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It seems that there is a shortage of good catchers at all levels these days?  Why?

It's evident at the MLB level currently, but what is stopping kids at the college, high school and youth levels from wanting to catch?


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Great job David! Thanks for bringing that to the forefront. Excellent point about a catcher calling the game is a big part of the learning process. P.S. Not all coaches call an exceptionally good game.

 

There are two good discussions here and here about catchers calling their own game if you're interested.

Well, personally, I stopped wanting to play catcher my freshman year of high school when we scrimmaged with the JV and I got knocked over by their train of a 3B. I decided then  I would stick to 1B haha.

 

Also, another thing to consider is cost. How many parents tell their children they shouldn't catch when, in the back of their mind, the parents are thinking if he catches, I gotta buy all the equipment that comes with.

Me personally I don't mind being a catcher. I have the strength to play in that position, and I weigh enough to hold my own out there against runners, not to mention the fact that I love to lead. The reason why I became a pitcher, is because I was practicing SS at one time & realized that I had a P arm instead of a SS arm. But I can easily convert my P arm into a C arm when necessary.      

Dion,

 

believe me, you don't have to be big or a lot of size to be a catcher. Yes, there have been some big guys that have turned out to be great catchers, but on the flip side there are just as many small guys that have been just as great. 

Todd Hundley, 5'11" about 180

Johnny Bench 6'0" 190

Yogi Berra  5' 7" 170

Ivan Rodriguez 5' 9" 180

Craig Biggio  5' 11" 185

Just remember, baseball is more about footwork and technique than size. Size can help no doubt, but it's not at the top of the list.

David LeVine has it right with his post.

 

I've been through countless walk-on's, invites - the works, and I've found a very small poplulation at

the backstop's position that really understands that position.  Now I'm talking Independent level - but,

these men come from every level... amateur college, cast-offs, etc..

 

What I find is a common denominator - coach called the position BUT held the kid/youngster/ college

guy ... responsible for a lot when things went wrong.

 

With respect to pitchers calling what they want .. no, it doesn't work that way.  A pitcher will usually "shake off"

a sign primarily because that pitch just isn't in the mix at that time - he (pitcher) doesn't  FEEL IT at that moment.

Now there are exceptions to be sure, but, a pitcher will send down range what he feels is really working for him during a "deal" of pitches...   If he deals... curve, slider, down and away... and it's working great, he'll draw on that combo in just about a predictable manner to get strikes, baiting pitch, and so on.   A backstop that knows his percentage of the club's rotation ... say out of a eleven (11) or fourteen (14 ) man rotation, he knows pretty well five guys that he can work-em inning after inning is a backstop that's either self-taught OR has been blessed with a coach very early in his career that has LET HIM LEARN AND DEVELOP AS HE PLAYS THE GAME.  

 

This mental and physical environment is so well entrenched with great catchers that the template for the

Skipper's role is a gift to any ownership that has the brains to take advantage of it!

 

There are exceptions to be sure, BUT, those that have made it to the Affiliates then on to the Bigs, have done so with a great deal of early supportive coaching and a lot of out-right-guts.  

 

Coach B.

 

Kip, is right about catchers do not need to be big in size.  Big in heart more than makes up for that.  I am 5'6 and 150 lbs but love to be behind the dish.  I grew up playing hockey and learned right away it's either take the lumps or go home.  Going home was not an option so I developed to be a very good hockey player.  Catching is the same way.  Technique is everything.  It just takes heart and determination. 
I remember a day in high school I was playing against a team where I played with most of the guys in summer ball and I told my coach I wanted to let my catcher and me call the game and he said no cause he knows better. Well an incident came where he wanted an outside fastball to a dead fastball hitter, and I shook him off like 4 times and wouldn't change the pitch. So I thought you want it you got it and threw it, the kid parked it half way into the parking lot. I got back to the bench and said told ya so, and 1 of his so called superstars that could throw hard he thought said "I can put it by him" well later on that. Game he got the chance and tried it and it went even further. In my summer league my coaches would let the catcher and myself and the other pitchers make our own decisions. I felt that let our catchers be stronger and get more in sync with the pitching staff. Now I play in a men's league as a pitcher and catcher and I get it from both points, and love being a catcher much more. Best position, by far.

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