How to set up batters?

Completely agree. This isn’t something i started doing until I got to college. Really helps when you have players you can track not just during the season but over the years.

When i got to pro ball we didn’t really have charts per say but the level of knowledge and memories these guys have is amazing. They can tell you practically every hitter on every team and how to pitch them. There are notes taken, but most of them are mental ones. But remember scouting reports and charts and all that good stuff do nothing for you if you dont execute your pitches!!!

[quote=“scorekeeper”]
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. [/quote]

Never seen this tool, something I will play around with and possibly use for some future blog posts. Thanks for the link

danramosd: "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. "

-------------This is very important discussion, in my opinion. When my son was playing LL level it was almost religion among some of his coaches that, “Kids should not be imitating MLB-level players”

Sometimes I bought into that point of view, but at other times the light-bulb would go on and I’d think, “Ummmm, within certain types of conditions and boundaries, why wouldn’t young developing players want to emulate the best in the game?”

In fact, interestingly enough, I let my son develop the habit of catching fly balls and pop-ups one-handed from an early age. He just seemed more comfortable that way, and generally more balanced on catches that were not can-of-corn easy. Since he did it that way on difficult catches, it didn’t make any sense to me to insist that he change his mechs to a two-handed catch style whenever the fly ball was easy.

Imagine how quickly the stuff hit the fan first time a LL coach really noticed how the kid was fielding fly balls…nevermind that he was good, sometimes the best outfielder on his teams, “Hey, use two hands on every catch!”

I once mentioned to one of these coaches that I’d watched quite a bit of MLB and noticed that there was a very high prevalence of one-handed catches in the outfield (and infield, for that matter). Didn’t he think there might be something to it? No, he didn’t…his explanation (I am not kidding!): “Lots of MLB players are lazy!”

Oh, really?! Gosh, I never knew that. All this time, I had thought that it was very hard to make it to the pro levels and stay there…

[quote=“danramosd”]Completely agree. This isn’t something i started doing until I got to college. Really helps when you have players you can track not just during the season but over the years.

When i got to pro ball we didn’t really have charts per say but the level of knowledge and memories these guys have is amazing. They can tell you practically every hitter on every team and how to pitch them. There are notes taken, but most of them are mental ones. But remember scouting reports and charts and all that good stuff do nothing for you if you dont execute your pitches!!!

I have to tell ya, I’m not a big fan of charting for general use by just whoever happens to be available, but I’m perfectly fine with it for individuals to do it for their own use.

What you describe is institutional memory because its part of the game, and common knowledge for anyone who takes the time to seek out and use it.

I’m interested in what you feel the level of execution you have is. Try to put it in terms of percentage of pitches, as well as location and level of type execution. IOW, if you were intending to throw your best CU, where would the normal be as to how well the pitch reacted, how close to exactly where you wanted it would it be.

Just out of curiosity, did you keep any of your stats from HS?

laf,

I had to contend with my boy trying to “snatch” fly balls like Ricky Henderson. What ended up happening, was that I had to sit him down and have a little “man 2 man” with him.

Unlike what you might be thinking, what I told him, was that I knew full well he had the ability to not only snatch fly balls like Ricky, but he could make basket catches like his dad’s favorite center fielder, Willie Mays too. He also could field grounders with this little “stab” thing, and he was uncannily accurate making infield throws side armed.

The thing I had to get him to understand wasn’t that he was wrong or what he was doing was wrong, but that it set such a poor example for his friends and teammates who weren’t lucky enough to have his skills. Once he understood that, the way he played was still flashy at times, but he cut it out on almost every play. I know this sounds a little nuts, but I swear, there were times I thought he’d do things like that to give himself a little extra challenge.

But even so, those things are really a whole lot different than “working” batters. At least they are in my mind.

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.[/quote]

Sorry JP, I just noticed your post. Didn’t mean to ignore you.

You won’t look stupid because you’re not a stupid person. Like most of us you don’t know everything about everything, so there’s some ignorance that needs to be worked on, but that’s what makes life fun!

