Garrett Stubbs set a Statcast record for the most ground covered by a catcher
When you're a 23-year-old catcher trying to fight your way out of the Minors, you'll do anything you can to impress your team. So the Astros had to have liked what they saw from catcher Garrett Stubbs, who handled the final out of their 8-6 victory over the Cubs on Thursday night.
Stubbs entered the action as an eighth-inning replacement for Brian McCann, so he didn't have time to show off until the last play of the game. The Astros deployed a shift on Kyle Schwarber, but he hit a high popup tailing off toward third base. The only problem for Houston was that no one was even close.
According to Daren Willman, Stubbs ranged further to make the catch than any catcher in the Statcast era at 85 feet. It was an essentially perfect run too, as Stubbs' route efficiency was measured at 97.8 percent. The only catcher in the Statcast era to range nearly that far was Sandy Leon of the Red Sox, who ran 78 feet to make this catch against the Orioles on Sept. 21, 2016.
Leon's catch was more crucial since it came in a regular-season game, but Stubbs deserves credit anyway since the ball would have fallen in fair territory had he not darted up the third-base line to snare it.
The 2015 eighth-round pick out of USC has some big names ahead of him on the Astros' depth chart in McCann and Evan Gattis, but there was clearly a reason why MLB Pipeline named Stubbs the best catcher in the Astros' system and their 11th-best prospect overall. It was a remarkable display of hustle to end the game.