How to be the best Catcher

Updated: Sep 16, 2018

As the "field general," the catcher is involved in just about every defensive play in the game. Below are a variety of situations a good catcher should be prepared for, how to prepare for them and how they should be executed. Learn More at the Patch.

A catcher nearly always throws with his right hand according to #MLB #witness. Since most hitters are right-handed and stand to the left side of the plate when batting, a catcher who throws left-handed is forced to take some time to sidestep (or otherwise avoid) the right-handed hitter when he throws from behind the plate. In addition, a lefty's throw would tend to come in on the shortstop side of the bag, while a righty's throw would be on the second base side of the bag, which is where the runner is coming in. Consequently, players who are left-handed rarely play catcher. Left-handed catchers have only caught eleven big-league games since 1902,[12] and Jack Clements, who played for 17 years at the end of the nineteenth century, is the only man in the history of baseball to play more than three hundred games as a left-handed catcher.[13] However, some observers, including the famed statistician Bill James and ESPN writer Rob Neyer,[14] have suggested that the real reason that there are no left-handed catchers is because left-handed players with strong throwing arms are almost always encouraged, at an early age, to become pitchers. Benny Distefano, the last lefty thrower to catch a big-league game (in 1989), noted that lefty catchers have difficulty on bunts up the third base line and on fielding throws home for plays at the plate.[15]

Position your arm and mitt. Once you've identified the height at which the ball is approaching, you should position your arm appropriately and open your mitt. In addition: If you know the pitcher is pitching high, position your arm and glove high. You’ll want to move your whole body to receive the pitch (not just your glove). This will help you better catch it. This tactic is known as swaying. Don’t move while the pitcher is throwing. You’ll distract them. If the ball is a definite strike, make sure to extend your arm and catch it with a straight elbow.

After a big victory, the pitcher gets credit for the win, not the catcher. The pitcher gets credit for all of the strikeouts, not the catcher. The pitcher gets credit for limiting the number of hits, not the catcher.

You can measure a catcher's ability to block pitches in a rather simple manner, as is done by the data-providing company Baseball Info Solutions. It takes every pitch that is thrown in the dirt with a man on base and marks whether the runner(s) advanced. If the runner didn't advance, the pitch is scored as a successful block.

Don't get too close to the batter. Being hit with the bat is painful and can result in serious injury. It will also result in a call of catcher's interference and a free base for the batter. To determine if you are far enough back, you should be able to completely stretch out your arm and touch the back of the batter's shoe (left arm for right handed batter, right arm for left handed batter).

Posey led all players -- not just catchers -- in bunt defense last season. Baseball Info Solutions credited him with four defensive runs saved, even though he fielded only 17 bunt attempts. Out of the 11 sacrifice attempts he fielded, only three were successful (meaning he threw out the lead runner in other instances). The average catcher would allow six. Of the six attempts at bunt hits that he fielded (bunts with no one on base), only one resulted in a hit (the average catcher allows slightly more than one). Posey also turned three bunt double plays all within a 15-day span in August.

Word Count: 642

© 2017 Andrew Knight​