decision sciences Sig Mejdal have sent
him video comparing good receivers like Jose Molina and Jonathan Lucroy with
subpar receivers, and the visuals made a major impression.

被指派去監督整個接捕作業計畫的人是Mark Bailey,前太空人捕手和牛棚教練,他本季
接受了巡迴捕手教練的工作,他超興奮。51歲的他最近才受到了接捕這觀念的洗禮,現在
已經等不及要去傳這福音了。Bailey讀過資料,看過數據,也研究了那些數據最好看的捕
手看起來應該要是怎麼樣。他從Fast和太空人的決策科學總監Sig Mejdal那邊收到一段錄
影,比較了好的接捕球員,比方說Molina或Lucroy,和不怎樣的球員之前的差別。大開眼
界。


"A lot of it's stuff that we already kind of knew and learned," Bailey says,
"but to really see it and look at the numbers … some of the video that I saw
was really amazing. The good and the bad. You compare, and it's like, 'Whoa.'"

Bailey說:「其中很多東西我們之前就知道了啦。但是真的看到影片,再去看數據……有
的影片真的很屌,好壞之間,你一比較下去才知道。」


That eureka moment made Bailey reevaluate what he looks for first in a
catcher.

這個思想上的衝擊讓Bailey重新評估自己看捕手的方式。

"In the past, it's always been the guy with the strong arm," Bailey says.
"But my opinion is moving in [the direction of framing], just by watching
this and looking at some of that research … It's always been the premium
asset back there, but this is a little bit different. This takes it a step
further."

「以前當捕手的,通常都是臂力好的人。但現在我看了這影片和研究後,我想要把這種訓
練引進來。這有點不太一樣,這一步踩得比較遠。」


The next stage is implementing a development strategy designed to make the
most of each catcher's receiving skills, and there appears to be buy-in at
all levels of the organization. Jeff Murphy, a former minor league backstop
who spent 12 seasons as the Cardinals' bullpen catcher and catching
instructor, followed Luhnow to Houston, where he's serving in the same role
this season. Although Murphy stresses still-intangible aspects of catching —
 like handling a pitching staff and calling games — to a greater degree than
Bailey, it's clear that he considers receiving skills important. Maybe a
little too important, if you ask his exhausted pupils.

下一步,就是要植入一個設計來讓所有捕手好好訓練接捕的策略,這導致球團的各個層級
都需要補人了。前小聯盟捕手和紅雀的牛棚捕手Jeff Murphy跟著Luhnow來到休士頓做一
樣的工作。雖然Murphy比Bailey更強調那些捕手的無形貢獻,比方說領導全場或是掌控投
手群,但他也認為接捕的技巧很重要。如果你問他那些被操得要命的學生的話,搞不好他
們會跟你說有點太重要了。


"The first day of spring training, I told them, every morning, we're going to
be in the cage at 7 a.m.," Murphy says. "And we're doing receiving drills,
and we're just working on receiving … and these guys had never been through
that type of work. And they said, 'You know what, we're not used to this.'
And I said, 'This is our time to practice.'"

Murphy說:「春訓的第一天,我告訴他們每天早上七點要集合,然後我們就開始接捕訓練
,就這樣一直練習。這些人從來都沒有做過這種訓練,他們就會說『吼,我們不習慣這個
啦。』,我就會回『現在是我們的練習時間。』」


If Bailey, Murphy, and the rest of the new Houston regime have their way,
that practice will translate into wins a few years from now. And if the
Astros' approach succeeds, it's bound to inspire copycats, even if no one
writes a book or makes a movie about it. All it will take is for other teams
to start asking the same simple question Bailey says he's asked himself: "Why
not try to get better?"

如果Bailey、Murphy和其他太空人的新血成功的話,這些練習就會轉化成數年之後的勝利
。如果太空人的方法成功了,就會有人群起效尤,即便沒人寫本書或是拍部電影也一樣。
這些球隊只要像Bailey當初曾經問過自己的一樣就好,『幹嘛不進步看看呢?』


"That's the way the game is," says Kirt Manwaring, the Giants' former Gold
Glove catcher and current catching coordinator. "Once somebody does
something, once somebody's successful at something, then they want to try to
find the method behind the madness. 'Well, what are they doing?'"

