How to set up batters?

I throw a
4 seam
2 seam
circle
curve

how should i mix up my pitches to get the batter guessin?

Can you narrow the age group down, and at what level of competition you want your answer to focus on? It makes a big difference.

For example, my guys have a coaching staff that does a lot of homework on who their facing, what the batter’s favor pitch (bite as its called), if their on or in a slump… etc.

High school varsity, JV, AAU travel teams and so forth, have to rely on little resources to help their rotation and thus … a lot of trial and error goes on.

On the other hand if you want another approach - batters can sometimes …LEAN into certain pitches (LEAN means caught looking) , support… or not support, your basic batting order logic, and so on.

I don’t mean to complicate the question, but I am trying to do justice to an outstanding question. It’s really an art form to accomplish this as part of your talent and your skill level.

As a side note - laflippin has a dynamic approach to this art from with other topics … perhaps if you PM’d him he could share some techical dynamics on the subject for you.

I do know that the memory “look see” of some batters can be as stable as three pitches in a row – while others have a very short attention span on two pitches in a row. In that regard, if you ask your pitching coach to explain how pitchers …WIPE THE SLATE… he’ll more than likely mention the pitch just before the pitcher’s put-a-way pitch is totally different then the pitch prior to it – hence, giving the batter a different look - a different pitch. EXAMPLE: one(1) strikes on the batter. 1st pitch - heater down & inside knee high- strike. “WIPE THE SLATE” pitch high outside for a ball… now the batter’s attention span has been focused away from the signature of first pitch. third pitch - “put-a-way”, serious heater – a burner - inside & knee high.

Some basic rules of thumb with setting up A batter - don’t go to the well too many times with the same pitch, and NEVER show the same pitch twice - one after the other to the same batter in the box.

Coach B.

i think your Jasonlinaker. You picked all the pitches i told him to keep.It’s also
weird how you appeared on the same date has he disapered. And I personally think your names are similar. Jackson,Jason very similar. As for your question just pick pitches and throw them. Dont have a strategy. Do what Chris Carpenter does.

Adding to what Coach Baker wrote:

Look for tendencies in hitters…they are not all the same. For example, if the rear elbow is high the swing is likely to loop. These guys generally hit low pitches well but can’t hit a high fastball. Many times a batter’s stance will tell you if they are looking for an inside or outside pitch. Guys who step in the bucket tend to have a tougher time with outside pitchers. Hitters who step in toward the plate tend to have a bad time with inside pitches.

Try to throw pitches with opposing speeds pitches in sequence, mixing it up based on how you see a hitter react. As Coach Baker noted, unless someone can’t catch up with your fastball, don’t throw the same pitch twice in a row unless you think the hitter is looking for a different pitch (usually after he’s faced you two or three times in a game already). And if a hitter can’t get around on your fastball, why throw an offspeed pitch? All of this is highly dependent on the level of ball you are playing.

why would you NEVER want to throw a pitch back to back? especially with off speed pitches this is a great way to fool the hitter

In my book the only time you go back to back on a pitch like this is when a batter KNOWS something else is coming. Probably in a third at-bat facing the same hitter in a single game. If one of my players (HS and college levels) did this early in a game they’d probably ride pine in a hurry. :slight_smile:

it’s just a matter of knowing what pitches set up the others and what location set up the others. typically a 4 seam fastball up in the zone sets up a 12-6 curve because they look fairly similar after release. this is typically known as changing a hitter’s eye level. a two seamer sets up a slider because they are more lateral. you can throw a two seamer that starts out right down the middle and rides to the arm side, and then follow that with a slider that starts down the middle and breaks away from the arm side. they work off the same plane yet end up in two totally different areas. then change ups work off of fastballs and vice versa. then just hitting different locations in and out with your pitches can really screw someone up…go soft away for two pitches and then bust them inside because you’ve slowed their bat down. so if you can change speeds and locate your pitches you can really get in a hitters head

throw off speed in fastball counts

[quote=“Coach Baker”]Can you narrow the age group down, and at what level of competition you want your answer to focus on? It makes a big difference.

