Recently, we’ve spent a lot of time thinking about a catcher’s ability to frame or receive the pitch in order to get more strike calls. However, that isn’t the only job of a backstop — blocking pitches in the dirt is a far more visible skill to most. Does being good at one affect your ability to be good at the other?
Listen to the skills that different catchers have listed as important to framing a pitch so that the umpire might best call it a strike:
“The less movement you have, the more likely he’s going to call it a strike.” — Jonathan Lucroy.
“Get good at sticking it.” — Jonathan Lucroy
“The emphasis is shifting to being as quiet as you can about receiving the ball and giving the umpire the best view of the pitch that you can.” — Jason Castro
“That’s part of what I’ve integrated into my catching this year is thinking about the angles in which I set up.” — Jason Castro
“Give the lowest target possible.” — Hank Conger
“My stance is narrower.” — Hank Conger
“I usually ask the umpire if I should get lower.” — Travis d’Arnaud
Now listen to the skills involved in blocking a pitch:
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