Over the course of a baseball season you will find many games that are too close to call. Most baseball bettors, looking for values that are clearer, don’t wager on these games.

While this isn’t necessarily a bad strategy, what if you could add an additional tool that will help you bet on more of these close games profitably?

Every profitable baseball bettor understands how important the starting pitching match ups are, but few consider the starting catcher match ups. The sports bettors who win year in and year out are the ones who aren’t doing the same things as everyone else.

The average sports bettor loses, so make sure you are above average. Using catching match ups is one way you make yourself above average.

How to Use Catching Match Ups

Here are the things you need to start tracking in order to make good decisions based on the catchers in any match up:

  • Pitcher’s ERA by catcher
  • The catcher’s percentage of stolen base attempts per times a runner is on first with no runner on second
  • Opponents’ stolen base success percentage against each catcher.

It’s not enough to just track how many runners get thrown out by a catcher and the percentage of would be base stealers who are caught. The best catchers at throwing out potential base stealers tend to have fewer players attempt to steal bases than catchers with worse arms.

Not all of these statistics are easy to find, but the work it takes to compile them is worth the effort.

Over the years there have been many catchers who were so good that they stopped many players from even trying to steal bases against them. Pudge Rodriguez was one of the best throwing catchers of all time. I saw him play many times, and opposing teams often just didn’t run against him. When a catcher can take away a team’s ability to steal bases, it changes the outcome of many games.

Also, some pitchers perform better when throwing to particular catchers. On the other hand, some pitchers tend to be the same no matter who is catching.

Learn which ones belong in each category.

Catchers and Injuries

Pitchers often try to play through injuries, and it can cost sports bettors a lot of money when they don’t know about it. Most pitchers don’t tell anyone about it unless it gets so bad that they can’t pitch so the bettor is one of the last to find out.

It’s even worse when it comes to catchers. In today’s baseball game catchers get more days off than they have in the past, but they still take quite a beating behind the plate over the course of a season. Because of this you need to track catcher’s offensive and defensive statistics on an ongoing basis.

Catch You Later is a book about Johnny Bench, one of the best catchers of all time, which went into great detail about many of the injuries he suffered and played through over the course of his playing career. I read it over 20 years ago, and it has stuck with me. Reading it won’t help you become a better sports bettor, but it can open your eyes to how badly catchers can be hurt and still play.

You can often see when a catcher is hurting when you watch them on a regular basis, but it’s hard to watch all of the games, especially if you’re a frequent bettor.

So the only way to get an idea of when a catcher is hurting or getting worn down is to track their statistics closely.

Balancing a cold streak with an actual injury or tiredness is difficult, but the more you know about how they preform historically, the easier it will be to see real trends.

Another variable to consider is how hot the weather has been for the catchers you are tracking. Has a catcher just caught three games in 100 degree heat in Texas or has he just had an off day after catching in 60 degree weather in Cleveland?


Using catching match ups and statistics is an advanced tactic only used by a few baseball bettors. But it can make the difference between a winning and losing wager. Over the course of a season it could help you win quite a few more games.

Any edge you can find is an edge that you should use. In a profession that only has a few percentage points separating the winners and losers, every edge, no matter how small, is worth exploiting.

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