Let’s say the 4SFB was a pure “cock shot”, and the CU was too, except that it was of course a lot slower and a lot lower.

Do you want to know about the other 6 pitches that got fouled off too? :wink:

"Unlike what you might be thinking, what I told him, was that I knew full well he had the ability to not only snatch fly balls like Ricky, but he could make basket catches like his dad’s favorite center fielder, Willie Mays too. He also could field grounders with this little “stab” thing, and he was uncannily accurate making infield throws side armed. "

--------------I wasn’t talking about deliberately hot-dogging…I was discussing something related to danramosd’s point, as I understood it. That is, if elite players are very routinely performing parts of their jobs in a way that is counterintuitive to LL logic, perhaps there is a good mechanical or strategic reason for that. That is, a reason that many typical LL’ers (and maybe many players themselves) either don’t know about or don’t think about.

danramosd was making the general point that emulation of the game’s best examples of fundamentals is a good thing for youngsters, not a bad thing. Hot-dogging is not a fundamental and not part of the discussion.

I also agree with danramosd’s specific point about setting batters up: Kids could learn a lot about this from watching what elite pitchers do.

If people watch closely, they might notice that the “no repeat pitches back-to-back” is certainly not a rule at the MLB level. Why should kids have this rule? Even if it’s a bad idea, don’t they need to learn personally what happens when they violate the rule? It might turn out in some cases that violating this rule is smart and very effective.

For example, I’ve watched Sergio Romo strike out or ground out quite a few big league hitters on three or four sliders in a row. Most other times he mixes his sinker and slider during ABs.

I’ve watched Trevor Hoffman at the top of his game throw changeup after changeup after changeup in one AB…thought that was pretty interesting.

Bruce Sutter basically lived off the splitter, like Rivera lives off the cutter.

There are lots more examples of “no rules” approaches to setting up hitters…

When I said my son did what he did, in his mind he wasn’t hot-dogging at all. He was simply emulating great ML players. But even so, you have to understand what LLI logic is. They are an organization committed much more to the “average” kid playing ball, than the great one or bad one, and that’s what makes them such a great organization. And that’s also why the ones that can do things at a higher level, should be reined in a bit when they get carried away. There’s plenty of time to do things like that, but I think its important that the regular season at least is geared toward the average player to try to keep as many of them interested in the game as possible.

As I said, to my boy it wasn’t hotdogging at all, and as many times as I’ve seen it done at that level, more often than not its not a showboating thing to the players. It APPEARS that way to many of the adults, but kids don’t generally think that way. To them, they’re just playing like those great players they see on TV.

[quote]I also agree with danramosd’s specific point about setting batters up: Kids could learn a lot about this from watching what elite pitchers do.

If people watch closely, they might notice that the “no repeat pitches back-to-back” is certainly not a rule at the MLB level. Why should kids have this rule? Even if it’s a bad idea, don’t they need to learn personally what happens when they violate the rule? It might turn out in some cases that violating this rule is smart and very effective. [/quote]

What they’d be learning isn’t WHY those things were being done, but rather only that they were being done. But heck, like I said, if you want your kid or your players to do that, I’m fine with it. If my kid wanted to do it, that would be fine too. But there’s no way I’d tell a kid to do it because it was a good way to learn how to set up a batter. Might just be semantics, but to me its not a great idea.

[quote]For example, I’ve watched Sergio Romo strike out or ground out quite a few big league hitters on three or four sliders in a row. Most other times he mixes his sinker and slider during ABs.

I’ve watched Trevor Hoffman at the top of his game throw changeup after changeup after changeup in one AB…thought that was pretty interesting.

Bruce Sutter basically lived off the splitter, like Rivera lives off the cutter. [/quote]

And that’s fine. When you’ve got a CU like Hoffman, you can get away with that kind of thing. I don’t know who Sergio Romo is, but I’ll guess he either has a great slider, or the batters he was doing that against scouted out that they had trouble with a breaking pitch. Sutter’s another one who had a great pitch, but his story was a little different. No one else in the league was throwing a pitch that had the action his split had, and that’s why so many batters had trouble with it.

