FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Orioles manager Brandon Hyde knows what it’s like to be an aspiring catcher. He never made it to the Major League level, but garnered vast experience in the Minor Leagues. So Hyde can relate to what the Orioles’ young catching corps is going through.
“I think I’m a little bit more critical about detailed stuff with them, but I also understand what it’s like to catch,” Hyde said. “So I understand how hard it is.”
Martin Cervenka, another candidate for the job, belted a three-run homer in the ninth inning.
“We have some young catchers and there’s so much thrown on a young catcher’s plate right now,” Hyde said. “Not only being able to catch big league pitchers, being able to go catch bullpen guys that have nasty stuff, you still got to be able to hit, be a leader on the field, now you have to know game planning inside and out and the analytical information.
“There’s so much to being a young catcher, that I have some patience with that,” Hyde said. “I understand that feeling of being overwhelmed as a young catcher.”
But Hyde said he has been impressed with the group of catchers in camp.
“I think we made huge strides behind the plate in their communication,” Hyde said. “You haven’t seen balls go to the backstop. We haven’t dropped balls. When we have an opportunity to throw somebody out, we’ve thrown them out.”
Communication, effort and attention to detail are among improvements Hyde said he has seen this spring.
“Some of those guys are just scratching the surface of what they can be behind the plate,” Hyde said. “Chance is one of those, and Austin Wynns caught really, really well yesterday, a ton of really tough blocks in big spots with runners on base. He gives you a good AB. So I’m really encouraged by a lot of the things, especially the younger guys that are in camp.”
Obviously having experience behind the plate is optimal, and non-roster invitees Jesus Sucre (223 Major League games), Carlos Perez (212) and Andrew Susac (113) have the advantage there.
“When we take the two or three guys behind the plate that we’re going to open up with, there’s going to be a lot of factors that go into it,” Hyde said. “But experience obviously does really help. Especially if you have inexperience on the mound, a veteran guy could possibly help.”
Does Hyde plan on carrying three catchers into the 2019 season?
“[At this point] I have no idea,” Hyde said.