Backstops’ brilliant pitch framing gives Yankees pitchers an extra edge

Catcher Jose Trevino is in action during the Yankees win over the Rays on May 10, 2024, in Tampa Bay.
Sara Molnick
Saturday May 11, 2024

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The Yankees‘s 2-0 victory over the Rays on Friday was incomplete with a reference to Jose Trevino‘s exceptional pitch framing. In fact, the cunning way Yankees catchers hijack more strikes has been a factor in five of their last six contests and behind the 7-1 record in Schmidt’s eight starts, with the pitcher benefiting from catcher Trevino crafting extra strikes behind the plate.

Jose Trevino and Austin Wells have established themselves as two of the premier pitch framers in the league through the first six weeks of the season, contributing to the Yankees’ pitching staff’s strong start despite not operating at full strength.

Clarke Schmidt praised both Yankees‘ catchers’ ability to win swing pitches, emphasizing its impact on the trajectory of an at-bat and even an entire outing. The pitcher recounted a conversation he had with Wells earlier in the season, encouraging him to focus on winning those pivotal swing pitches to bolster his effectiveness on the mound.

Players of the new york yankees: Jose Trevino and Austin Wells

“Obviously, Trevy, that’s what he’s known for, and he’s really good at that,” Clarke Schmidt said. “Even early on in this season, I told Wells, we’ve had that conversation: ‘Dude, you’ve been winning some of these swing pitches and it completely changed the [at-bat]. And it can change an outing, too.’ Just by putting that extra emphasis on trying to steal the strike.”

Yankees’ catchers taking risks for the team’s success

The risks associated with the pursuit of pitch framing were underscored this week when Cardinals catcher Willson Contreras suffered a broken arm after being hit by a swing from Mets slugger J.D. Martinez—as catchers across the league inch closer to the plate to better receive low pitches—the Yankees remain committed to their process aimed at optimizing framing while minimizing risk.

Although robot umpires may be on the horizon, the Yankees are currently excelling in the art of pitch framing. This was on full display on Friday, where Trevino (2-for-4) also threw out two potential base stealers and played a crucial role in guiding closer Clay Holmes through a challenging ninth inning, which concluded with a bases-loaded strikeout of Jonny DeLuca.

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