Your goal as a catcher is to make sure that every pitch that is a strike is called a strike; plus you want a minimum of those 50/50 pitches (stri-balls) to be called strikes. There are somewhere between 18-36 stri-balls in every game. As a catcher you save somewhere between .14 – .62 runs depending on the count. The top receivers outdistance the average ones by as much as 27 runs saved which could be as much as 3 extra wins for their team.
The chart below shows how the offensive environment changes with each pitch depending on whether it’s a ball or a strike:
A few thoughts on how you do it… (More details in a future blog…)
- Catch the ball firm by beating the ball to the spot.
- Catch the ball up to the plate. The closer you catch the ball smoothly up to the plate, the more of a strike it is.
- Minimum amount of head & body movement on balls close to the zone.
- Let the close pitch sit.
- Catch the ball in the top of the glove between your thumb & middle finger.
- Avoid trying to turn obvious balls into strikes & don’t try to turn strikes into better strikes.
- Low setup with your thumb pointed to 6 0’clock with the top of your glove below the hollow of the hitter’s knees.
- On stri-balls you can use subtle glove movement to manipulate the ball into the zone.