Of course there are! That’s one of the great things about the game. The most followed rule is, there are no hard and fast rules. But, as much as that’s true, and I believe it with all my heart, when you’re talking about a developmental level, which is what all rec ball is, its much easier on everyone to follow some general rules that are easy to understand.

But setting up hitters isn’t really much of a worry because pitchers no longer have much input into what pitches and locations are called. The result is, pitchers don’t learn how to set batters up at all. They learn how their coaches set up batters.

Now if you can come up with a way to get coaches out of the business of calling pitches, but rather teach their players how to choose pitches, then I’m all on your side. If you have a kid that wants to throw nothing but 4seamers down the chute and he has success doing it, I’m all for it. :wink:

Set up batters by throwing them what they don’t expect, all your pitches should be out pitches, just where do you locate them to make it more effective, how can you change the batters eye level and change the speed to keep them even more off balance.

"What they’d be learning isn’t WHY those things were being done, but rather only that they were being done. "

---------Why do you believe that? The essential feedback for learning, the success or the failure of a given pitch sequence within a given AB, is generally revealed very quickly whether you are the guy throwing the pitches or whether you are watching someone else’s game.

Alright SK here goes.

With no previous knowledge of the hitter, his tendencies, or his reaction to the previous two pitches I’ll offer up two scenarios. I will assume righty-righty confrontation.

  1. If the pitcher is sharp and has a good late breaking slider I’d call that to a location low and off the outside of the plate. The pitch starts in the same tunnel as the previous two so deception is good. The pitcher has to make sure though that a miss is way off the plate not flat and over the outside. If you believe what Perry Husband has written about “effective velocity” and “hitter’s attention” the previous two pitches have set the hitters attention to a velocity somewhere between the FB and CU, and that’s just what a flat slider over the plate is. The flat slider that ends up over the plate has a good chance to get hammered- Off the plate and you may get a swinging strike.

Assuming the 3rd pitch went as planned but no swinging strike and so there’s a 4th pitch I’d throw a FB in under the hands- a 2SFB that starts middle in would probably be best- similar starting tunnel as the others so recognition is late, different movement and a large difference in “effective velocity” from the previous two pitches. This 4th pitch is probably where the out occurs.

  1. If the pitcher doesn’t have a slider, or it’s not that good today, or you just want to take a little safer route I’d throw 4SFB up at the top or above the zone. This is the best gas you have, requires the quickest hitter reaction time, and lateral location is not that important. As long as it comes in close to the top of the zone it’s unlikely that the ball will get hit hard.

Understand that to hit this ball hard, of all pitches thrown, contact must be made closer to the pitcher than for any other pitch. This means the hitter must recognize and react faster than any other pitch he’s seen. Even though the gun will read the same velocity as the first 4SFB the higher elevation forces the hitter to react as if the pitch is 4-6 mph faster because contact must be made further out front to get the barrel on the ball. If the ball is inner half at the top then the difference is even greater.

Following a CU for a strike down in the zone, especially if it was swinging, the high gas is pretty hard to catch up to. The “effective velocity” spread is huge.

Now if this pitch misses high, at full gas, the pitch still serves a purpose. You’ve now focused the hitter’s attention to a little faster pitch. Most any pitch you throw now on the low outside part of the plate, CB, slider, CU, even a 2SFB, will be tough to hit hard.

But that success or failure means nothing without context. In order to learn something general from it, you’d have to know the underlying reason for doing it. I know a lot of ML announcers THINK they understand why some is being done on the field, but very seldom are they correct, so how would a kid sitting at home in front of a big screen TV know?

All they could see is pitch one was “X” and in location “A”, pitch 2 was “Y” and in location “B”, and so on. Then they’d get to see the end result. What would that teach them? Would you want your son to take that and do the exact same thing with a batter he faced? I know it seems logical, but when you really look at it, it is because there’s nothing connecting the event to what precipitated it. Now if a kid could sit on the bench next to the pitching coach and have a dialog with him, that would be a horse of a different color.

