So here’s the hypothesis. If one-knee catching had an impact on passed balls and wild pitches, we would see an increase in MLB’s league-wide data. In 2017, we had catchers all using traditional stances. In 2022, we have a large number of catchers using one-knee stances.
So here’s the key number: 0.05.
As helpfully recorded by Baseball Reference, in an average MLB game in 2022, there are 0.05 passed balls. So if you watch 20 games, you will see a passed ball. That rate is the lowest in the history of the major leagues. The wild pitch rate is 0.34. That is lower than the rate in any year since 2012, five years before the idea of one-knee catching began to proliferate in any way and is right in line with wild pitch rates of the past few decades.
If you look at that graphic, the steady growth of one-knee catching in 2019, 2020 and 2021 should have led to a spike in wild pitches and passed balls if one-knee catching leads to more balls that get away from the catcher. No such spike was recorded. Even more so, in 2022 (with one-knee stances growing ever more popular), the wild pitch and passed ball rates have plunged further.