Dusty Baker Has Managed in Two of Three Postseason No-Hitters
It’s no secret that Dusty Baker, the new pitching coach to the Nationals, has a long and storied past as a catcher. He was once quite the young ballplayer at the University of Virginia, where he played alongside current Nationals catcher Wilson Ramos, and he was, of course, a successful Major Leaguer himself.
So it should come as no surprise that, throughout his time in the Major Leagues, Baker has kept his eye on the game and the skills that he saw from one of the game’s most creative and versatile sluggers. Baker, who led the majors in strikeouts as a catcher in 2016, has taken notice of how much more effective Aaron Judge is not just in regards to home runs but also how his game translates to more advanced hitting situations.
Baker said that, when it came to Judge last season as a batter, he watched him do different things that he “didn’t think could happen.”
“He was able to go to a lot of different different spots in the zone without the ball getting out of the park, to do some really interesting things,” Baker said. “He got us in a lot of hitter’s count situations. He gets us in a lot of two-strike situations.
“He was able to do a lot of these things that most guys don’t do with their range in the strike zone, especially now with the new, the next generation pitching. It’s not just, go to the zone, hit the zone and all of that. They try a lot of different things to keep the ball in the ballpark and get guys to swing at different pitches.”
Judge’s ability to drive the ball to the opposite field may be the most impressive, but Baker also told us what he thought about the game’s best defensive shortstop.
“Aaron Judge is a tremendous talent but he’s been great,” Baker said. “He’s hit for some home runs but he’s also stolen bases and he’s really good at what he does. He’s a great student of the game and he’s good at what he does.”
Bakers’ history with Aaron Judge extends beyond the catcher’s glove. Like almost every big leaguer, Baker spent time in the minor leagues before making his Major League debut with the Phillies in 2005 and playing a total of seven seasons with the team.