Stephen Vogt said there would be no substitute for experience when it came to learning the A’s new pitchers.
Since being cleared to catch March 9, following his recovery from right foot surgery, Vogt has gotten a crash course on Oakland’s re-shaped pitching staff. He’s soaking up all he can.
“I’ve caught pretty much all the new guys in a game,” Vogt said Monday. “It’s impressive to watch these guys work and the way they pitch. They’re just all competitors, and it’s really fun.”
Among the new pitchers Vogt has caught in games so far are Kendall Graveman, Jesse Hahn and reliever Tyler Clippard. Graveman and Hahn appear that they’ll be part of Oakland’s rotation and Clippard will likely be the closer until Sean Doolittle returns.
Vogt said his right foot is holding up well physically in games, but his defensive work in general is still a work in progress. He’s said all along that his throwing will be the final piece to come together as he develops his arm strength after months of inactivity leading into camp. He underwent surgery in October.
“It’s getting there,” Vogt said. “I feel better and better every day.”
Unlike last year, when the A’s utilized a three-catcher rotation for half the season, Vogt is slated to platoon with Josh Phegley.
Before he was cleared to catch, Vogt watched lots of video on all of the A’s new pitchers, trying to find tendencies, strengths and weaknesses. He said that prep work helped him once he finally got behind the plate in games.
“I like to watch video so I can see where they have a tendency to kind of lose their delivery or their mechanics,” he said.
Whose stuff is the toughest for a catcher to get a handle on?
“Graveman, because his ball moves quite a bit,” Vogt said. “Same with Hahn. They both have really late movement.”