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Thursday, August 02, 2012

Arangure: Carlos Ruiz - The making of an All-Star catcher

This is a long ESPN The Magazine article about Ruiz’s unlikely road to stardom. From dropping out of college and switching from 2B to C at age 19, to having to adapt to a foreign country (the Dominican), to having to adapt to the U.S., to being anointed backup catcher at Reading at age 25, to beating out hot prospect Russ Jacobson for a job, and so on, all at 5’9”. With essential assistance from luminaries like Allan Lewis, Mick Billmeyer, Mike Compton, and John Russell.

Includes interesting details about the importance of coaching, catching techniques, and the whole hidden infrastructure of the minor leagues.

Although Billmeyer’s instruction was based in fundamentals, Compton provided the perfect theoretical complement. He taught Ruiz about the three basic catcher stances: the small stance, which is the relaxed crouch when catchers handle bullpens or situations with nobody on base; the action stance, in which catchers with men on base must be ready to block balls in the dirt; and perhaps most important, the natural stance, the position where catchers have to position themselves optimally to get the benefit of the doubt from umpires on strike calls.

Crispix Attacksel Rios Posted: August 02, 2012 at 12:30 PM | 3 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: catching, long reads, panama, phillies

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   1. GregD Posted: August 02, 2012 at 02:08 PM (#4199020)
One of the most-surprising players I can recall. Even as he began to develop, I always thought he was just riding a hot streak and was heading back to obscurity.
   2. dr. scott Posted: August 02, 2012 at 07:43 PM (#4199271)
great article. Worth the read, and not that long. I should really be writing a test plan though.
   3. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: August 03, 2012 at 12:56 AM (#4199471)
Turning yourself into an MLB catcher has got to be one of the most arduous journeys in sport.

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