What Does CS Mean in Baseball? A Brief Explanation

catcher throwing out runner

What Does CS Mean in Baseball? A Brief Explanation 

One of the most important defensive statistics for catchers is CS. Some fans may not know what CS is, so this article will take some time to explain it.

CS is a metric that only applies to catchers. You'll understand why once we explain what it is.

What Does CS Stand For in Baseball?

The abbreviation CS in baseball stands for "caught stealing".

This statistic simply tallies up the total number of runners in a season thrown out by a specific catcher.

For example, Los Angeles Dodgers catcher Will Smith led the Major Leagues in 2021 with 24 runners caught stealing.

This means that Smith threw out a runner attempting to steal a base 24 times that season.

In order for a catcher to catch a runner attempting to steal, he has to make a great throw to an infielder (depending on the bag) and the infielder has to apply the tag before the runner reaches the base.

Why is CS Important?

One of the most critical aspects of a catcher's job is being able to keep runners from advancing. 

Having a high caught stealing number signifies that a catcher is effective at throwing out base runners.

A catcher with a great arm and a strong pop time is a big asset to a team, and he often demotivates runners from even thinking about trying to steal.

In the world of analytics driving decision making in baseball, coaches will be more apt to send runners when playing against a catcher who doesn't have good caught stealing metrics.

A catcher who excels at caught stealing can also be very attractive for teams looking to acquire solid defensive catchers.

Which Catcher has the Most CS in Baseball History?

When you think about the catcher that has the most runners caught stealing in baseball history, names like Johnny Bench, Carlton Fisk or Ivan Rodriguez come to mind. 

However, none of these Hall of Fame catchers hold the CS record. 

Instead, the catcher with the most runners caught stealing of all-time is Deacon McGuire, who has an incredible 1,459  caught stealing.

McGuire was an tremendously durable and talented defensive catcher who played an impressive 26 big league seasons between 1884 and 1912.

The simple fact that he stayed playing behind the plate so long - in an era where many catchers did not use much protective gear - is astounding in and of itself. 

McGuire is often overlooked today but the simple fact is that he is one of the top defensive catchers the game has ever seen. To learn more about catchers who lead in key statistical categories, we suggest checking out our comprehensive article on catching statistics.

Who Led the Majors in CS the last 10 Years?

Let's take a look now at the catcher who led the MLB in the number of runners caught stealing for each of the last 10 seasons. Beginning in 2012, they are as follows:

  • 2012 - Buster Posey, 38 CS
  • 2013 - Russell Martin, 36 CS
  • 2014 - Russell Martin, 27 CS
  • 2015 - Derek Norris, 44 CS
  • 2016 - Jonathan Lucroy, 44 CS
  • 2017 - Tucker Barnhart, 32 CS
  • 2018 - Jonathan Lucroy, 31 CS
  • 2019 - J.T. Realmuto, 43 CS
  • 2020 - Roberto Perez, 10 CS
  • 2021 - Will Smith, 24 CS


That's A Wrap!

We hope this brief article helped answer questions you may have had about the CS statistic in the great game of baseball. 

If you have additional questions, or comments, feel free to reach out. You can contact us by clicking here, or by sending an email to scott (at) catchershome (dot) com.

Thanks for stopping by Catchers Home.

Scott Perry is the owner and lead author at Catchers Home. He's a former baseball player, a current coach, a husband and a Dad. He remains as passionate about baseball today as he was as a kid.