「本來就這樣了啦。」巨人隊的前金手套得主,現在的捕手總監Kirt Manwaring這麼說。
「一旦有人開始做什麼,一旦有人成功了,大家就會想知道這成功背後的因素。」


Not every baseball lifer is as open-minded as Bailey, but the Astros, the
Yankees, the Rays, and any other teams that have already started targeting
and trying to develop good framers are only the vanguard. The market for
catchers with superior receiving skills will grow more crowded as long as it
looks like an area where clubs can get an edge. As Russell Martin says, it's
"a lot easier to teach somebody how to frame a pitch than it would be to
teach them how to hit homers and drive in runs."

並不是所有棒球人都跟Bailey一樣有個開明的腦袋,但是太空人、洋基、光芒還有其他也
在搞這套的球團都是先驅。現在看起來擁有好的接捕捕手確實可以讓球隊得到優勢,所以
這市場一定會打開的。Russell Martin說得好,「要教一個人接捕,比要教他尻全壘打簡
單多了。」


If you take the Astros' plan, and Manwaring's comment about copycats, to
their logical conclusion, then at some point in the not-too-distant future,
almost every team — save, perhaps, for a few with gifted offensive catchers
for whom framing aptitude is less paramount — could have someone squatting
behind the plate and stealing extra strikes. But sweeping changes to the
sport rarely come without unforeseen consequences. That kind of mass movement
toward catchers with strong receiving skills would upset the delicate balance
between batter and pitcher; if you think baseball's strikeout rates are high
now, wait until the first wave of Stepford framers arrives. If umpires start
to see nothing but good receivers, they might adjust their zones, much like a
hitter adjusts to a pitch he's shown too often. Then the framing bubble would
burst, as previous advantages have when every organization discovered them.

想想太空人的計畫,再想想Manwaring說的那些模仿者的事,然後合邏輯地推理,不遠的
未來,幾乎每一隊──或許有人在捕手這位置需要大砲,或許有人覺得接捕不重要,那可
以忽略不計──都有可能有個蹲在本壘板後方的好球小偷。但棒球的全面性變革,總是會
帶來一些意外的結果。這種捕手的巨大改變可能會讓投手打者的對決出現變化,如果你覺
得現在的三振比例已經很高的話,等到第一批栽培出來的接捕機器問世再說吧。如果裁判
們以後舉目所見都是善於接捕的捕手的話,他們可能會調整好球帶,就好像打者一直被同
樣的球路伺候也會做出調整一樣。如此一來,這接捕的泡沫就會破滅,群起效尤的歷史循
環又要上演。


It's also possible that a greater awareness of framing could hasten the end
of umpiring as we know it. The discovery of framing has opened up a new field
of research for authors and aspiring sabermetricians, but what's good for
baseball writers isn't always good for baseball. Even if the intent isn't to
criticize umpires, it's impossible to write about framing without drawing
some attention to the fact that the rulebook strike zone is more of an
abstract concept than something that exists in the wild. The more attention
that the catcher's ability to influence the strike zone receives, the more
likely it is that Major League Baseball will act to automate it. And if the
human element goes, replaced by robo umps, then framing will go with it.

搞不好這種優異的接捕會促進我們所認知的裁判系統也說不定喔。接捕這個新發現對於棒
球作家和棒球統計學家來說是個全新可發展的領域,但是對他們好的,對棒球不一定好。
即便意不在批評裁判,但是寫到接捕就不免會注意到好球帶的規則是如此模糊的事實。捕
手影響裁判這回事越得到注意,MLB就越有可能改變裁判制度。如果有一天人的因素消失
了,機器人裁判取而代之,接捕的技巧也就沒戲唱了。


The calls might be more accurate. But we'd lose the art that is a perfect
frame.

或許這樣的判決就會超精準吧,但我們也可能會失去了完美接捕的藝術。

§ § §

What Francisco Cervelli wants to talk about, more than how much better he's
gotten at framing, is how much better he's still going to get. "I'm hungry,"
he says. "I want it more than everybody. I don't work to maintain, I work to
be better and better and better."

