Effective Pitch Sequence


#1

Hello all

I am seeking your advice with hope to help my son’s dilemma

After two years of playing in the backyard and on the field, my little brother(10) has made big strides when it comes to pitching. His mechanics look solid and the little dude is throwing strikes. The coaches liked what they saw and invited him to play with their summer all star team. I was excited for him, as he had the chance to test himself with more competitive teams.

For the most part he is doing all right. He shuts down the weaker teams, and keeps it close with the average teams. But i’ve noticed he has trouble with the higher seeded teams. Just yesterday he was being thrashed around to this pretty good team, allowing 10 runs in 2 innings.

In my eyes, he seems a little too hittable, even with the average/weaker teams. He isnt the type of pitcher that will overpower the batters by his velocity. He has average (if not slightly above at best) velocity, but he has great command. I see pitchers who will strike out 6 in a game, but also walk 4-5 at the same time; their speed will just make you swing and hope for the best. My brother will throw in the strike zone and induce ground ball and pop flies, but this high contact rate cause those innings where the hitters will constantly hit them hard and he gets lucky that a line drive goes straight to the outfielder, or the shortstop makes a nice catch. This happens even with the weak teams

I feel like it is because he constantly throws low. When I first taught him
to pitch, i always advised him to keep it low, as i find it a little more difficult to hit hard at the age. I think this is what contributed to his team being destroyed the other day. He kept throwing low, and by the 3rd/4th pitch they got used to the spot and it was constant line drives from then on.

This is why i come to you guys, with the hope i can get a few tips on pitch selection/sequence. The offenses aren’t afraid of his speed, and so i turn to other methods to make him a more effective pitcher. I don’t think at this age i should focus on velocity, as he doesn’t throw slow and i feel like velocity grows as one grows older as well. And its not like he throws slow either.

So back to the question…

For a kid that throws pretty accurate what advice do you guys have for pitch sequence (Though there is an occasional curve, he stays with the fastball family, sometimes switching from 4 seam to 2 seam, but it seems that there is debate in these forums of its true effective ness at that age)? Or what tips do you guys have that can make him effective despite average velocity? I feel like this topic related more towards the second question and I apologize if i misled you. In the end I’m still proud of my brother for getting this far and handling his command, I just want to make things easier for him in the future by addressing it now.

Thank you very much! and sorry if I wrote a lot.


#2

I don’t think the problem is that he throws low all the time. It probably has to do with pitch selection and, most important, knowing how to read the batters.
One day I was having a long conversation with my wise and wonderful pitching coach. He was introducing me to strategic pitching, and he told me a spy story, with him as the spy, and described how he stifled his favorite patsies, the Cleveland Indians. Then he got into a discussion about keeping the hitters off balance, beginning with this advice: “Figure out what the batter is looking for—and don’t give it to him. The hard part is figuring out what he’s looking for. For example: it’s the seventh inning, and you’re facing a batter who’s up for the third time in the game. You got him out twice before, but now it’s the third time. WATCH HIM. Is he doing anything different? Like shifting his position in the batter’s box, or moving closer to the front of the box—maybe choking up on the bat as if intending to hit to the opposite field, or possibly to bunt? Does he uppercut, or chop down on the pitch? Even starting to swing and holding up, checking that swing, might tip off that he’s looking for a particular pitch.” We had a long and productive discussion on the subject.
And he told me: “Move the ball around–high, low, inside, outside, change speeds, work the corners, throw strikes—or pitches that look like strikes—and stay away from the middle of the plate.” He also advised against starting off with a fastball, because 95% of the time that’s what batters are looking for on the first pitch—something nice and juicy that they can tee off on and blast out of the ballpark, across the street and into Aunt Minnie’s kitchen window. Try a Bugs Bunny changeup or some other offspeed pitch. (I was a natural, honest-to-gosh sidearmer who used the crossfire all the time, and he told me that this move would have the batters so confused and discombooberated that they would end up striking out a lot—so I did, and I ended up losing track of those strikeouts because I kept piling them up!) Anyhoo, these are things the kid should keep in mind, and they will help. :baseballpitcher:


#3

Can he throw a change up?
Starting at 10, and carrying thru definitely to age 11, change ups become more and more prevalent. Changing speeds, changing the rotation of the ball, inducing a little movement from the ball, all to keep hitters off balance.
Throwing low is never a problem, especially with average speed. Balls left up are the ones that get hammered. If another kid hits a low, well placed fastball, tip your cap to him.


#4

One essential thing to remember: don’t be predictable. Don’t fall into any kind of pattern that would make it easy for the hitter.
The Cleveland Indians had a pitcher named Mike Garcia—a big, hard-throwing righthander who gave the Yankees more trouble than the rest of the staff put together. But he was a creature of habit, always starting with a fastball low and inside—and one evening that became his downfall. The game started, and in due course Johnny Mize, always a power threat, came to bat with two men on and one out. Garcia came in there with that fastball low and inside, and Mize was ready for it. He golfed that pitch way back into the right-field seats for a three-run homer and a lead which the Yankees never relinquished.
You can be sure Mize never saw another fastball from Garcia. So be warned: mix up your pitches, change speeds, and get the batters out! :baseballpitcher:


#5

One essential thing to remember: don’t be predictable. Don’t fall into any kind of pattern that would make it easy for the hitter.
The Cleveland Indians had a pitcher named Mike Garcia—a big, hard-throwing righthander who gave the Yankees more trouble than the rest of the staff put together. But he was a creature of habit, always starting with a fastball low and inside—and one evening that became his downfall. The game started, and in due course Johnny Mize, always a power threat, came to bat with two men on and one out. Garcia came in there with that fastball low and inside, and Mize was ready for it. He golfed that pitch way back into the right-field seats for a three-run homer and a lead which the Yankees never relinquished.
You can be sure Mize never saw another fastball from Garcia. So be warned: mix up your pitches, change speeds, and get the batters out! :baseballpitcher:


#6

I’ll second that. Don’t be predictable. Throwing strikes is a great thing unless you throw the same pitch, the same speed in the same location every time. That is called batting practice.

If he has the command you say he does, have him start working the corners, inside and out. It would be great if he could command another pitch like a change up, but commanding the fastball (in-out-up-down) is more important. If he has that command then work on a secondary pitch, two seam fastball or changeup are good ones to start with.


#7

This was something Eddie Lopat used to tell pitchers—and often he had to tell them more than once: “Never the same pitch—never the same speed—never the same place.” You have to mix up your pitches and vary the location and the speed if you’re going to get the batters out, and it’s hard to do if you’re a creature of habit (like this Mike Garcia was). I recall the time when Steady Eddie noticed that I was using the crossfire a lot (I was a natural sidearmer), and he incorporated this into when he was showing me how to short-arm my delivery, which gave me twice as many pitches and two ways to throw sidearm: he said, “And this is where you use the crossfire. And always with the slider.” He knew, and was informing me, that my slider would be even deadlier with the addition of the crossfire, and I picked up on it and started using that move with every pitch I threw—which led to opposition teams calling me “The Exterminator” because they beefed, squawked, griped, groused, grumbled and otherwise complained that I was just killing them! Oh, I mixed up my pitches, all right, and about half the time I crossfired them, and I piled up so many strikeouts that I lost track of them. :slight_smile:


#8

There lots of effective sequences. The first step in determining a good sequence is knowing the pitch and location most likely to result in poor or no contact for that hitter based on his stance and swing. That’s why I watch BEN ask other pitchers on the team, or review prior game charts (if available).
Q
Build a 3 pitch strategy that sets up the coup de gras. Key components are variations in velocity, plane, and side of the plate.