In Max Marchi's recent research piece on catchers, he included a Google Doc with all his raw results. It occurred to me today that more than a few Rays catchers are actually in his dataset, which stretches through 2011.
We should all know by now that Jose Molina is a Monster Framer -- I think the Rays already have like 3-5 extra outs this offseason because the zone just grows and grows with him back there. I recently suggested that in 10 years, framing abilities will determine the majority of catcher defensive WAR, and I firmly believe that.
So the Rays have three guys competing for the backup / alternate catcher job -- Jose Lobaton, Robinson Chirinos and kinda Chris Gimenez. Lobaton and Chirinos both had a cup of coffee in the majors last season, while Gimenez has played several years in the majors, but compiled less than 300 PAs. I imagine Gimenez only wins the job if the other two prove completely unsuitable (in other words: there's not a whole lot he can do to win the job).
One of the calculations that has to go into the front office's analysis, of course, must be framing. So let's look at how many runs (per Marchi's run value calculations) these guys have saved per plate appearance:
The early indications on Chirinos and Lobaton are both encouraging, but its important to recognize these are really, really early numbers. If the Rays want the crazy good numbers to stick for Lobaton, maybe they consider leaving him as Molina's caddie and let him learn from the master.