The Truth About Pop Times

There's nothing better than throwing a runner out, it's probably my favorite part of catching and I'm sure it's most catchers favorite part.

While it is an important part of our skill set, it gets too much hype. The team with the most steal attempts per game in the MLB... The Tampa Bay Rays with an average of 1.1 attempts per game. Check this article for the other stats: click here

The average amount of pitches thrown per game is around 146 pitches (click here)

I couldn't find a statistics for block attempts per game for catchers but my guess would be somewhere between 8-15 depending on the pitcher and count hitters got to in the game.

But with that said, the order of importance in catching skills is; receiving at #1, blocking #2, and throwing #3.

But hold up... even though you might have only 1 attempt per game at throwing a runner out you still need to be able to do it. That means there is an average throwing level you need to be at before your receiving and blocking are #1 and #2. If you have a 2.5 sec pop time, that isn't going to cut it at the professional level, or college level. The average MLB pop time is 2.01 secs. (Check other pop times here) One of the slowest pop times by a starting catcher was Tyler Flowers who averaged a 2.14 pop time to 2nd base. Not exactly a cannon, but good enough to throw runners out with an accurate throw. So why is he a starting catcher? Because he is one of the best at receiving! This 2018 season he ranked as the 4th best catcher at stealing strikes.

The truth is, you have to be able to throw at a certain level; 2.1 secs and below to be an elite level catcher. But the worse your throwing arm the better you need to be at receiving, blocking, managing a pitching staff, and hitting.

I say all of this to hopefully get you to realize the importance of being a complete catcher. One of the best throwing and hitting catchers found himself out of the lineup and on the bench this past season (Gary Sanchez) because he was a poor blocker of the baseball. He might get one chance per game to show his cannon but he'll have 10 times as many chances to show how poor his blocking skills are. And at some point, poor receiving and poor blocking will catch up to you no matter how great your arm.

Always work to be a threat to runners, but take even more pride at making pitches look good and giving pitchers confidence they can throw an 0-2 pitch in the dirt.

Keep getting after it IQ team!

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