And too, don’t forget the differences in what you’re comparing. A ML pitcher has complete and total control in almost every situation about what pitch and location he’s going to try to execute, but unless they’ve come up with something new I don’t know about, that’s initiated by the catcher, who in the ML is generally a pretty bright fellow.

Who calls your kid’s pitches, and is he allowed to shake them off at will? I don’t know about your school, but that’s not something I’d encourage most HS pitchers to do if they wanted to keep their spot. So again, what’s the purpose of having a kid sit in front of the TV spending a lot of time trying to learn how CC pitches to the Twinkies?

I learned my lesson about this the hard way. When my boy was getting ready to turn 14, I started sending him to pitching lessons for the area’s best PC. Every week I’d take him there, and every week he’d be coached in various things, but always among them was how to pick up certain cues and deal with them. When he threw for his TB team, the coaches there allowed, and in fact demanded that the P’s and C’s work together to develop a game plan, and he had heck of a lot of success.

Then came that 1st season of HS ball, right after he’d spent much of the fall and winter getting himself quite a reputation. Suddenly he had absolutely no say so in what he threw. Even though his skill still allowed him a great deal of success and he was soon promoted to the JV team where he enjoyed even more success, he still wasn’t allowed any say so in what he threw.

At the end of that season, it was back to the tournaments again, and guess what? Here he was having to pitch to a higher level of player, but he had even more success than in HS. That’s the way it went until he was a Sr. Only then did the coach allow him to shake off pitches, and with it he had an amazing season. Since then, I’ve seen several pitchers who go to that same PC, and guess what? When I talk to them and their parents, the exact same thing happens that happened to my kid. Its truly a shame that such valuable training goes down the toilet, but that’s the way it very often is. So, when I see people going on about how pitchers do this or that, or set up hitters, I wonder how much if it is nothing more than perception, and if its really worth worrying about for a kid who likely won’t get the opportunity to use that particular skill. :frowning:

[quote=“JP”]Alright SK here goes.

With no previous knowledge of the hitter, his tendencies, or his reaction to the previous two pitches I’ll offer up two scenarios. I will assume righty-righty confrontation.

  1. If the pitcher is sharp and has a good late breaking slider I’d call …[/quote]

I have absolutely no difficulty with any of your logic JP, because its logical. :wink:

But I told you I was tricky! You seem to have totally tossed out the fact that there were maybe 7 pitches that were fouled off since that 2nd strike. Here’s what I said when I set up the situation.

Since then, you’ve seem to totally ignore that possibility and only concentrated on how to deal with what to call based on the umpire’s count.

So maybe the last pitch thrown, the 9th, was that late breaking slider. Are you gonna try another one?

My point here is, you can’t simply go by what the count is on the scoreboard. You have to take in the ENTIRE situation. I realize that isn’t true the majority of times, but here’s what I’ve found in the HSV regular season data I have for the school I score for now. Out of 7,227 total batters, 1,119 saw more than 5 pitches. That’s 15% of all the batters in those 121 games, so its not as though its something unusual.

Howz dat? :wink:

If you read closely my calls are not really based on the umpire’s count, they’re based essentially on the “effective velocity” of the previous pitch with the desire for the next pitch to vary by as much as possible from the previous pitch. The count is a consideration because it’s a tool for both pitcher and hitter. In this case the tool favors the pitcher so why not consider all tools in the box? But I won’t ignore a pitch or location just because of count however if there is a choice of pitches to satisfy the “effective velocity” goal then count and previous reaction to pitches would likely be taken into consideration.

[quote]So maybe the last pitch thrown, the 9th, was that late breaking slider. Are you gonna try another one?
[/quote]

Sorry for missing the 10 pitch issue. I saw it but it didn’t register.

No- if the 9th pitch was a late breaking slider I’m still going to choose the next pitch with the goal of maximizing the effective velocity spread from the last pitch plus considering the intangible of wherever I think the hitter’s attention has been focused by the previous two or three pitches or perhaps the entire AB. Again count may be taken into consideration but just as much or more will have to do with where I think the hitter is focused.

