Most young catchers think the hardest pitch to catch is something that breaks, whether it be a curveball, slider, or something in between. But the opposite is actually true. The hardest pitch to catch in baseball is the fastball. Not just any fastball. The low fastball. It is the hardest pitch to catch and present in the zone without looking like an idiot moving your glove up 8 inches after you catch it. This makes you like you’ve never caught a day in your life and implies you think the ump is stupid enough not to realize you moved your glove.
The most effective way I have found to catch the low fastball or a sinker is to simply turn your glove down and bring your thumb up as you catch the baseball. Just put your glove on and do this motion and you will see the glove moves several inches up into the zone without moving your whole arm. If you are having trouble visioning this motion picture moving your wrist the opposite way to engage the throttle on a motorcycle. On a motorcycle you pull your wrist towards you, to catch a low fastball you push the throttle away from your body.
My entire life I have been a catcher and almost my entire life I have been doing it wrong. Growing up the only things I cared about were backhanding spiked fastballs and throwing out runners, basically I wanted to be a white Yadier Molina. I even contemplated a neck tattoo for a while. Anyway, I was ignoring the most fundamental aspect of catching. Get out a piece of paper and pen to write down what I am about to tell you because this is groundbreaking stuff. Coaches charge hundreds and thousands of dollars for training and teaching what I am about to share for free. Are you ready? To be a good catcher you have to CATCH THE BASEBALL. I know its crazy. Who would of thought a catcher would have to be able to catch? Yea a 1.8 pop time is like bragging you throw 96 or have a 300lb bench press. But coaches want catchers who can catch. You can make it all the way to the big leagues with only the ability to catch and not being able to hit your way out of a wet paper bag, just look at almost every backup big league catcher. Organizations need guys who can handle the 17 year old Dominican who throws 103mph during a flat ground with no idea where its going and there are only a handful out there. By being that guy you will continue to move up the ranks and play baseball at a high level.
One of the best receivers in the game hands down is Jose Molina. My favorite thing about Jose is how he catches an inside fastball running off the plate. He anticipates where the pitch will end up, something I have already talked about, and beats the pitch to the spot, extends through the pitch, and presents it still in the strike zone (I know this video isn’t an inside fastball running off the plate but you get the idea). This is different than “framing” a pitch which is an awful term I wish was banned from baseball. The difference is that imagine catching the pitch at two points, point A and point B. At point A the pitch is still in the zone and at point B the pitch has ran off the plate, where do you want to catch it? I hope all of you said point A, if not I don’t think you’ll get picked up by any big league teams to catch their Dominicans anytime soon. Nevertheless learn to properly catch and receive pitches. It is by far the most important part of the job and is the number one thing college coaches are looking for.