Watching The Catcher’s Rear

The outfield can get boring. But you can spend time thinking about your positioning at least. And if you spend a lot of time thinking about positioning, as Sam Fuld does, then you’ll eventually dissect every part of the play as it sets up. Even the catcher’s butt.

From pitch to pitch, I’ll try to guess with the pitcher. I’ll just take a couple steps in that direction. Sometimes, once the catcher sets up early enough, I can tell something. If the guy is set up middle and his ass is up a bit, I can tell it’s offspeed if a runner’s on base. He’s getting ready to block the pitch because you’re more likely to get a ball in the dirt. You can sort of read stuff from the catcher and think of what pitch is coming. — Sam Fuld

Can we mere laymen see this change in catcher butt height?

Let’s look at a game from the weekend and compare the catcher’s posterior positioning. Both of these images come from the first inning of the Braves against the A’s at home this past weekend. Julio Teheran is throwing Evan Gattis an outside changeup in both instances, as well. But Gattis is in a different receiving position in each case, with the bases empty on the left and a runner on first in the picture on the right:

GattisChangeNoRunnerGattisChangeRunnerOn

Knowing an offspeed pitch is coming, as you would in this situation if you were looking in the right place, would allow you as an outfielder to take a step towards the pull field. A step can make a difference.

It gets boring out there in the outfield, and Sam Fuld thinks of all sorts of things to fill the time. Sometimes he thinks about the catcher’s butt.




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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.


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14 Comments on "Watching The Catcher’s Rear"


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e.gruver
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e.gruver
1 year 11 months ago

As a former catcher, i hadn’t really thought much about that. Wondering if opposing teams ever (if it’s even possible) analyze that mid game…..

David
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David
1 year 11 months ago

So stealing signs is against the unwritten rules of the game … what if all this time what they’ve REALLY been relaying is catcher but placement?!

Sunrise089
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Sunrise089
1 year 11 months ago

So you guys are killing NotGraphs but adding InstaGraphs to do posts on players’ butts? Not to say this isn’t interesting or using, but it seems like a clear point in favor of #KeepNotGraphs

Well-Beered Englishman
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Well-Beered Englishman
1 year 11 months ago

I have several female friends who will be overjoyed to learn that staring at butts can yield insights into baseball tactics and pitch selection.

PuzzledinTampa
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PuzzledinTampa
1 year 10 months ago

Even Jose Molina’s butt?

Jose
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Jose
1 year 11 months ago

Not the butt, but I used to go by the glove when I played CF.

Joe Durant
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Joe Durant
1 year 11 months ago

Errr, the catcher is always in a raised crouch with a runner on base, or with two strikes on the batter if the bases are empty. If the bases are empty and there’s less than two strikes, the catcher will be in a normal crouch. Which is why, in the two pictures you’ve chosen, he’s in a normal crouch because the count is 2-1 and there’s no one on base, and he’s in a raised crouch because there’s a runner on.

If you want to examine relative butt position, you have to compare them in situations when the catcher will be in a raised crouch both times. The two situations you’ve chosen here are pointless to compare to each other.

Cody
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Cody
1 year 11 months ago

Sam Fuld is going to make a great baseball coach one day and we will all enjoy every second of it.

PuzzledinTampa
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PuzzledinTampa
1 year 10 months ago

Just another reason to love Sam Fuld.

andypafko
Member
andypafko
2 months 14 days ago

What the author and several commenters – even supposedly former catchers – is that catcher mechanics change depending on whether runners are on base. With runners on the stance widens and the butt should be parallel with the dirt. This allows an easier throwing position but, more importantly, allows easier movement to block pitches in the dirt.

And the position with runners on shouldn’t change regardless of type of pitch. The butt or, as I call it, “anchor” needs to be raised with runners on just as Gattis has done in the picture above. But with no one on stay in the crouch. All catchers rightly do.

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