Receiving Breakdown: Tucker Barnhart

Updated: Jan 21

We posted a video on Instagram recently with a breakdown of Tucker Barnhart’s mechanics while receiving the pitches below. We wanted to also post here and elaborate a bit more on the videos. We’d like to start by saying that Barnhart exhibits many of the qualities that make elite receivers successful: he is connected the the ground, in a comfortable and athletic (for him) position, creates good force back into the catch, and presents the ball consistently to the umpire. Most importantly, he is creating force from his pre-pitch move with the glove back through the ball and decelerating into presentation.

Let’s go ahead and breakdown some of the elements for each pitch below. Please note that each of these pitches has a low probability (%) of being called a strike based on relative pitches in the k-zone.

Pitch 1: RHP, Changeup, Down+

For the changeup located below the bottom of the zone from a right handed pitcher (RHP), Barnhart is setup in a standard left knee down (LKD) position with a left handed hitter in the box. When the pitcher begins his delivery, the glove target is set on the outside edge of the plate and is above the knees of the hitter. Notice that the target with the body is shaded outside likely to match the shape and desired location of the changeup. Prior to release, the pre-pitch move with the glove is down to the ground. Yet, this movement is still controlled and not violent. He is on time to the ball with an efficient path and creates force through the catch and into presentation. Barnhart uses slight flexion while in the pre-pitch and moves the ball back into the zone while at extension. His glove is relatively flat at presentation.

Pitch 2: RHP, Fastball, In/Up

For a fastball located up and in from a RHP, Barnhart’s setup is now taller and anchored more on the middle of the plate. Notice the difference in his pre-pitch glove load. Whereas the first pitch is expected to be down and the pre-pitch matches accordingly, the glove does not travel down nearly as much and is simply relaxed and neutral. This allows for more adjustability up or down if the pitch misses its intended spot. Although we anticipate the ball in one location, we need to be prepared to adjust and execute on a missed spot. Barnhart also remains taller at the catch and moves the ball slightly back into the zone at an extended position. Glove is again flat at presentation.

Pitch 3: RHP, FB, Down/Away

Similar timing and mechanics are used to help convert these pitches into strikes through the last few pitches. Lastly, notice the slight body angle that Barnhart has on the outside edge. Understanding how our body angles and silhouette work to assist the strike or ball decision is huge. Get the glove to a naturally comfortable position and move fluidly through the ball fast with controlled moves. When Barnhart’s timing is slightly off (or where the pitch is further down below the zone) he allows the mitt to turn negatively towards the ground so that he can maintain his move and get the baseball back to where he presents as efficiently as possible. At contact with the ball, you can see the angle and position of the glove before supination prior to being flat at presentation:

We work on these actions in our 6 Week Catching Program and with our catchers at 180 Performance Center. If you’d like to learn these glove mechanics, our program now includes our CRT Belt 2.0 so that you can continue to build your receiving strength, speed, and efficiency. At the time of writing this post we only have a few units remains before new inventory hits.

We will also be discussing everything involved in the receiving process (philosophy, setups, glove mechanics, game calling, and other catching mechanics) in our first eBook: “Catcher’s Receiving Handbook”. With a focus on modern receiving technique, we want you to learn how to receive and call games just like the best backstops in the game.

Keep grinding. We’ll be posting more breakdowns and information on our Learn page so if you haven’t already, sign up for our mailing list to be included in new releases!

- The KGS Team