For example, my guys have a coaching staff that does a lot of homework on who their facing, what the batter’s favor pitch (bite as its called), if their on or in a slump… etc.

High school varsity, JV, AAU travel teams and so forth, have to rely on little resources to help their rotation and thus … a lot of trial and error goes on.

On the other hand if you want another approach - batters can sometimes …LEAN into certain pitches (LEAN means caught looking) , support… or not support, your basic batting order logic, and so on.

I don’t mean to complicate the question, but I am trying to do justice to an outstanding question. It’s really an art form to accomplish this as part of your talent and your skill level.

As a side note - laflippin has a dynamic approach to this art from with other topics … perhaps if you PM’d him he could share some techical dynamics on the subject for you.

I do know that the memory “look see” of some batters can be as stable as three pitches in a row – while others have a very short attention span on two pitches in a row. In that regard, if you ask your pitching coach to explain how pitchers …WIPE THE SLATE… he’ll more than likely mention the pitch just before the pitcher’s put-a-way pitch is totally different then the pitch prior to it – hence, giving the batter a different look - a different pitch. EXAMPLE: one(1) strikes on the batter. 1st pitch - heater down & inside knee high- strike. “WIPE THE SLATE” pitch high outside for a ball… now the batter’s attention span has been focused away from the signature of first pitch. third pitch - “put-a-way”, serious heater – a burner - inside & knee high.

Some basic rules of thumb with setting up A batter - don’t go to the well too many times with the same pitch, and NEVER show the same pitch twice - one after the other to the same batter in the box.

Coach B.[/quote]

I am about to play freshmen ball as an 8th grader.

[quote=“futureKazmir”]i think your Jasonlinaker. You picked all the pitches i told him to keep.It’s also
weird how you appeared on the same date has he disapered. And I personally think your names are similar. Jackson,Jason very similar. As for your question just pick pitches and throw them. Dont have a strategy. Do what Chris Carpenter does.[/quote]

no im not Jasonlinaker but the names are similer.

Whoever said not to double up on pitches, please dont listen to them. One of the greatest tools you can use as a pitcher is doubling up on pitches. Doubling up on offspeed pitches is especially a great tool. When you throw a curve or slider, many batters sit dead right on the next pitch, this is a perfect opportunity to drop one off the table.

Another good way to keep the batter off balance is to throw changeup on fastballs counts, because there really arent “changeup counts.” In my opinion, the changeup is the most effective pitch in the game, especially to the opposing teams top power hitters, keeps them off balance.

Hi ho, hi ho, back into the archives we go…again.
Here are a couple of things Ed Lopat told me:
"Figure out what the batter is looking for…and don’t give it to him."
And "Move the ball around—high, low, inside, outside, and change speeds. And stay away from the middle of the plate."
And "Never the same pitch—never the same place—never the same speed."
We would spend a good deal of time discussing these precepts. It was particularly important for me, because speed was one thing I didn’t have; I was a snake-jazz pitcher with a good arsenal of breaking stuff. We also talked about the hitters—their strengths and weaknesses—watching them as they set themselves in the batter’s box, and paying particular attention to a batter who was up for the third time in a game. Lopat told me about batters who would hit with the foot in the bucket—pulling away from the plate as they swung—or who would crowd the plate, hoping for an outside pitch—or who had a short compact swing or a long one. Who would uppercut or chop down on the pitch. About not falling into a predictable pattern. Mix up the pitches. Jam the batters, make them hit one on the fists—or miss it altogether. There is so much to know about how to pitch to the hitters so as to get them out, and he shared this knowledge with me to excellent advantage. Often we would go over the opposing team’s lineup, batter by batter.
And he reminded me: the best pitch in any situation is STRIKE ONE. You get that, and you’re ahead of the game. :slight_smile: 8)

I absolutely agree with the idea of never the same pitch twice in a row. This may sound odd coming from someone who throws a knuckleball so many times in a row but here’s where the concept comes in.

