Good morning, CSamuel.
Yes, you have a tall order indeed. But there are things you can do, and I have a couple of things I’d like to share with you.
When I was a little snip, age twelve or thereabouts, I would get a catcher, and either he would mark off a home plate and a pitcher’s rubber with chalk at the requisite distance—or, if we could get to an unused playing field, I would take the mound and he would get behind the plate—and we would play a game we called “ball and strike”. The purpose was for me to work on control, on getting the ball into the pocket of the catcher’s mitt, and to this end he would position his mitt in various places, high, low, inside, outside, every which way but standing on his head :lol:. And what a good satisfying “thwack” when the ball hit its target! We would go at it for an hour at a time; it was a terrific workout and a lot of fun. And even after I got into playing the game—I had hooked up with a very good team which might have been called semipro if only we had gotten paid!—I would continue to do this particular workout on a regular basis, and it paid off handsomely.
Later on, my pitching coach—his name was Ed Lopat and he was one of the Yankees’ Big Three rotation—asked me how I was with holding runners on base. I had to admit I had a problem, first because I was righthanded, second because the only times I had to deal with baserunners was when I was pitching in relief (as a starter I was very good at keeping batters from even getting to first base). So one gloomy Sunday morning Steady Eddie showed up with a first baseman’s mitt—he had started out as a first baseman in the minors before converting to the mound—and we spent that whole morning working on holding runners on base, practicing with phantom runners. We started with something easy, like—as he put it—a bump on a log, a runner who wasn’t going anywhere, and worked our way to the runner who was a definite threat to steal. He had me practicing all sorts of throws to first, easy ones, snap throws, all kinds of pickoff moves, and he told me something very interesting—I could go to the full windup with a runner on third or the bases loaded, because where I was positioned on the mound I had a good look at that runner and he couldn’t get a good jump to try to steal home because I could get him with a snap throw (southpaws don’t have that advantage and are better off throwing from the stretch). And somewhat later on he showed up at this unused playing field near Yankee Stadiium with a bunch of guys—I thought they were kids he had assembled for this workout, but it turned out they were some of the Yanks’ second-line players—and we had a great time doing all this with real live baserunners for me to hold on or pick off! He directed this workout from behind the plate (and he wasn’t half bad as a catcher), and believe me, I got more out of this one afternoon of PFP than a lot of pitchers do in a month!
About working on different pitches—you can do this in the context of the “simulated game” a lot of major league pitchers do. Yes, it’s just you and a catcher, but you can get a lot out of it by simulating a game, whether it be six, seven or nine innings. Have your catcher call the pitches, whatever they are, in this context, and you can throw a fast ball, a changeup, whatever, visualizing a batter in the box in various situations and getting him out. I used to do this a lot, and in the process I got in my throwing between games. And because I was a snake-jazz pitcher, not much on speed but with a rapidly expanding arsenal of good breaking stuff, I had a wonderful time refining my slider, sharpening my knuckle-curve (those were my two best pitches) and adding to that repertoire.
And I think you would do well to get with a team that values workouts and practices as well as games; you obviously want to get better at what you do, and you aren’t likely to get very far with a “team” that screws around all the time. These are just a few ideas I"ve been presenting to you—you can start there. 8)