Catcher pop time- What is it, How is it Important?

Baseball, MLB article at Knup Sports

Catcher pop time is a statistics for catchers. Not soda drinking.


Catcher pop time refers to the elapsed time from the moment the pitch hits the catcher’s mitt to the moment the intended fielder is projected to receive the throw at the center of the base on a steal or pickoff attempt.

When they ball doesn’t get to the center of the base but comes up short, Statcast accounts for the speed of the ball and will project how long the thrown balls speed would have taken to reach he center of the base.

Catcher Pop Time Components

There are three parts to Pop Time and they are:

  1. footwork– getting into throwing position
  2. exchange– from glove to release
  3. arm strength– velocity of the throw

Pop Time is a much better assessment of a catcher’s ability to throw out baserunners than the strength of his arm alone. A catcher with a great arm isn’t going to throw out many baserunners if it takes him a while to transfer the ball to his throwing hand and then release the throw.

However, a catcher with good Pop Time doesn’t always throw out runners. A big success could be as simple as the runner’s speed or the accuracy of the throw or the length of the pitcher’s delivery.

But with a quick Pop Time and an accurate throw, a catcher is doing what he can to stop the opposing running game.

Below are the best average pop times to second base on stolen-base attempts (min. 15 SB attempts at 2B) from the 2018 season. The MLB average on steal attempts of second base is 2.01 seconds.

Catcher Pop Time- 2022 Leaders to Second Base

The leader in 2022 was JT Realmuto.  He had a Pop Time of 1.82  and that led by a decent margin.

Sean Murphy was second at 1.89 and was tied with Rene Pinto, Jorge Alfaro and Christian Bethancourt.

Many articles have been written about Yadier Molina and how he stopped the running game. In 2022, he was 75th and his backup Andrew Knizner was 72nd. His replacement in 2023, Willson Contreras finished at 13th.

Catcher Pop Time- 2022 Leaders to Third Base

Murphy and Realmuto had the same stats on attempts to third base at 1.40. They were followed by Elias Diaz, Aramis Garcia and Willson Contreras.

Using the same example as above, we find Yadier Molina coming in at #65 and Knizner ar 82nd. As mentioned in previous paragraph, Contreras was in the top five.


In the past, they used a stopwatch to measure this metric and human error had a lot to do with the numbers produced. They they went o in-stadium technology and had concern about that. Now there is a newest technology being used and a fantastic article in the Sports Business Journal will explain what it is and how it works.


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