The best way to tell if you know someone is lying is if they say that they predicted that Dustin Garneau and Ryan Hanigan would be the starting catchers for the Colorado Rockies coming into 2017.
The Rockies were confident in their young catching core in Tony Wolters and Tom Murphy enough not to sign a veteran catcher in the offseason. Injuries though have derailed the Rockies plans enough that might have lead to panic behind the plate.
But Garneau and Hanigan have not let that happen. Garneau brings the defense and Hanigan brings the veteran experience. Even with his limited experience with his catchers, especially Hanigan, Bud Black still quickly spoke to what he likes about the starters he has now.
"“Getting to know Ryan just in the short term here and getting to know Dustin from spring training, both guys are really on board on game plan, pitch selection, working with the starting pitcher and guys coming out of the pen,” Black said."
"“The ability to handle the game plan, handle the pticher, work their way through a big league game. If you ask me what’s the most important thing, that’s it. Of all the things that the catcher does, I think that is probably the most critical. You know the blocking. The throwing the receiving the bat, are probably just down a few notches from game plan. How to handle the pitcher that particular day. To work through the opposing lineup. That’s what I’m seeing as their strengths.”"
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Garneau has had ample time to work on these game plans even though he has limited major league experience. With his time in Triple-A Albuquerque, Garneau might have the most experience with these younger pitchers. With that rapport he has established with these homegrown pitchers, he brings a unique perspective to the position. Garneau said he only wants to establish one thing in his time as the starting catcher.
"“Trust. That’s all I want so we can be on the same page. I’m trying to help my team win by calling a good game. That’s where it all starts. For me and getting guys through games.”"
While Garneau hopes to put a productive bat together, creating a game plan for his pitchers is what he takes most stock in. Along with being in sync with his pitchers, Garneau seems in sync with the same message his manager. Garneau credits his time in Triple-A to prepare him for his role now especially with German Marquez and Kyle Freeland.
The veteran pitching staff on this club is taking notice of Garneau’s game as well. Tyler Chatwood pitched a phenomenal game on Sunday afternoon going up 2.5 games for first place over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Chatwood pitched seven innings allowing one run on two hits. It is the longest game he has pitched at Coors Field this season and one of the best games in Denver in recent memory. This is all in a game that Garneau started. The verdict seems to be unanimous, Garneau calls a great game.
"“G’s great. Having him back there all the time is awesome. He has stepped up big time. His game calling and his receiving is very impressive,” Chatwood said."
"“Any time you’re out there and don’t have to worry about shaking [off pitches] and you have trust in your catcher, it’s always nice to only worry about executing pitches.”"
Even when Wolters and Murphy come back, it’s comforting for the team to know that no matter who is behind the dish, they will have an excellent game caller.