There’s a lot to catcher defense we don’t necessarily see. Framing is hard to see sometimes and we didn’t know until recent years how much of an impact it has. We’ve long heard about game-calling but, as a game is happening, that sometimes becomes invisible to the casual viewer. Controlling the running game via cannon-like throws to second base is obvious, but there are other ways a catcher can control the running game too that aren’t as obvious.
Take Salvador Perez‘s work last night against the Astros. Kris Medlen already has a great move to first base but, unless I’m totally imagining things, he got a major assist from Perez who made a subtle hand motion for a throw over which ended up picking off George Springer at first base.
The announcers talked about it possibly being just a gesture to go through the signs again, but usually that’s a lot more deliberate. This looked like something else. I can’t find anyone talking about it after the game, but it sure seemed like teamwork in action.
Even if not, nice pickoff.