It's no secret that I am a fan of catchers. They're the smart guys and well, I'm a giant nerd, so that concept has always drawn me to catchers. Not only are they the brain of the game, calling pitches and helping pitchers effectively face hitters, but they do it in a crouch for 9 innings of baseball over a season that lasts 162 games. Badass is really the only word for it.
Being a catcher ain't easy. Yes, I'm teased for my fangirl crushes on Houston catchers of the past like Brad Ausmus (Hottie McAusmus as I like to call him) and for one time commenting that Jason Castro has lovely eyes, but the truth of the matter is that I'm drawn because they're catchers first and foremost.
And right now in Houston Astros baseball, the catchers are one of the bright spots. In an article late last night on Astros.com, Earl Bloom of MLB.com gave a great look at the success of Houston's catchers this season. Jason Castro and Carlos Corporan have just one passed ball between them this season; they trail only the Baltimore Orioles in the American League.
Combine that with only 2 errors in 44 games, and you're looking at some very good work at backstop thus far in 2014.
That hard work benefits the team only when combined with solid pitching, which the Astros rotation has been kind enough to supply a great deal of this season.
Said Castro: "It all starts with our pitchers, and they've done a tremendous job. They're mostly young, but they're making progress, and the older guys on the staff have been doing a great job of bringing them along.
"They have confidence in throwing whatever Corp or I put down [as signs]. And Corop and I put in a lot of work int he Spring to refine the defensive aspects of our game."
The pitching staff has certainly done their part, tossing for a 3.13 ERA over the past two weeks, despite changes and injuries that have plagued the bullpen staff so far this year. But I would still say that without a good catcher, a pitcher would be lost.
For more on how pitch framing contributes to that defense, go back and take a gander at Evan Drellich's article in April, "Castro sees importance of framing come into focus" on Chron.com, or you can dig further back and see how the Astros own analyst, Mike Fast, looked at catchers and rated their performance a couple of years ago when he was with Baseball Prospectus and wrote this bit on "Catcher Defense."
Happy Catcher Tuesday, everyone.