Defense “up the middle” is always discussed when the topic is the most important aspects of a baseball team. Having superior defenders at catcher, middle infield, and centerfield can cover up deficiencies at other positions and really make the pitching staff seem to perform better. It’s obvious that each middle defensive position requires completely different skillsets; center requires speed and proper route running technique while middle infielders require quickness and great hands. Catcher is the most widely misunderstood and difficult for the everyday eye to judge.
Catchers are in a separate world to themselves as far as defensive metrics and how to measure the value of catcher defense.
There are a number of unique defensive skills that catchers need to posses, each skill having potential ability to impact the overall value a catcher’s defense:
arm strength and accuracy, pitch blocking ability, pitch framing ability, and pitch selection. Each of these skills is much different from anything required of any other fielder, in my opinion, making it one of the most intriguing positions in baseball. Continue reading