Cervelli不只想說他從接捕技巧中得到多少,他更想說的是他會繼續學到多少。「我還有
點餓。我比別人想要得到的都還要多。我不想要保持現狀,我想要一直不停進步。」


Cervelli's stats suggest that the work has been worth it. From 2009 to 2010,
his receiving saved the Yankees 6.3 runs in 979 innings. But from 2011 to
2013, looking much more quiet behind the plate, he's saved the Yankees 16.6
runs in 459⅓ innings — more than twice as many runs in less than half the
playing time. Cervelli was an infielder and a pitcher before the Yankees
signed him out of Venezuela and converted him to catcher, so he faced a
steeper learning curve than most professionals. But he's living proof that
receiving skills can improve over time if accompanied by proper coaching and
a desire to improve.

Cervelli的數據顯示他的努力是值得的。從2009到2010的979局中,他的接捕幫洋基守住
了6.3分。2011到2013,感覺起來他比較沒有揮灑空間,但他在459又1/3局中幫洋基守住
了16.6分。只有一半的上場時間,超過兩倍的分數。他在跟洋基簽約之前,在委內瑞拉是
一個投手和內野手,到了洋基系統才改練捕手的,所以他的學習曲線比其他的職業球員都
還要陡許多。但他證明了在合宜的指導和渴望進步的心態之下,接捕的技巧是可以隨著時
間進步的。


The market-induced demise of framing might arrive one day, but it's not here
yet. Careerwise, this is the best time in baseball history to be a solid
receiver. Framing is Chris Stewart's meal ticket, too — he's saved 16.5 runs
in a little more than 8,000 pitches — and he's well aware of it.

或許有一天他們會因為市場情勢所迫而必須讓出位置,但還沒發生。以球員的生涯來說,
現在是棒球歷史上最適合優秀接捕捕手出頭的時代。接捕也是Stewart的飯票,他接了

8000球左右,靠著接捕守下了16.5分,而且他自己對此知之甚詳。

"Within the last two or three years it's taken over as one of the highly
sought-after skill sets for a defensive catcher," he says. "The sabermetrics
stuff coming out, they put a value on it. We actually have a number for it.
It's not a 'This guy's good' or 'This guy's bad,' it's like, 'This guy's this
good' and 'This guy's this bad.'"

他說:「過去兩三年,這個技術在防守型捕手之間很搶手。統計分析的東西出現了,有人
賦予價值,我們真的有數據可以遵循。現在已經不再是印象派地說『他是威哥』『他遜掉
了』的時代了,要改說『他有這麼這麼這麼這麼強』『這個人原來是這麼爛喔』了」


It's early in the season, but it's not too soon to assess the Yankees'
Cervelli / Stewart experiment. Through the game in which Cervelli was
injured, the pair had combined to catch 1,792 called pitches and saved the
Yankees a little more than five runs in the process. If we extend that to the
number of called pitches Yankees catchers caught last season, their total
contribution comes to 36 runs. A.J. Pierzynski's extended total over the
entire season has him costing the Rangers roughly seven runs. He might outhit
Cervelli and Stewart, but not by nearly enough to make up for a framing
disparity that size. Even if he came close, there would still be the
not-so-small matter of his salary, which is almost six times higher than
Cervelli's and Stewart's put together.

現在才剛開季,不過不算太早來論斷洋基在捕手位置的Cervelli / Stewart實驗。到
Cervelli受傷的那場比賽為止,這兩個選手一共接到了1792個沒被揮棒的球,在這之中靠
著接捕幫洋基守住了超過五分。如果用洋基去年接到的球數來當做基準,這兩位選手今年
會幫洋基守住36分。用同樣的標準來看Pierzynski,他大概會幫遊騎兵多虧了7分左右。
他打擊比Cervelli和Stewart還要好,但是要補上在接捕上所產生的差距,還不夠。即使
最後相差並不遠,但我們還沒算到薪水呢。他今年的薪水可是Cervelli和Stewart相加的
幾乎六倍喔。


Runs are runs, whether they're scored or saved. Now that we know how many
runs Cervelli, Stewart, and others like them are saving, those former fringe
players have become commodities that every team wants.

不管是被得一分或是守住一分,分數就是分數。現在既然我們知道Cervelli、Stewart和
其他相似的選手守下了多少分,那些原本拿來填選手名單的球員就變成了大家都想要的資
產了。


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