Cookie-Cutter Pitchers


#1

If you were a pitching coach, and you had a meeting with your head coach and the decision makers at the time, and they all showed you a roster of fourteen pitchers all with the same following pitches exactly:

  • All RH pitchers
  • four seam 94mph
  • slider 90mph
  • change-up 82mph
    What would be your answer if they asked for your opinion on the chances of building a winning game plan with this rotation? Now you can shuffle these pitchers around all you want - it’s up to you.

Now don’t approach this situation as a player, but as a decision maker who is responsible for putting together a winning attack plan on any batting order in your league.

Coach B.


#2

Those people must be out of their minds! Don’t they realize that no matter what you do, when you have a whole bunch of pitchers with identical deliveries, identical repertoire, identical this and identical that, they’re playing into the hands of the opposing batters who will know right away that no matter who’s pitching they’re going to get something they can hit? No thanks. Faced with this situation I would resign forthwith and let them deal with this impossible situation themselves. :x


#3

if its getting outs every single one of them will get outs. I’ll take that pitching staff any day in college at least.


#4

I would ask them to get me a centerfielder who could chase down balls in the gap and had a cannon for an arm. I would ask for the best shortstop and second baseman they could get their hands on and teach the pitchers to throw low in the zone hoping for groundballs. I would also ask for the best defensive catcher available.

Then …I would quietly, keep my eyes open for another opportunity with a team that had a variety a pitchers to make my job easier.


#5

There is one thing missing in your description that would help me make a decision. What are all of these pitchers like mentally? Maybe these pitchers have the same mechanics and same pitch selection but how do they use their pitches? Even if they have the same pitches that doesn’t mean they throw the same pitches in the same situations. A different look would be nice but a pitchers mind can influence the outcome of an at bat so I don’t think you would be completely ” SOL” in this situation.

Maybe thats not what you were looking for but thats the best answer I could give.


#6

I’m surprised at the depth and knowledge ( for an amateur site) of the responses that were made. And I say this with the utmost respect and acknowledgment to those that responded. In particular:

-Don’t they realize that no matter what you do, when you have a whole bunch of pitchers with identical deliveries, identical repertoire, identical this and identical that, they’re playing into the hands of the opposing batters who will know right away that no matter who’s pitching they’re going to get something they can hit.

-I would ask for the best shortstop and second baseman they could get their hands on and teach the pitchers to throw low in the zone hoping for ground balls. I would also ask for the best defensive catcher available.

-Maybe these pitchers have the same mechanics and same pitch selection but how do they use their pitches? Even if they have the same pitches that doesn’t mean they throw the same pitches in the same situations.

This is the EXACT chronological order of reasoning that every single pitching coach, with a days worth of experience, would reason out. FIRST would come the … what-a ya nuts! SECOND would come the … da’ll muurder us! And finally, THIRD… I gotta do… what I gotta do!

So the next time your thinking of wanting to be a 6’6", 210 pounder with 95+ fastball, … and I’m sure a lot of you do … just remember how special a specialist is. That one pitcher that has that one or two pitches that gives a different look, that change of menu, that …”what the heck is that!’, on the horizon.

Remember, a rotation is like a mechanics tool box - an assortment of tools for various jobs.

Now I will admit, I’ve been responsible for rotations where everyone was brought on board because they were burners. Somebody that was somebody decided without any input from me this is exactly what the club needed - for what was available, both for talent and other resource considerations. And during the early part of the preseason and a few games after, we were in pretty good shape. After that, we were knocked around like a beebe in a box car.