Remember in this scenario I don’t have a scouting report on this hitter’s strengths and weakness. That may be figured in if I have a pitcher who can throw the ball through the hole in his swing, or perhaps I can set up a situation with a previous pitch that expands the hole. Heck I can’t even see where the guy’s set up in the box. :slight_smile: I’m mostly giving you philosophy here.

All 90 MPH fastballs are not created equal or seen the same by the hitter. Location plays a big part in reaction time- not just to the fastball but to other pitches as well.

If you would like to post all 10 pitches of the AB, with pitch, location and gun velocity, I’d love to see how it went.

“But that success or failure means nothing without context.”

-----------Are you trying to say that you don’t understand how to interpret success or failure when you see it within the context of an at-bat in a baseball game, or are you saying that almost no one else does?

Not trying to be caustic…IMO young players should watch as much MLB as possible, live or on TV, to learn as much as they can from the best in the game.

The possibility of misinterpreting something is not a valid argument for refusing to learn what the best do.

Don’t feel bad. I often miss something I write myself. LOL!

Since I’ve gotten what you sent and taken at least a cursory look, I’m pretty sure I’m getting the drift. And since I’m a big fan and believer in using technology to call balls and strikes, I really can see how EV can and likely would help a pitcher at the MLB level. For one, they have the $$$$ to get the technology to do the measuring, and for another, the pitchers at that level obviously have the best chance of being able to execute the pitch the algorithm kicked out.

Also, I can certainly see how training whoever calls the pitches to understand the concept and make the most scientifically appropriate call, no matter what the level, but my natural doubt as to the likelihood of the pitcher being able to execute the called pitch correctly the lower the level, makes me question the efficacy of using it, the further away from the ML level.

IOW, I think its something worthwhile, but until I have more time to evaluate it in practice, I can’t really say for sure what I think.

No problem. I understand we’re only dealing with a concept at this point.

Don’t I know there’s a lot more to it than a gun reading! That’s the great thing about baseball. No matter how much one believes s/he has all the answers, sure as shootin’, as soon as they look behind them, they see an alligator hangin’ on to their butt. :wink:

I would do that if I could. #1, I don’t believe in guns. I’ve used them, and if others want to its ok by me, but I’ve never seen much worth in them. #2, I don’t believe in charting pitches, or more accurately, in humans charting pitches without the aid of technology. I’ve done it, and tried my best, but when someone who can focus as well as I can can’t trust what his perceptions tell him, there’s a problem. UOW, I just don’t believe the human eye can accurately assess the precise location and type of pitch well enough to try to make precise decisions about. It definitely better than nothing, but so far not quite good enough for me.

The main reason for my cynicism about this is that almost everything is based on what was perceived to have taken place, rather than what was attempted. FI, when everyone on the defense knows a RHB is going to be worked basically with soft stuff away and down, they’ll “normally” shade the hitter with that plan in mind. That’s an example of planning based on attempted execution.

But as far as what really takes place, that’s a different matter. FI, the catcher calls of a pitch low and away to a RHB from a RHP on the 3rd pitch of an 0-2 count, But there’s an “oops”, and P throws the ball over the inner third of the plate, and at the top of the s-zone. If the batter swings and misses, everyone thinks it was a great pitch and wonderful location, but that isn’t at all true. He missed the location by a good 2-2.5’, but he got lucky.

Conversely, the P throws the pitch perfectly, a ball off the black and a ball below the knees, but the batter smokes it over RCF wall for a 3 run bomb. While some may understand that it was only a case of the bear eating the pitcher, to most it would come across as the pitcher having made a mistake. My point is, without knowing ahead of time what the goal was, to me its really almost impossible to take much of value from what happened and get make an accurate judgment about the outcome.

What I’m saying is, in order to be able to determine success or failure with precision enough to use what happened as a planning tool, one has to know what the intention was. Heck, everyone knows that a pitcher can be judged to be successful if he retires the side in the last inning without giving the other team the lead. But, that’s success in the most basic and general way possible.

