What’s different between pitching and catching a baseball? What is the difference between the two professions?'” he said.
There’s more than just a difference in what you do, though. In pitching, there are a lot of variables, such as velocity, spin rate and release point. In catching, there’s a lot more about a pitch. How long it’s been in the barrel, speed-wise, what’s the height of the ball when it leaves the hand — these are all factors that allow the pitcher to make a catch.
For many baseball-style hitters, catching is a more natural and logical step in their development, but for some pitchers, the move doesn’t even occur until they’re well into their 30s or 40s.
“In every case, from a physical standpoint, I find it more difficult because I can not keep my arms in, keep my body straight and just be ready to go,” said Justin Masterson, a former outfielder who recently joined Cleveland’s top pitching staff as a rookie catcher.
A catcher is on the mound, his body is perpendicular to that of the pitcher, and he’s using his arms to hold on to the ball as much as he can, Masterson said.
“With a pitcher who’s catching, there’s a constant need, no matter who it is, to ‘lift everything’ and throw strikes,” Masterson said. “So I never really get to the pitch, and I get to the ball a lot more often. When you have that, you’re pretty much forced to be a lot stronger.”
There are certainly reasons the move doesn’t occur earlier in life, such as genetics or the pressure that might lead a young hitter to become a pitcher when he was younger.
“There are some pitchers that, if you’re a good catcher or pitcher, then you’re a lucky pitcher,” Masterson said. “And then there are others who are born that way — even the ones that start in the minors.”
As Masterson explains, many young pitchers are taught that to get to this point, they have to throw fast and strike out a lot. When it isn’t that way, though, it can be tough.
“Some kids have been conditioned from early on to be a good fastball and a good breaking ball type of pitcher,” Masterson said. “I don’t think it’s because they’re so physically ready to go — it’s just not a natural progression.”
It is difficult