A Rockies game wouldn’t be complete without a play-by-play man breaking down the illusions Wolters pulls off each game. His ability to start his glove in the dirt and drag the padded leather up to steal a low strike is tangible – they’ll tell you as much.
According to Statcast, Wolters ranks behind 34 other catchers in pitch framing, at least by percentage of non-swing, called strikes. He’s below league average in every zone along the upper end of the strike zone. The only areas he’s been above league average have been on the east and west (outside) portions of the plate.
Eyes say one thing, but stats say another. A myriad of reasons could be the cause of the discrepancy. For one, Wolters has no way to get a strike call on a ball drastically outside the zone. A good pitch-framing catcher can do a lot, but much of their work depends on pitchers.
Even last year, though, Wolters was behind 52 other catchers in framing, including former Rockies Chris Iannetta and Tom Murphy.
Last year, the Rockies’ walk rate was 3.7 every nine innings. This year, it’s 2.5, albeit in a much smaller sample. Wolters has climbed 11 spots in the same span.
The Rockies pitchers praise Wolters’ ability. The stats don’t. For him to reach a point of value for the club, both need to.