It’s not unusual to want to form a rotation with the best and strongest that’s available. In the college game for example, recruiting isn’t easy - in fact it’s a pain. The alumni base has a very short attention span when a losing season is on the horizon, the dean of students has accreditation considerations for academic standards - along with admissions, and then there’s every governing body that gets into the act (NCAA for example), and the up and coming talent pool can dry up faster than a drop of water on the Bonneville Salt Flats. To make matters even worse, talent that is available can have money worries, personal matters, and host of other baggage that only complicates the process. So, the end result is get what you can get, in some instances, and work hard … no, make that worry hard and work hard at the same time, and hope that all that effort will be appreciated for what it is. (which it won’t)

With the professional ranks, durability is at the top of charts in many instances. A pitcher is a frail commodity that can go bad real quick, given the long trek through the Minors. The constant demand on the human body can be taxing for many. A simple thing like living conditions can test even the toughest competitor. So although preconceived images of what’s durable and what’s not, does look like a “circling the wagons” mentality - it takes a special person to break that clay mold and shine. And shining with that special something can work for you in ways that are not all that apparent. First off, being different in a good way brings attention to you. Second, that attention starts a rationalization process that gets people thinking of ways that just might possibly fit you into their needs. Third, a few phone calls of …” what da ya think of this guy”, can start a give and take that just might work in your favor for some expertise in the coaching department that’ll bring you along stronger than before. I’VE DONE IT.

So if your on a team with all heaters, if you realize that if you don’t fit that image and ability, start something that shines special, something that’s yours and yours alone. And as every pitcher tries to upset the timing and expectations of the batter, so should you fit in there somewhere with that same quality using your own special “it”. Be the go-to guy when a situation pitcher is needed.

Good response and some sound thinking.

Coach B.


#7

Nice post Coach B. as usual. First thing that came to mind was the Cincinnati Reds, I’ll get to that later in this post though.

In that situation I would say that a roster full of the same thing just doesn’t work.

Remember throughout the Yankee’s W.S. drought (I know this isn’t exactly pitching) they were a team of just power hitters and then Jeter. It was difficult for them to win the tight games they can win now because they didn’t have the speed nor the defensive prowess that they have now, (not to mention they finally put an emphasis on pitching).

A good team has variety and role players, Jerry Hairston Jr. for example wasn’t good enough at one spot to start everyday but played 7 positions at a MLB level well enough to help a team on a championship run.

I know I’m talking about position players but the same principle applies, where would the Yankees be without Mariano Rivera? One pitch several times in a row and he closes out games. Pettitte doesn’t throw so hard anymore but he’s still effective.

What about guys on other teams like Jamie Moyer and Tim Wakefield? There’s always a guy that has to be the change of pace or the guy who brings variety to the team.

This is kind of why I think the Reds have struggled lately despite their great prospects and youngsters and they seem to be making the same mistake again by adding Chapman to their already rocketarmed staff.


#8

I would look at their “stuff” who has most life and late break. Also, I’ll look at their history of performance, not all pitchers can strikeout a lot of guys and control where the ball is going.

If you run into a problem like that then it can also come down to stats. You can’t just base your decision based on your perception of them because of the way they physically look. If they are all the same on the radar well I doubt they are all the same in a game.

Make sure you give them all good amount of playing time, ‘since they are all equal’ and let survival of the fittest run it’s course.


#9

[quote=“Dino”]I would ask them to get me a centerfielder who could chase down balls in the gap and had a cannon for an arm. I would ask for the best shortstop and second baseman they could get their hands on and teach the pitchers to throw low in the zone hoping for groundballs. I would also ask for the best defensive catcher available.

Then …I would quietly, keep my eyes open for another opportunity with a team that had a variety a pitchers to make my job easier.[/quote]

Dino, I agree 100%. Well said. You can still work with those Pitchers, but you better have a darn good D… KEEP THE BALL LOW AND JAM THEM UP AS MUCH AS possible… and pray,pray,pray that you have some sluggers :lol: Dino, don’t forget about Right field… He would really need a cannon for an arm…


#10

I would love to be the pitching coach for that staff…

Isn’t it a pitching coach’s job to develop his staff? Teaching a pitcher a new pitch is a heckuva lot easier than increasing his velocity from 84 mph to 94 mph.

Velocity is king!

Brian