Cooper: MLB catchers’ workloads keep decreasing

From J.J. Cooper at Baseball America on November 17, 2016:

Garrett Stubbs has one small problem on his path to the big leagues. It’s the same issue he’s been battling for years.

Stubbs is one of the best defensive catchers in the minors. He frames pitches exceptionally well. He threw out 52 percent of basestealers in 2016 and he moves behind the the plate with a nimbleness that is rarely seen by someone wearing the gear.


But Stubbs still lasted to the eighth round in the 2015 draft. And he had to wait until after his senior season to even be drafted–despite similar defensive numbers as a junior, he went undrafted and he wasn’t drafted out of high school. And the reason he fell so far in the draft is the same reason he faces skepticism now.

Stubbs is simply smaller than any regular catcher to play in the big leagues in the 21st century. Stubbs is listed at 5-foot-10, 170 pounds and even that might spot him a dozen pounds. So there is an understandable worry among scouts and front office officials over whether Stubbs can handle a full-time, big league catching job.

Stubbs only caught 66 games in 2016, so he didn’t exactly answer questions about his ability to handle a heavy workload (he did catch an additional 15 games in the Arizona Fall League). But when it comes to catchers, the expected workload isn’t as steep as it used to be.

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Originally published: November 18, 2016. Last Updated: November 18, 2016.