In MLB, pitch framing by catchers is both an art and a science.
It involves reflexes, coordination, and even a little bit of acting.
The goal is to fool the umpire into thinking the pitch was a strike, no matter the means.
When it comes to pitch framing, there is no one better than Texas Rangers All-Star catcher Jonah Heim.
At 28 years old, Heim is enjoying a breakout season.
Well, that breakout campaign we are talking about is on the offensive side because he has been a defensive star for years now.
This year, however, he is taking things up a notch with the bat, hitting a cool .282/.338/.474 with 12 home runs.
Having a catcher capable of framing pitches like he can and, on top of that, slugging almost .500 is a luxury.
The Rangers are lucky to have Heim and his incredible 3.3 fWAR (Wins Above Replacement, FanGraphs’ version).
He is one of the reasons the Rangers are leading the AL West with a 52-39 record so far.
His framing skills are usually the difference in a tough at-bat, because it’s not the same for a hitter to have a 3-1 count compared to a 2-2 count.
“Jonah Heim caught 259 called strikes on first-half pitches that were out of the strike zone and there’s nobody else even close,” Codify Baseball tweeted, with a clip of some of his masterpieces.
Jonah Heim caught 259 called strikes on first-half pitches that were out of the strike zone and there's nobody else even close. pic.twitter.com/BwAQ9RwS8z
— Codify (@CodifyBaseball) July 14, 2023
Just think about it, and imagine the changes in approach that it involves.
Heim, so far, has 5.1 Framing Runs, the best mark in the American League and third in MLB behind William Contreras and Sean Murphy.
As long as Heim remains fresh and healthy, the Rangers will have a solid chance to earn the divisional crown and make the playoffs for the first time since 2016.NEXT: Rangers Bring Back A Familiar Face On Minor League Deal