Remember when Kyle Schwarber was a catcher?
Maybe you do. Maybe you don’t. But he certainly does, because the Boston Red Sox slugger recently explained to WEEI’s Rob Bradford that his time as a backstop played a role in his offensive development.
“I kind of always had a sense for the plate. I think a lot of it, too, was being a catcher,” Schwarber told Bradford, per a piece published Friday on WEEI.com. “Just receiving baseballs since I was a kid until 2015. So to see the ball come in behind the plate, I think that was a big help for me.
“The biggest thing is trusting the decision with your eyes. Don’t get me wrong, discipline can come and go, but it’s always something good to have when you feel like things aren’t going well.”
Schwarber, acquired by the Red Sox from the Washington Nationals at the Major League Baseball trade deadline, played catcher in the minors and during his early days with the Chicago Cubs. He’s totaled 26 games (144 innings) behind the dish in his major league career, with most of those coming in his debut season with Chicago in 2015. He’s caught just eight innings since the beginning of 2016.
The Red Sox presumably still have no plans to deploy Schwarber as a catcher this season, instead limiting him to first base and left field in addition to designated hitter. But it’s fascinating to hear how his previous glove work in that area helped shape his excellent plate discipline, which has had an extremely positive trickle-down effect on Boston’s offense since his acquisition.