What affects that judgment is that there are many different definitions for success. If the goal was only to win the game, the P was obviously a success. But, what if the defense had a 6 run lead at the start of the inning, but ended up only winning by 1 run, with the bases loaded? All of a sudden that pitcher’s success is viewed very differently.

To me it’s the same thing when people get to talking minutia like we’re doing here. If you were a manager, would you consider your pitcher to be completely successful giving up no runs in an inning, if he’d walked 3 batters, got behind on every batter, and was saved by 3 fantastic defensive plays on 3 very hard hit balls that were nowhere near where they were supposed to be thrown?

I think we too often judge success by the wrong measuring stick, and a lot of that comes from being in love with statistics. I readily admit that I am too, but I don’t necessarily judge a pitcher to be a success because he’s just put up a zero on the board.

That’s a great philosophy for you, but I have my reservations about it.

I didn’t say anything about refusing to learn anything. In fact, part of my misgivings are that too much might be learned. Remember, the participants in ML games aren’t doing it for free, and because of that, there are some things that take place that you may not want a kid to emulate. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing to do, but rather that its not all sunshine and lollipops. :wink:

"to determine success or failure with precision enough to use what happened as a planning tool, one has to know what the intention was. "

----------Disagree. Both inductive and deductive approaches to reasoning have legitimate places in learning anything worth knowing. IMO, baseball is a playground for experimentation with ideas that arise from both of these logic approaches…and there is just not any reliable way that one person can know with certainty what another’s intention is (or was).

What actually worked (or didn’t work), when coupled with an estimate of what the intention may have been, is a very powerful learning approach. The really cool thing is: A person doesn’t even need to know the definitions of inductive and deductive reasoning to use these approaches for figuring stuff out.

Here’s a very useful sound-bite I’ve heard that is appropriate for learning almost anything to do with baseball (Roger will recognize who coined it)…“Fail fast forward

Like everything else in life, it all depends on one’s perspective. While I agree that baseball is a place for experimentation, that doesn’t mean experimentation without thought and purpose is either good or bad. We just have different ideas about how that experimentation should be done.

You’re correct, there is no reliable way to know exact intention, but the result could easily be judged differently knowing the pitch called that struck out that batter was intended to be a curve low and away, but was executed poorly and “hung” in the center of the plate and above the belt. Did the P get the K? Sure did. Was the P “successful”? Well, he got the out and the K, but if he’s being judged by the execution of his pitches, he was a failure, no matter if he got the out or not.

You bet it is. But if one is continually mis-assessing that intention, what’s being learned can not be good.

Sorry, I don’t see how it applies.

I’m getting the distinct feeling we’re arguing about boogymen here. All I’ve done is say that everything one perceives isn’t true, and therefore should always be looked at with a degree of question and skepticism, but you don’t want to concede that there’s even a possibility I’m correct. And that’s what makes a horse race. You believe one thing, and I believe another. Its all good.

Add that’s why there are about a gozillion different metrics measuring everything in the game. They’ve all been developed to make some kind of judgment. I don’t see any way a kid who watches tons of baseball on TV or in person is at all guaranteed to to have more success than one who doesn’t. But, I do believe a player who works very hard on his game, will always have more success than one who doesn’t, given the situations are the same.

“I don’t see any way a kid who watches tons of baseball on TV or in person is at all guaranteed to to have more success than one who doesn’t. But, I do believe a player who works very hard on his game, will always have more success than one who doesn’t, given the situations are the same.”

----------Who said anything about guarantees?

Can you at least agree that studying what the best players do, either live or on TV, might form a useful part of a motivated player’s approach to “working very hard” to learn the game?

If there are still any baseball pitchers reading this thread, which I sort of doubt, I advise them to pay attention to the strong autobiographical trend among many great ballplayers: Their early passion for playing the game, as youths, is very often augmented by a related passion for watching the best elite players of their day and trying to emulate what they did and how they did it.

What do you mean no pitchers watching this thread, I find it kinda amusing.