MLB Handicapping: Catchers Are The Key
When betting on MLB games, most people will look at the top sluggers and what pitchers are on the mound that day. This is definitely good to look at but too often a catcher is overlooked. They have more control over the game then most think they do. They control the pace of the play and a lot of times are controlling the whole game. Their job is to keep the pitcher in check and to handle the scouting reports on all the hitters. They have a lot going on and can a big part in the game. They could be the difference between if your team wins or loses. So give the catchers some love and do some research on them. Below are some things to take into account when betting on a game.
Rapport with a Pitcher
There are a lot of pitchers in the MLB who like to throw to the same catcher every time they go out. You have seen many catchers make a living off of just catching one pitcher. Most notably was David Ross with the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs signed him to catch Jon Lester because he felt comfortable with him. That comfort can help a pitcher when he is on the mound. Pitchers are creatures of habit and when they have the same catcher out there they can have a better feel for the game and therefore pitch better. When betting a game it would be good to check on this. In the past Lester may have put up better numbers with Ross catching compared to another catcher. This obviously changes how much confidence you would feel in that team.
Receiving the Ball
Yadier Molina is the best at receiving the baseball and has been for many years. If you do not think that matters just watch a game. He will get more calls for his team because of this. Obviously the more calls you can get the better a team will do. This does not mean they will always win but it definitely helps. There are lots of catchers out there that do not receive the ball as well and this can change a game. The pitcher might not get calls, they may get mad at not getting those calls and it could lead to more runs during the game. Pay attention to how a catcher is rated for his framing skills and more than likely you will see a better ERA and win rate.
Opponents Running Game
Many people will look at how many runners a catcher has thrown out and that is a great stat but it is not the only thing. Some catchers have a reputation and they runners do not steal as often against those catchers. So a good idea would be to check on the number of attempts against a catcher. If a team that likes to run doesn’t as much because of a catcher it can really neutralize a team and in turn give the advantage to the other team. If another catcher throws out a lot runners but they run more that could be an advantage for the team that is running. They feel like they can run and will produce more runs.
A lot of times if you look through a lineup the catcher may be the worst hitter. They are playing because they are a good catcher and any hits they get is bonus. One batter may not seem like enough to take a team over the top and it probably is not. But if they catcher is hitting well then it is one less hole in the lineup. This allows to the lineup to turn over more often and the potential to get to your best hitters with runners in scoring position.
What is Best?
There is no set way to look at a catcher and his importance to if a team wins. But using the above ideas can make you more prepared on what team to bet on. Catchers are the backbone of a team even if they do not get as much praise as the other players. They can make a pitcher better or they can hamper one. They are much more important in a game then most realize. They are easily ignored and may seem like they do not have a big effect on the game. But if your money is on the line you want to have the most information you can have and researching a catcher is very important. So next time you bet on a MLB game, take a look at whose is catching and get a good deal. Check out these six proven baseball betting strategies.