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October 8, 2012

BP Unfiltered

Differences in Mitt Placement

by R.J. Anderson

One of the side benefits of the postseason is its place as a sample. You get to see all kinds of different players with varying skill sets, talent levels, and techniques, and all the different ways they achieve success. The downside, if you want to call it that, is when you start noticing minute differences and it becomes a focus. Take catchers and their mitt positioning between setting the target and receiving the pitch. It’s the most-seen, least-noticed part of a catcher’s job. You focus on the mitt to see where the pitch is probably heading and then you shift your attention back to the pitcher once he begins his motion. But not every catcher passes the time in the same way:

At the top of the frame is Buster Posey. Posey keeps it traditional and holds his mitt where he set up the target. This is a no-frills experience. In the middle frame is Alex Avila, who relaxes his arm and lowers the glove. Then there’s Ryan Hanigan, who turns hit mitt inward, toward the left-handed batters’ box. Does any of this pre-pitch movement affect the framing? It’s hard to say; both Posey and Hanigan rate as above-average receivers, though Avila is well below-average. It does make the smaller parts of the game more interesting, if nothing else. 

R.J. Anderson is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see R.J.'s other articles. You can contact R.J. by clicking here

Related Content:  Buster Posey,  Alex Avila,  Catchers,  Ryan Hanigan

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