Backup Catchers: Necessity or Unnecessary?

Dan ReinerCorrespondent IApril 24, 2008

Many people underestimate the backup catcher.

People think that it is a person needed just in case of an injury to the starter.

But what most people don't realize is how important they are.

Records have it that the backup is almost always better defensively than the starting catcher. Because of the fact that catchers sit on the bench all game, they get a better look at how opposing players do at the plate; looking at locations to set and pitches to throw. Some also get more practice by catching in the bullpen.

Ranking the top backups in the league:

Jeff Mathis (LAA)- 12-33  3 HR 7 RBI

Jose Molina (NYY)- 12-36 7 2B

Chris Iannetta (COL)- 9-27 1 HR 5 RBI

Chris Coste (PHI)- 10-27 2 HR 4 RBI

Kevin Cash (BOS)- Great hitter? No. But one of the only catchers in the league that can recognize the knuckleball of Tim Wakefield

Brad Ausmus (HOU)- Stud behind the plate and a former starter.  

 Not amazing numbers, but think...most of them have only played a few games and yet come through for their teams.

Keep in mind that the backup catcher is not a wasted roster spot, because if the starter gets hurt, the backup is always ready.