Unpredictability is the key, talking about the same pitch doesn’t neccessarily mean never the same type of pitch, it means not the same speed and not the same spot.

A knuckleball is unpredictable so throwing several of those in a row is acceptable since it never does the same thing, but throwing a knuckleball does not automatically make a pitcher good, there is still the aspect of changing speeds and moving the ball up and down in the zone. The problem with the knuckleball is that pin-point lateral accuracy is not possible. But this does not mean a knuckleballer doesn’t need to know how to pitch, a knuckleballer still has to pitch, he isn’t a circus clown.

When someone says be consistent really what they mean is, be consistently inconsistent. It’s important to be unpredictable no matter what you throw off of the bump.

As I was skimming through this thread, I was asking myself what game are these people coaching and playing. :wink:

Perhaps its that I’m not paying enough attention, and haven’t noticed that calling pitches has transferred back to the catchers, where it was when I was playing HS ball. to Coach45 and Coach Baker, and any other coach who’d care to comment, who calls pitches on your teams. Is it the coach 80%, the catcher 15%, and the pitcher 5%, or is it some other combination?

Having been a C in HS and unable to remember even once having had a pitch called from the bench, all I can comment on is what I’ve seen in HS in the last 10 years. The 1st 3 years my son played HS ball, he wasn’t even allowed to shake off a pitch. He was allowed to shake, in fact there was a signal for it, but he had to throw what was called. His last year he was allowed to shake, but not in an important situation.

I didn’t like that because I could see that many times what he was doing was ignoring the called signal, and instead sending a signal to his catcher they had worked out. I’d just rather not force a player to do what he thinks he has to do like that. It shows a definite lack of trust and respect in both directions.

But, most of the P’s back then, and the P’s now that I see in HS, just bite the bullet and act like little robots out there, taking whatever pitch and location is called, then trying to execute. To me that isn’t the pitcher pitching, it’s the coach pitching, and why statements such as the one you made strike me as odd, unless you’re my kinda guy and let the battery call the game. :wink:

You and Spencer are both saying much the same thing, advising to somehow use the count on the umpire’s counter to determine pitches. I’ve also heard things like “pitcher’s counts” and “hitter’s counts” from others as well, and to tell the truth, when I hear things like that, I wonder if those people saying it are really giving a lot of thought to what they’re saying.

Things are pretty simple, until there are 2 strikes on a batter, but then everything goes to Hell in a hand basket very quickly. Here’s my example. Suppose you have a batter down 0-2 after throwing a 4SFB, CU to get to 0-2? Be careful now. I’m tricky!

Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock.

Got your answer? Before I waste your time typing out an answer, let me tell you what I see as a wrench in the gear train.

Its possible to have done the above, but preparing to throw the 10th pitch of the at bat! Does that change your thinking at all?

All I’m doing is trying to point out that anyone calling pitches should never allow the count to influence them as much as what the sequence of pitches to that batter has been. :wink:

I honestly think this is way to complex of a question to ask on a forum and get a real legit answer. My best answer would be to find a MLB pitcher you think your style is somewhat like and watch how he throws. Pay attention to location, pitch selection, and the hitter. Does the hitter stand off the plate, or crowd it… does he stand up in the box or out side of it, high or low leg kick, does he look to pull everything or can he drive the ball opposite way. There are an absolute ton of ways to set up hitters and it is just something you have to learn over the years. Sorry I couldn’t give a better answer but I really think your best bet is just to study the game and not just watch it.

Scorekeeper- With some trepidation for fear of looking stupid I’ll play your game but I need more info. Tell me location of the 4SFB and CU.

