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Just recently I was reconnected with someone whom I played against in high school and college- Joe Wilkins, founder of JoeWilkinsCatching.com. Joe played his college ball at Ohio State and has since coached at Wake Forest, Pepperdine, and now Tiffin University.
I’ve had the opportunity to see a decent amount of baseball this past summer in the form of travel ball tournaments, showcases and prospect camps. The catchers seem to be the unsung heros that have a hard time standing out to the scouts. Joe and I started talking about this very topic the other day and came up with a Top 10 Ways Catchers Can Stand Out to Scouts. The first 5 are Joe’s and the final 5 are mine.
Joe: As I was sitting at an event the other day, I was talking with a parent of a Catching Tips subscriber. We were talking about catchers having a hard time being noticed at a showcase because pitchers, middle infielders and center fielders usually are the ones getting the scouts’ attention. They are the one’s facing the crowd and the catcher is often blocked by the umpire. These are just facts from the scout’s point of view.
A couple of ideas…ways to get noticed as a catcher:
1.) When catching balls from the outfield, make every possible play at the plate tag game speed / game aggressiveness.
2.) If you only get a couple throws to bases, there’s really not much you can do, other than make the most out of each throw. Cheat a little, not a lot!
3.) Be the guy that’s always being seen. Not in an annoying way, but ask if a coach needs help with catching in for infielders…whatever you can do to get face-time.
4.) During the game (if there is one), take charge… be vocal… back up first base on an infield ground ball with no-one on. Line up cut-off men to home (loud). Have some command and field-presence.
5.) The only other things you are usually evaluated on are 60 time and live batting practice on the field or in the cages. Make the most of it. Work in between showcases (or in the summer) on your swing… on your speed. No-one wants and slow guy, no-matter what position… unless you can flat-out rake!
6. If you’re in a showcase game, block balls in the dirt even when nobody is on base! You will only have so many opportunities to show off your blocking abilities- Take advantage of every chance you get! Don’t “Ole” balls just because there aren’t runners on base.
7. Be vocal when “lining up” infielders when outfielders are throwing home. This should happen whether it’s in a game or during the part of the showcase where outfielders are throwing home and the infielders are told not to cut the ball. If the infielders are there- Line them up and be loud!
8. If you are catching at a showcase, do your best to get to know the pitchers you will be catching ahead of time. Find out what pitches they throw, when they like to throw them, what their put away pitch is, etc. Not only will you make new friends, you will be able to help your pitchers be more effective in the games.
9. After strikeouts, throw the ball hard down to the third baseman. I see too many catchers lob balls after strikeouts. Take every advantage possible to show off your arm… Don’t be afraid to make the third basemen’s hand hurt.
10. Always be ready to fill in if the opportunity arises. Sometimes other catchers will get hurt during the game or not show up for whatever reason. Be the guy to step up and offer to catch the extra innings. I was at a HS prospect camp this past summer where because of a variety of circumstances a catcher caught 11 innings in a game. He had a great attitude about it and I heard coaches talking about him at the end of the day because of it. Be that guy!
Hope this helps you catchers stand out and get noticed. If you feel like I left something out, please let me now in the comments section below.