One aspect of Hank Conger’s defense has been surprisingly pleasant to watch this season. (Getty Images)
One of the Angels’ catchers is among the top five in the league at framing pitches.
Who would have guessed it’s Hank Conger?
Oh, and the Angels’ starter, Chris Iannetta, is among the bottom five.
Treat everything you read in today’s Baseball Prospectus article with the caution due a 21-game sample size — four, if you include only the games Conger has caught. But there was a point in spring training where merely making an late, accurate throw to second base was enough to lift Conger’s spirits, and this article sheds light on another area of his progress defensively.
Conger hasn’t made an error yet this year. That isn’t to say all his throws have been accurate; some have short-hopped an infielder but were caught anyway and didn’t go down as an error. (None have short-hopped the pitcher.)
For all the nuances that go into fielding the catcher’s position, framing pitches is an easy one to miss. It’s dependent on the pitcher (to find the corners of the plate) and the umpire (to be swayed into calling a pitch based on how it’s received), in addition to the catcher.
Some more recommended reading for a Sierra Leone independence day weekend:
Angels catcher Hank Conger made three throws to infielders in Thursday night’s exhibition game against the Texas Rangers. Two came on stolen base attempts at second; both runners were safe. The other came when Conger tried to pick off the runner at first base, starting a rundown that resulted in Leonys Martin being caught stealing, 2-3-4 in your scorebook.
It was only three throws and only an exhibition game in March.
And yet …
“It’s huge,” Conger said.
If it were a regular-season game, you’d be talking about it tomorrow. Josh Hamilton’s first game against the Rangers was overshadowed by a lot of things: a walkoff hit, a four-homer inning, a complete implosion by Jerome Williams and — stop the presses — three damn fine throws from behind home plate by Hank Conger.
But since it’s only spring training (checking my watch, yup, one more week…) it’s getting the postgame bullet-point treatment for posterity.
Chris Snyder began Monday as a member of the Washington Nationals. By noon, he was in the mix to be the Angels’ backup catcher.
According to multiple reports, the Angels are seeking help for their backup catcher position. Hank Conger is the front-runner in camp, hitting .417 in Cactus League play, but his erratic throws to second base have given the team pause.
While Conger has pledged to straighten out the issue in time for Opening Day, it makes sense if the Angels are in the market for a better defensive alternative to starter Chris Iannetta.
Will Hank Conger‘s wild arm behind the plate Wednesday cripple his chances of making the Angels?
Manager Mike Scioscia didn’t lay down a red carpet to his doghouse for Conger, who nearly decapitated Jered Weaver on a throw to second base Wednesday. Neither did Scioscia lie about where Conger stands right now.
PEORIA, Ariz. (AP) — Hours before Mike Trout singled in his first at-bat this spring, the Los Angeles Angels’ outfielder was a big hit with some kids.
Trout and teammates David Carpenter, Michael Kohn and Travis Witherspoon brought $5,000 worth of school supplies and toys Monday morning to Children First Academy, a Tempe charter school for underprivileged and homeless kids.
“After it was all over the kids ran up and gave us a big hug,” the 20-year-old Trout said. “Put a smile on my face and all the teammates that came.
“Doing stuff for the community,” Trout added, “it means a lot to me.”
A few hours later, Trout scored twice for the Angels in a 9-8 loss to the Seattle Mariners. The AL Rookie of the Year and runner-up in the MVP voting last season also walked.
TEMPE, Ariz. — Jerome Williams knows his place on the Los Angeles Angels’ pitching staff. His job is to be ready for any role necessary.
Making his first spring training start since 2007, Williams allowed a home run to Luis Valbuena but little else Saturday as an Angels split squad was beaten 11-2 by the Chicago Cubs.
“I got the first homer out of the way,” Williams said. “It was a curve. (Valbuena) had to go down to get it and he did.”
Hank Conger made his first career opening day roster two years ago. He would like to do so again – and stick around this time, too.
The 25-year-old catcher knows what he needs to do.
Bobby Wilson signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees, leaving Chris Iannetta, Hank Conger and John Hester as the only catchers on the Angels’ 40-man roster. Who will back up Iannetta? Will they sign a veteran backup like Southern California native Matt Treanor? These are two of the key questions facing a team with a loaded starting lineup and several options for filling out its bench.