There’s no way in the world an 8th grader should try to do what some ML pitcher does as far as “working” hitters. You’re talking about a kid who’s been pitching for maybe 2 years on the big field, to a full grown adult who’s been pitching for likely 10 years at a very high level, and who has the benefit of the best scouting information in the world to help him.

Study the game, absolutely! Get lots of experience, absolutely! But copy someone else? To me that’s a no-no.

[quote=“scorekeeper”]
There’s no way in the world an 8th grader should try to do what some ML pitcher does as far as “working” hitters. You’re talking about a kid who’s been pitching for maybe 2 years on the big field, to a full grown adult who’s been pitching for likely 10 years at a very high level, and who has the benefit of the best scouting information in the world to help him.

Study the game, absolutely! Get lots of experience, absolutely! But copy someone else? To me that’s a no-no.[/quote]

I understand the game is much more advanced at the ML level but can you give me an example as to why an 8th grader should NOT try and set up hitters the way ML guys do? I said before that you should pick a pitcher that most resembles you. Personally I wouldn’t model myself off of Mike Mussina because he could throw a 2 seam on the inside part of the plate to a lefty all day and they would never hit it. This is one of the hardest pitches in the game to throw, and I sure as hell know I dont have that tool in my bag. But maybe i have an average to above average fastball with a hard curve and a decent change up. If that is the case then I might want to study at how a guy like Josh Beckett attacks hitters.

And when it comes to copying other players being a no-no, how can that be? Don’t coaches out there always tell their players to watch how other guys field a ground ball, or get down a bunt, or hit the opposite way? I wouldn’t say this is copying, i would say this is coaching. You are telling your player to watch someone else who does it right, and to imitate the right way of doing it. He might not have the ability at this level but that will come with age and experience. But if he wants to learn the ‘right’ way to set up hitters shouldnt he learn it from the best?

The reason a hitter gets set up the way he does in the ML is very often much more dependent on the book than anything else. Once a hitter’s been around for even a little while, his tendencies are no secret, so no one’s really looking to see if he’s crowding the plate, where he’s holding his hands, how he’s balanced, or anything else. They have the advantage of KNOWING, not guessing, what he’s done, who he’s done it against, and what the outcomes have been. That’s not very often the way it works in HS.

If you feel your way works for you, by all means do it! I know there’s more than one way to skin a cat, so I say go for it. But you have to be very very careful when you counsel others.

What I said about copying someone else, I meant it in the context of the rest of my answer, not about everything in the world. I was talking about an 8th grader copying a ML pitcher as far as setting up hitters.

[/quote]But if he wants to learn the ‘right’ way to set up hitters shouldnt he learn it from the best?[/quote]

Again, if that’s what you feel is best for you, the last thing I’d want to do is stop you. But when you start talking about something as complicated as setting up hitters, there’s more to it than seeing a ML P drop a hook on a batter because he’s crowding the plate, Baseball just isn’t that simple.

Now if you could sit in a ML dugout during a game, and be in on any meetings the P’s, C’s, and coaches have about how they’ll work the hitters, I’m all for it! But that’s not the same as watching at home in HD with some jabrony announcer saying things he doesn’t even know are true.

Tell ya what though. If you really want to learn how pitchers work batters, get you a chart, get behind the umpire in a place that gives you the best view possible, and don’t just chart pitches. Along with the charts, draw up scatter charts, keep track of pitches by type, location, and outcome too. And while you’re at it, make sure you watch the catcher to see where he’s setting up, then track whether the pitcher put it where he was supposed to, or got lucky on an outcome. Those are things you can do in your own town, and it will have a lot more meaning because it will be at your level, not someone else’s.

I’m all for hard work and studying the game. But I’m for doing it realistically. If you want to do something with ML pitchers, use this tool. http://baseball.bornbybits.com/php/combined_tool.php

It’s a fun tool to play with and you can learn a lot from it that might just surprise you.

Good luck!