There are many indicators of a batter’s weakness that we can learn from. Stance in the box, foot positions, arm and hand placement just before the swing, stride or no-stride on the pitch, head and eye posture, and the list goes on. Even the placement of batters in the batting order can tell us something.
During the learning process, it helps to start somewhere basic. Something that’s easy to observe, take notes and remember. The next step is to use this acquired knowledge – even the simplest things, in live time during a game.
Here’s a simple yet effective way to start. Study the basic placement of the batter when in the
batter’s box – THEN DON’T PITCH CERTAIN PITCHES.
How’s that for a new twist. Instead of being advised what to pitch, here your being advised what not to pitch. In some situations, if time allows, during BP is an excellent time to take these suggestion out for a test drive. Your teammates at bat will be so enthralled with taking you deep, they’ll never guess your mental note – “Ok, he’s up in the box and I send a sinker.”
“Remind myself don’t toss sinkers when a guy is up in the box.” … “ yeah, got it!”
Now keep pitching sinkers to the guy who cheats up in the box and watch the pretty birdie. Same mental note …… same sinker pitch …. watch the ball fly … same mental note.
During one BP session I went as far as hanging a small portable tape recorder on the pitcher’s protective screen so each man in the rotation could make verbal notes and listen latter. I was even surprised at the results.
Below is a very basic chart that you can start off with and then adjust accordingly.
I’m new to baseball altogether, but if you play for leagues and stuff won’t you be a predictable pitcher? Say if you do have a slider and someone stands up in the box cause he knows you won’t throw it and sits on the fastball? won’t that be limiting your arsenal a bit?
Great tip, but i worry if someone finds out, you’ll be getting hit all day.
Yes as you get seen more - hitters will start to understand your strengths and weaknesses - but the same works for you. After you see Joe slugger wiff ugly at an off-speed pitch - there is really no reason to throw him another fastball anywhere near the strike zone. Yes - throw him one up around his eyes or so far inside to move him off the plate - but everything in the zone is going to be offspeed. That is why a pitcher that isn’t pitching in a game should stay focuesd on the game and watch every batter to see his reaction to certain pitches.
Every outside pitch, I always think its too far or that its a ball, you think I should have a closed stance? Right now I have an even stance.
One day when Ed Lopat—my incredible pitching coach—was talking to me about strategic pitching he told me a story about how, one evening in Cleveland, he had found out about how the Indians in a special batting practice were rehearsing for his so-called junk. That night, before the game, he had given Yogi Berra some special instructions, and for the first five innings or so all the Indians had seen from him were fast balls and hard sliders, not even so much as a curve ball. They had gone back to the dugout foaming at the mouth, and when they had switched back to their free-swinging ways he had gone back to his usual control pitching. He had given up six scattered singles, walked one, struck out five, and shut out the Tribe 7-0. This led to a discussion of batters’ weaknesses, and he told me the same things you describe.
He told me that you figure out what the batter is looking for—and you don’t give it to him. And, he said, you watch the batter and see if he’s doing anything different—you got him out his first two times at bat, but the third time, watch him. Is he doing something like crowding the plate or pulling back from the plate as he swings? What about foot position? Is he choking up on the bat as if he were going to hit to the opposite field—or might he be thinking about bunting for a base hit? Also—you would want to check your infielders, move them one way or another, especially if there’s a runner on first and none or one out—you might want to have them go to double-play depth.
In addition—if you’re facing a power hitter who will go after anything he thinks he can get a piece of, the thing to do is pitch to, not his weakness, but his strength, and you go after the guy. You challenge him. “Here it is, hit it if you can.” Big-league stuff indeed. Here you’d want to pitch to contact—what Steady Eddie described as “Make him go after YOUR pitch, what YOU want him to hit.” A ground ball, and bang bang, double play, and you’re out of the inning unscored-on.
Yes, the name of the game is strategic pitching, and Mr. Lopat knew a heck of a lot about it, and what I learned from him—priceless. 8)