SF Giants C Tyler Heineman
The Giants are currently running a light platoon with their catchers between switch-hitting catcher Tyler Heineman and rookie Chadwick Tromp.
San Francisco manager Gabe Kappler has been using Heineman almost entirely against right-handed pitchers while Tromp, who only hits from the right side, gets the majority of at-bats versus southpaws.
So it would make sense that Heineman at least hits righties well, right?
Through the Giants’ first 20 games and his 39 plate appearances, not only is it wrong, but the inverse is true: Heineman is carrying a noticeably higher batting average against lefties (.286) than righties (.192).
Right now Heineman’s only saving grace is that Tromp is slashing .176/.211/.529 against righties, just marginally worse than his own performance.
And then there’s the catcher’s interference issue.
Catcher’s interference is when the player behind the plate makes contact with the hitter or impedes their ability to swing, either by touching them or reaching too far forward with their glove and getting in the path of the hitter’s swing. Heineman’s reoccurring problem has been the latter.
The result: he is giving up free hits and moving up runners.
Heineman has committed the cardinal sin which allows for a free baserunner three times this season. As contributor Nick San Miguel noted in a recent comparison, that’s as many times as Posey has been called on the mistake in his entire 11-year career.
But if it is Heineman’s job to take on left-handed pitching and lefties alone, he is struggling to do so. Simple mistakes on defense does not help either. One has to question how much longer Kapler and the Giants will let this go.