The Top 100 Pitch-Framing Catchers in D-I Softball

The Top 100 Pitch-Framing Catchers in D-I Softball

With the NCAA softball season just getting under way, I asked Christopher Long if he would run his code to analyze the pitching-framing abilities of NCAA D-I catchers. Long is an analytics guru you may know from his appearance in The Only Rule is it Has to Work. He has worked with several Major League Baseball teams in the past and as a hobby delves into other sports as well.

Quantifying the pitch-framing abilities of catchers has been a challenge for analysts. MLB has seen some large contracts awarded of late to catchers with this important skill. That’s why it’s so nice to see softball catchers getting the same type of attention.

Long’s code evaluates the pitch framing abilities of NCAA softball catchers with a model that calculates called balls and strikes, the count of the at-bat, whether the game was played on the road or at home, and the pitcher and catcher battery. His formula then assigns each catcher a pitch-framing score. That’s how I would describe it. If you were talking to Long to dig further into the details, as I did, he would describe his formula as:

Pr(CS | CS or ball) = home/away + count + pitcher + catcher
exp(factor) should then mean the increase of called strikes, given called strike or ball.
So if exp(value) = 1.10, that means (called strikes)/(called strikes + balls) is 10% for that catcher.

Here are the top 100 returning catchers in the framing of pitches who played D-I softball in 2017, according to Long. The category Class lists each player’s class during the 2017 season.

Rank Name School Class Framing
1 Wheaton, Janell Florida Jr 0.276
2 Shippy, Vanessa Oklahoma St. Jr 0.209
3 Thomas, Mackenzie Oklahoma St. Fr 0.181
4 Spell, Rylie Tulsa So 0.179
5 Perrigan, Madison Wichita St. Fr 0.160
6 Stracher, Shelby Towson Jr 0.156
7 Cook, Macy Wright St. So 0.155
8 Schmiederer, Angela Iowa Jr 0.142
9 Nicholas, Amanda Nevada Jr 0.130
10 O’Neal, Mahlena Georgia Fr 0.129
11 Lindaman, Kendyl Minnesota Fr 0.120
12 Harrison, Kiley UNLV So 0.117
13 Walters, Ashley Texas A&M Jr 0.116
14 Batten, Kaylynn Longwood So 0.113
15 Alexander, Katie Michigan So 0.110
16 Weimer, Katie Tennessee So 0.109
17 Eby, Tess SIUE Jr 0.107
18 Fenichel, Abby Lipscomb Jr 0.105
19 Gross, Morgan South Fla. Jr 0.104
20 Kobziak, Haylee North Carolina St. Fr 0.103
21 Roberts, Jordan Florida Fr 0.101
22 Davis, Haleigh Texas St. Fr 0.100
23 Heen, Callee Hawaii Fr 0.100
24 Wright, Carolyn Lehigh Jr 0.099
25 Gonzalez, Dominique Grand Canyon Jr 0.098
26 Ogburn, Emma Furman Jr 0.096
27 Heinz, Tabby North Dakota St. Jr 0.093
28 Ullman, Nicole Coppin St. Jr 0.091
29 Schaper, Jenny Kentucky So 0.090
30 Fung, Mia South Fla. Jr 0.090
31 Crosby, Megan Sam Houston St. Fr 0.088
32 Ellis, Taylor Baylor Fr 0.088
33 Peck, Destini Seton Hall So 0.083
34 Sobczak, Alex Michigan So 0.083
35 Turbeville, Aubree McNeese So 0.083
36 Dykes, Reagan Alabama So 0.081
37 Rivera, Irene Stony Brook So 0.077
38 Mims, Kate UMass Lowell Jr 0.076
39 Flores, Morganne Washington So 0.074
40 Preble, Emily Lehigh Fr 0.074
41 Davidson, Kyle Dayton So 0.073
42 Josselet, Catie Mercer So 0.073
43 VanDerveer, Alyssa South Carolina Jr 0.073
44 Hooper, Marissa Incarnate Word Jr 0.072
45 Brooks, Lauren Central Ark. Fr 0.072
46 Mulipola, Dejah Arizona Fr 0.071
47 Lutticken, Morgan South Ala. Fr 0.070
48 Entzminger, Emma San Jose St. Jr 0.069
49 Shea, Courtney Auburn Jr 0.069
50 McCracken, Maddie Notre Dame So 0.068
51 Nowakowski, Jordyn Stony Brook Fr 0.068
52 Cothern, Jessica DePaul Fr 0.067
53 Rurka, Julianne Providence Jr 0.066
54 Stowers, Tommi Western Ky. Fr 0.066
55 Stover, Brooke UNLV Jr 0.065
56 Suttles, Kiara Southern U. Jr 0.065
57 Bomhardt, Eliza Hartford Fr 0.065
58 Chimento, Jordan Boston College Jr 0.064
59 Harris, Morgan Middle Tenn. Jr 0.064
60 Satchell, Taylor LSU So 0.063
61 McCord, Taylor Marshall Jr 0.062
62 Garcia, Vanessa Prairie View Fr 0.062
63 Smith, Aly South Ala. Fr 0.062
64 Clark, Emily Ohio St. So 0.061
65 Stupey, Jenna UMBC So 0.061
66 Castle, Kasandra FIU Jr 0.061
67 Henson, Meghan Western Ill. Fr 0.061
68 Manno, Jordan Detroit Mercy So 0.060
69 Long, J. Prairie View Jr 0.059
70 Moreno, Desiree Delaware St. Fr 0.059
71 Avila, Alyssa San Jose St. So 0.058
72 Shelnutt, Anna Florida St. Fr 0.058
73 Matise, Nicole Abilene Christian Jr 0.057
74 Czyrklis, Kira Kennesaw St. So 0.056
75 Kasubke, Katie Loyola Chicago So 0.056
76 Urness, Austen Nebraska Jr 0.056
77 Wodach, Lea Oklahoma Jr 0.056
78 Sinskul, Jade Marist Fr 0.056
79 Duffy, Drew Wagner Jr 0.055
80 Roane, Jessie Kansas Jr 0.055
81 Ontiveros, Katie Army West Point Fr 0.055
82 Rupp, Sara Texas St. Jr 0.053
83 Butler, Nikki New Mexico St. Fr 0.053
84 Gott, Olivia Virginia So 0.052
85 Ellsworth, Taylor Texas Fr 0.051
86 Wells, Sydnee George Mason Fr 0.051
87 Young, Makenna Cal Poly So 0.050
88 Rascon, Alejandra CSUN Fr 0.050
89 Winckler, Emily South Dakota Jr 0.049
90 Whaley, Sara Jo UMES So 0.048
91 Blanchard, Raquel Brown Fr 0.048
92 Crews, Blake Stetson Fr 0.048
93 Trevino, Sabrina IUPUI Fr 0.048
94 Bird, Claire Dartmouth Jr 0.047
95 Elling, Delaney Penn St. Fr 0.046
96 Uyesaka, Kai Drexel So 0.045
97 Phillips, Morgan St. Bonaventure Jr 0.045
98 Sparks, Hannah Oklahoma Jr 0.045
99 Cameron, Heather Hawaii So 0.044
100 Binckes, Alexa Purdue Fr 0.044