How to be a closer?

I’ve been a starter most of my hs career and next year Im going to be moving into a closer’s role. I’m wondering what changes exactly in terms of your approach and pitch selection. We hear a ton about closers being headcases and working with two pitches but what do you think? As a starter I threw a 4-seam and 2-seam, sinking change, and a sort of slurve.

Few big things to think about

You must stay in the game for, I don’t know if your a PO or not but if you are, you gotta watch hitters closely, and by the end of the game you should see weeknesses and styles.

As a closer guys will only see you once, so generally this means you can show them the junk earlier, where as a starter will try and stay mostly fastball first time through the lineup.

Just my 2 cents.

main thing is you can’t be afraid to fail…you’ve gotta be able to throw your best stuff in pressure situations, you can’t be scared to make a mistake

generally the game is on the line when you pitch, if you fumble under pressure the closer role isn’t right for you

i really think you need to have a bit of a ego to close, you’ve gotta know you can get anybody out at anytime in any situation

Taylor is on the road to it, but bit of an ego?
Nope you have to believe, (and perform) that you can make the right pitch successfully when called on. The reason for two pitches is that you have no time for pitch development throughout the game, your mistakes cost wins so you cannot take the time to figure out if “it’s” working. I’ve had the luck to meet and hear Randy Meyers talk and show some stuff and though if you’ve seen him in Chicago (Road a bike to work with one of those umbrella thingys on his head) you would think they kept him in a cave and fed him raw meat, but let me tell you; 1st he has mutent fore-arms OMG!!! they look like someone stuffed shot-puts into them, 2nd his mind is like a razor, he picks up everything around him like I’ve never seen, and 3rd he has an iron will…I wouldn’t mess with him…not that I’m anybody…But have this guy throw 100 mph stuff at me…I’d soil my drawers…That CHS Warrior is the essence of what a closer is.

[quote=“jdfromfla”]Taylor is on the road to it, but bit of an ego?
Nope you have to believe, (and perform) that you can make the right pitch successfully when called on.[/quote]

To me you need to have an ego to “believe”…you gotta believe your gonna be better then the hitter. You gotta have an ego to play baseball, it doesn’t mean you have to be an arrogant jerk, that’s not what a ego is necessarily about. You’ve just got to believe in yourself that your gonna be better then the guy your playing. You gotta believe your gonna hit every pitchers best pitch, and as a pitcher you gotta believe your gonna get out every hitter. If you fail then its done and in the past, you still gotta believe you won’t fail against the next guy.

sounds good. I turned on the yanks game last night trying to watch some of mariano rivera only to find out he was injured… so I watched farnsworth blow it I decided blowing a save is one the worst feelings ever, something I want nothing to do with.

Yup, blowing a save is not good, that would be why closers get big bucks to throw maybe 1 inning every 2 or 3 ganmes.

What the thing you have to foucs on is just GETTING THE HITTER OUT. By that I mean thorw more breaking balls or change ups some they havent seen very much of in the game. DONT TRY TO STRIKE THEM OUT! If you do good but always thorw “pitcher pitches” so it’ll turn into a weak groundball or a little pop fly. Just Throw Strikes.

It’s a pretty big attitude change if you are going from starting to closing. One guy that would be relevant for you to check out would be Jonathan Papelbon of the Red Sox. He stepped into the closer’s role without missing a beat. He kept all his pitches (throws 4 I believe). The most important thing you notice about Papelbon is his confidence on the hill. The guy just emanates it. THAT is what you want to acheive. When you step on the mound everyone should know that the game is over- your teammates, the other team and all the spectators.
You get that type of respect from the way you carry yourself, but also from the manner in which you pitch. Some may not like it, but you should learn how to brush guys off and put them in the dirt. That is part of being dominant and commanding the plate. Your pitches seem well suited to closing. I think you will do very well if you get your mental game adapted to the closer’s role.
Good Luck

If your going to be a closer it is VERY important you throw strikes and get ahead of the hitter. You never want to walk the lead off guy in a close game. You’ll probably be better off if your a pitcher known for striking out batters, but it’s not essential. I agree that you have to have confidence, you have to believe that you can get anyone out at any time. If you make a bad pitch and someone gets a hit you have to have the ability to bounce back and get the next batter. Don’t hold anything back. A lot of closer’s that pitched as starters at one point in their career throw harder out of the 'pen.

Speaking of J Papelbon, I was at a clinic last fall where he gave a dissertation on pre- and post pitch planning, really interesting stuff…It is remarkable to me that the same “Iron Will” I mentioned in Randy Meyers was also there in Papelbon, he’s really just a kid, but you wouldn’t think so to hear him talk…

Closer’s seem to come in 3 varieties:
Power Arms- Goose Gossage-Billy Wagner,
Sinkerballers- Quinsenberry & Tekulve, or
Wierd pitches- Marshal & Sutter.

If I were going to create a premeir closer it would be a guy who can : 1) get a strike out when he neeeds it, 2) get a ground ball when he needs it.

Most closers have excellent fastballs whether they rise (supposedly) sink, sail or cut. This means excellent command, movment, & velocity-all 3.

Next a ground ball double play is a closers best friend, so a good splitter seems like an excellent choice. If you had to add a third ptich, I would go with the slider. A nasty late breaking one.

Unlike a starter, being a closer is all about need. No tinkering- you have to go right at the batter with quality pitches that are strikes. Also -you probably need to keep the ball in the infield if at all possible, That is why I like sinking pitches for closers. Ian

so my first outing- came in when were down by 3 in the 6th and struck out the side :smiley:
next inning I got 3 ground balls. i threw splitters and 2-seamers the whole time. thanks for the help

P.S. we ended up losing by 1

Thats a great outing! Congrads!

I guess another thing that is a component of being a good closer is how you deal with stress. When you come into the game you need to be confident ( not cocky) and relax. This is a neat trick when you are constantly brought in with the game on the line.

Another thing to work on as a closer is keeping runners honest on base. A good pickoff move is a wonderful tool in heling your team escape with the win. Ian