Receiving is the most important skill for a catcher. It is what the position is named for. A catcher is going to receive every pitch that is thrown in a game, and that number generally ranges between 150-200 pitches per game. This is the skill a catcher uses more than any other, and that is why we say that receiving is the most important skill for a catcher.
Now, with all that being said, it is important to note that some coaches/scouts do not put receiving at the top of their priority list. Recent history has shown coaches/scouts seeking after catchers with strong arms so they can control the running game. Having a strong arm and controlling the running are very important, but the best catchers still only throw out 40% of runners. And on top of that, even in a worst-case scenario it is hard to imagine a catcher making more than 10 throws in a game. No matter what, though, a catcher has to receive 100% of the pitches thrown to them throughout the game so that is why we stand by our belief that receiving is the most important skill for a catcher.
Fortunately, the rise of technology and analytics in baseball are creating the opportunity to measure how well a catcher receives, and people are beginning to see how catchers that receive well and win pitches for their pitchers make a big difference over the course of a season.
Receiving is not as flashy as throwing runners out or blocking the ball, but it is essential. And, every catcher can learn to win pitches for their pitcher by mastering these receiving keys:
1) Quiet Glove (Low Target)
2) Thumb Under (Same Presentation Every Pitch)
3) Beat the Ball to the Spot (One Quick, Efficient Movement)
4) Stay Below the Ball (No Drifting/Tracing)
5) Don't Frame! (Catch the Ball in One of Three Ways)