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Joe Morgan simplifies a catcher's responsibility just a wee bit

Big League Stew

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During Sunday night's Phillies-Cubs broadcast, Joe Morgan apparently said that learning to play shortstop is the toughest lesson that a young player can go through.

And that's fine. Learning the ol' No. 6 position is clearly not a picnic and it does take a special talent like Elvis Andrus(notes) or Starlin Castro(notes) to convince a general manager that it's OK to put a 20-year-old up the middle.

I'm in the camp that believes learning to be a big league catcher would be more difficult — there's a reason the Nationals are abandoning Bryce Harper's positional value behind the plate and parking him in right field — but I certainly don't begrudge Morgan's opinion. It's not as if he was taking up the cause of stone-footed first basemen everywhere.

What I do take issue with is Morgan oversimplifying a catcher's contributions while trying to solidify his shortstop point in a chat on ESPN.com on Tuesday.

"Catching is putting the fingers down and catching the ball," Morgan wrote to a catching fan. "Veteran pitchers call their own games in the majors. No one makes the plays for you at shortstop. You get help when you're a young catcher. Managers will sometimes call pitches, like a football coach calling plays. There's more you have to do as a shortstop — it's not the hardest position to play as a young player, but there's more to learn."

Sheesh. Morgan — or whoever was doing the typing for him — should have just gone ahead and made today's catchers all out to be Engelberg-types who down buckets of KFC and Milk Duds while serving as a second chest protector for the umpires behind them.

After all, it's not as if catchers have to learn how to catch every pitcher on staff, align a defense, block wild pitches, position himself in front of a full-speed-ahead runner who's trying to score and, oh yeah, get to the point where he's comfortable making suggestions or calling a pitch to his guys out on the mound.

Nope, guys like Carlos Santana(notes) and Buster Posey(notes) have it easy because it's all just about "putting the fingers down and catching the ball," while everyone else around you does all the work. You know, just like Joe says.

Again, though, I'm not saying that Morgan is wrong in saying that shortstop is difficult to learn. And I think it makes as the starting point for a pretty good debate.

Which position do you think is tougher for a young player to pick up?

Big BLS H/Ns: @NickBromberg, @MikeSciosciasTI

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