Dewan: Timing pitchers and catchers to prevent stolen bases

From SABR member John Dewan at ACTA Sports on April 24, 2013:

There are many factors that come into play in defense of a stolen base attempt, but at the core of any successful caught stealing is a quick delivery by the pitcher and quick receipt, transfer, and throw by the catcher. Other factors come into play, such as a pitcher’s pickoff move and a runner’s speed and jump, but the pitcher delivery time and the catcher pop time (i.e. the time from the moment the ball hits the catcher’s mitt to the time it reaches second base) directly impact a runner’s chances of success.

Baseball Info Solutions has timed pitcher deliveries and catcher pops for the last few seasons. When you combine the pitcher’s time to the plate and the catcher’s pop time, you can see the strength of that relationship.

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Originally published: April 24, 2013. Last Updated: April 24, 2013.