The education of Jason Motte
October, 22, 2011
By Jim Bowden | ESPN Insider
Jamie Squire/Getty ImagesJason Motte is talented but still has much to learn about pitching.
Though St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has never unequivocally stated that young Jason Motte is his closer, the hard-throwing Motte certainly has taken it upon himself to act like one. Until he stumbled in the ninth inning of Thursday's Game 2, Motte had been nigh un-hittable, having thrown nine postseason innings without an earned run while recording five saves and seven strikeouts. He took the loss on Thursday.
That sounds like a closer to me.
Motte is a converted catcher, who by his own admission started pitching because he couldn't hit. The Cardinals drafted him out of tiny Iona College in the 19th round of the 2003 draft. After watching him flail about for three years, they liked his arm enough to try him out on the mound.
Understand that catchers are usually the first players teams will try to salvage simply because the probability of them converting into an effective pitcher is better than any other position. They already are used to throwing the 60 feet and six inches between home plate and the mound. They are in tune with pitch sequencing and hitters' habits and usually have good baseball IQs, making the switch easier.