Effectiveness of changing speeds


#1

I am a 16 year old second baseman, but I recently started developing a knuckleball and am coming back as a possible pitcher.

I’m 5’10", 128 lbs.

I top around 72-ish, curve around 60, slider 54, knuckle varies from 60 to high 40s. I was just wondering if the high 40s knuckle is worth working on. Is it really going to fake batters out or just float in? It seems like the time difference is too big, but the 60 and the 40 move the most. Should I just stick in the 50s and 60s or try the 40s as well? Same problem with the curve. I have a faster one in the mid 60s and a slow one in the low 50s. I analyzed my motion already and it looks almost identical for the two speeds.


#2

It would be even more effective if you put on some weight—maybe 50 pounds or so. I can envision a stringbean throwing a baseball, and I don’t really think you want to do that, so you need to eat more—a lot more, good healthy protein and carbohydrates, and get to the gym and work on building up some muscle. And you really need to get some good speed on some of your pitches, so that when you do change speeds the difference would be amazing.
I had an incredible pitching coach who told me some things about changing speeds. He said, “Move the ball around—high, low, inside, outside, work the corners, change speeds—and stay away from the middle of the plate.” A lot has to do with the grip, how you hold the ball, and your release point. I don’t know what your arm slot is—your arm angle—but whatever it is, you can do a lot more with it when you gain more weight and more strength. And a really good pitching coach can help. :baseballpitcher:


#3

I am around your height and when I was 16, I weighed 170 pounds and I was thin. I bet if you turn sideways you disappear :lol:

At any weight, large speed differences allow hitters time to adjust–especially if you don’t have gas. Hitters at the 16-19 age range can hit the curve if you don’t have decent fastball velocity to keep them honest.

Develop the fastball and don’t worry about other pitches until you get your arm speed up and iron out some velocity mechanics. Throwing mostly junkballs will slow your arm development.


#4

I don’t want to be the negative nancy here, but to pitch at the varsity level you need to get up to the 78-80 range. Here in TX the avg HS pitcher is in the 80-82 range with most high schools having at least one that will be in the 85 range. Larger schools will have 2 or 3. I doubt you will get many chances throwing low 70’s and most HS coaches I know don’t like the knuckleball so you are battling those biases as well.

How do you get there? Well gaining some weight and strength will get you part of the way there, but the main thing is you need an explosive delivery. Not having seen your delivery is I expect that you need to be more explosive off the mound. I have seen numerous kids that are 5’ 10 160 lbs throw mid 80’s and I have also seen numerous kids 6’ 3" throw 75. The difference is the explosiveness in their delivery. Essentially you are going to have to teach yourself how to throw hard and once you do that work on throwing strikes with that same explosive delivery. I would suggest getting a pitching coach that can help you become more explosive.