I am 15 and I was the number 1 starter on my freshman team. So therefore I was always tasked with pitching against the juggernauts in our region. And recently I pitched a against a team that brought down their freshmen from Junior Varsity and Varsity. I was dealing the first 4 innings, but then in the 5th, they broke through with 3 runs. And it confused me. Because I was mixing my pitches and locations but I thought it might have been I only throw 3 pitches? So should i add a 4th? I hit all my spots with all these pitches every time. Control isn’t an issue. Any ideas for a 4th pitch? Or should I focus on these 3?

Well tell me what your three pitches are. It sounds like you maybe weren’t mixing speeds or locating pitches as well as you thought. Or maybe they just found a way to hit you.

I throw a 2-seam fastball, a 2-8 curveball, and a circle change-up

Maybe you could try a cutter? So u have something that goes opposite of ur 2 seam?

If you hit your spots with all of your pitches every time, then you pitched well - they just “hit 'em where they ain’t”. You’re not going to get everyone out all of the time, no matter how great you pitch.

It’s silly to add a 4th pitch until you have really mastered the first 3. Most MLB pitchers have not mastered 4 pitches. If anything you might want to add a 4-seamer, which is the easiest to control and usually adds a couple MPH’s over the 2-seamer (and a different look to the hitter).

Most of all, work on improving your mechanics so you can increase your velocity (especially if you already have really good control as you say).

Good luck!

okay… thank you guys, ill try both pitches out and see which one i like better. It’ll probably be the cutter though cause as you said it moves opposite the 2 seamer… so good ideas. thanks

Before adding a 4th pitch I’d go back and review your pitch sequencing and location during the 5th inning. Did you change anything? Had you fallen into a predictable pattern- especially to each individual hitter? Were you mixing pitches and location randomly or did you have a plan? Did you change your approach with runners on base- perhaps more fastballs? Did you tire and lose a little off your fastball? Did the hitters change their approach- perhaps suddenly hitting first pitch fastballs which they’d previously been taking.

I’m a big fan of Perry Husband’s work regarding a concept called ‘effective velocity” or EV (all disclaimers apply by the way). I have posted this before but EV is basically the effects of location and velocity and how they combine to impact a hitter’s reaction time. A simple example of poor use of effective velocity would be a low and away fastball followed by a changeup that stays up and perhaps drifts a little in. Although the gun may read two different velocities the hitter’s reaction time for both pitches is very similar thus negating the effectiveness of the changeup. Follow the changeup with another low and away fastball and you’ve just presented the hitter with a third consecutive pitch with essentially the same effective velocity.

Husband uses the term “EV crossover” to describe the sequence of two seemingly different pitches combining to present the hitter with successive pitches requiring similar reaction times. This “crossover” is a reason some pitchers’ best pitches get hit. If you were hitting your spots but were sequencing and locating randomly then it’s possible you finally “crossed over” too many times. That’s why going back and reviewing the inning is so important.

Examples of simple but effective sequences are FB in CU away- or CU down FB up. In theses examples effective velocity differential is actually magnified and creates real problems for hitters. So rather than learning a new pitch, I’d suggest learning to locate and properly sequence the ones you have. Command of three pitches to two locations, in the proper sequence, should be enough to be effective.

Pitch sequencing is one of the key points in strategic pitching. When Ed Lopat was talking to me about that he emphasized the importance of NOT falling into a predictable pattern. He said, in effect, that you should never throw the same pitch in the same place at the same speed, because that’s exactly what batters are looking for. He told me about changing the batter’s eye level and about moving the ball around—high, low, inside, outside—and changing speeds. I would say that if you’re pitching with a limited repertoire you absolutely have to do these things in order to keep from getting belted around from here to Timbuktu and back. (Having an extensive repertoire of “snake jazz” I had no difficulty doing this.)
This is particularly true if you find yourself with a 3-1 count on the hitter. Stop and think—what is he looking for? Did he take that 3-0 pitch, and if so is he taking all the way or is he thinking of swinging on the 3-1? Or if he swung at that 3-0 pitch, is he possibly going after that 3-1 pitch, or will he wait and hope for a base on balls (excuse the expression)? Or, if there’s a runner on first, will this batter attempt to bunt? Now’s the time to call your catcher out to the mound and discuss the situation. One thing—if the batter does something that indicates a bunt, pitch him high, because the high inside pitch is perhaps the most difficult to bunt on. And if he fouls it off or misses it altogether, then you have him 3-and-2, and perhaps you can go for the strikeout.
Mike Mussina had a devastating knucikle-curve. You might want to experiment with that one and see if you can work it up. That could be your strikeout pitch. :slight_smile: 8)

huh… you guys gave me something too think about. thank you. Ill be sure to work on that knuckle curve in my bullpens and EV is really important. I’ve never even heard of that before

Dont neglect the 4seam ive always gone by this unwritten rule 4seam low and outside 2seam inside to righties. Spotting that 4seam low and away is without a doubt the best pitch in baseball. You just simply cant pitch effectively there with the tail of a 2seam it will end up right over the plate. Almost every single pitcher can get by on 3 pitches Fastball, Changeup, and a bender may it be Slider/Curve/Cutter/Knuckle. As someone mentioned master the 3 pitches your best at fastball change and a bender its generally the people that cant pitch as fast as the others that have to compensate with more pitches look at jamie moyer throwing that complete game shutout just a few days ago.

well i usually start the 2-seamer outside and work it back over the plate. but i do throw a 4-seam down and away. i just dont use it at all. i may throw… 50 fastballs in a game say, 2 are 4-seam. i dont neglect the pitch. i just use it sparingly, because the little extra velocity on it screws guys up. i dont know though… i could use it more