Stephen Vogt Catches | The Process Report

Stephen Vogt Catches

Stephen Vogt made his first big-league start at catcher on Sunday. The knocks on Vogt’s defensive game behind the plate entering the season were an average arm and mediocre receiving abilities. The latter reared its head on Sunday, and almost cost the Rays.

During the sixth inning, Jeremy Hellickson had J.P. Arencibia in a 2-2 count. Hellickson decided to throw a fastball inside; either on the corner or a little off the corner. Sure enough, the pitch wound up in and off the plate. The umpire correctly called it a ball, moving the count to 3-2. Vogt’s mistake is not that he failed to get the strike call, but that he gave himself no chance to get the strike call. Check out how Vogt catches the ball:

Vogt’s positioning and catching technique leave his mitt vertical and almost wide of his body. In doing so, Vogt made the umpire’s decision for him. Sunday’s incident marked the second time this week I’ve raised my eyebrows at a Vogt catch. The first time came on a Dane De La Rosa fastball. On that pitch, it looked as though Vogt moved his mitt from the inside corner over the plate before righting himself and moving the mitt back to the inside corner.

Perhaps this is all confirmation bias. Perhaps, were it Jose Molina, I would shrug it off as a rare misjudgment. With Vogt, and with the reports of mediocre defense, I’m not so sure. I think this play and the one earlier in the week exemplify his issues. There are reasons why the same organization that tolerated John Jaso’s defense doesn’t seem sold on Vogt being a legitimate option behind the plate. Sloppy receiving is probably part of it.

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