Catcher's Influence


Your catcher can have a great influence on your work - especially the quality of your perception on how well your pitches are doing. In addition, based on where your catcher places himself behind the dish also influences the visual quality that’s passed on the umpire calling balls and strikes. The picture below will give a basic idea of how a catcher can influence your work on any given day/night.

** I should note that in competitive baseball, catchers are coached to distance themselves in relation to the batter more than just the plate. But that and other dynamics of catcher placement is beyond this simple basic approach.**


This is good information. I always tell my catchers to get as close as possible to the plate. Pull the umpire into the strike zone. Don’t force him to hang back because it takes away the top of the zone.

As an umpire, I set my eyes at the top of the zone and do not move my head or blink during the pitch. I only move my eyes. If my eyes flash up at all, it’s a ball. I see the track of the pitch. I give it about a half to full second to let my brain decide that what my eyes saw was correct, then I make the call.

Another key point about catcher positioning is left to right. I see a lot of catchers set up so their nose is in line with one side of the plate or the other that is Ok if your pitcher has excellent control, but if that’s not the case, set up closer to the mid-point between the corner and the point and sway with the pitch to catch it between the shoulders. You have a better chance of getting the call regardless of whether the pitcher misses to the left or right. If you set up on the outside, the umpire sees that and if you have to move your glove out, it’s a ball every time. If you set up mostly behind the dish and have a subtle sway to the outside you may get a little extra latitude off the black. Umpires want to call strikes, but they don’t want coaches grousing from the dugout about balls and strikes when calling a pitch the catcher clearly reached for a strike…even if it was.