Looking to pitch in bullpen for college but have no experience


#1

I’ve been a huge fan of baseball my entire life, especially pitching. I was discouraged from learning to pitch because of my height, as I was only about 5 feet tall and 95 pounds entering high school. Now that I’m out of high school and in college, I am 6 feet and about 175 pounds.

My dream is to learn how to pitch and join my college’s baseball team. The school is a small school and competes in the NAIA and is pretty terrible. I don’t expect many, if any at all, of the players are on an athletic scholarship.

I realize I’m probably never going to throw in the nineties and probably won’t have the stuff to be a reliable starter, but if I can just pitch occasionally from the bullpen, maybe in low-leverage situations when we are getting crushed, it would be a dream come true.

I have absolutely zero pitching experience. If I attempted to throw a fastball, I don’t even know if I could hit 60 mph. But I am willing to work hard to make my dream come true.

What steps should I be taking to make this dream come true? I enquired about pitching coaches but the going rate seems to be about $45 for a half hour and I simply wouldn’t be able to afford many of those.

Are there also certain types of pitches I should try to target, knowing that I probably won’t have much velocity? I know I want to at least learn two pitches, one of which would be a fastball with movement. I had thought maybe something like a straight change up or splitter could work as a second pitch after I learn the fastball. As much as I love the slider, I think I want to avoid that for now due to low velocity and concern over injury. The reason I got the idea for a splitter is because of the success a guy like Koji Uehara has had. His fastball is only about 86 mph, but that splitter that sinks into the dirt gets batters swinging wildly and he manages to get the strikeouts because of the movement on the splitter.

Are my goals realistic? If so, what should I do to get started?


#2

Someone once said, “The difficult we can accomplish immediately. The impossible takes a little longer.” I would say that your goals are realistic and that with the right kind of help you can get the coaching and experience you need to get into college and into a bullpen where you can indeed pitch. The first thing you need to do—and it might not be as expensive as you think—is get together with a good pitching coach who is well versed in the basics and who can work with you.Tell him everything, about what you hope to accomplish, and perhaps some arrangement can be worked out. After all, one has to start somewhere.
You have the right idea about first learning a good fastball and then working on a good changeup—those are the basics. And a good coach can help with such things as posture, balance, glove-side control, follow-through (finishing your pitches), and placement (location, what we used to call control)—it may be difficult, but it’s not impossible. And don’t worry about velocity for now; not everyone can or will be a 95-MPH fireballer but lots of people can be good finesse pitchers, and from what you tell me you can do this. But you have to take that first step, and that is get the right kind of instruction—and some experience. Best of luck.


#3

It may take a year just to get basic mechanics down if you have never thrown a baseball. Time is not one of your allies in this endeavor. You have no time to waste. I don’t know any college coach who would take on such a project. Eventually you will need to earn your spot on the team. They just don’t have mop up pitcher roles. They will use a position player for that rare situation. It’s not a roster slot on its own. Post some video and we can better determine what we’re talking about.


#4

A baseball club is made up of competitors who expect certain things to happen. Sometimes the simplest things can go wrong and the “moans-n-groans” that follow, along with the blame game can really be cruel. Regardless of how good or not this college club is - no one likes to lose. Like I mentioned earlier, the blame game can be a hard taskmaster to endure if you want to go this route - I wouldn’t.

How good are you at swinging a bat? Can you put the ball in play? Can you hold your own in a batting order, at least the bottom of a batting order?

Here’s another consideration to think about - you’re going to college based on someone (maybe you) writing a check every so often. That check is to support your ability to earn a living someday in the field of study that you’re majoring in, or about to major in. Taking on the learning process of a competitive sport, in addition to your study load can be a real monkey on your back does nothing for anybody - especially you. So be very careful in wishing and wanting to go the route that you’re thinking about.


#5

“…The school is a small school and competes in the NAIA and is pretty terrible. I don’t expect many, if any at all, of the players are on an athletic scholarship…”

Just because a school is small and terrible doesn’t mean there’s no athletic money. Every conference has to have a bad team in it.

I hate to burst you’re bubble but you’re goals are not realistic.

Unless you are naturally athletically gifted and physically mature (and even then it’s a looooong shot) a College Coach isn’t going to take you on as a work in progress. His job isn’t to develop guys with no talent or experience into a mop up role, his job is to win ball games.

Like Coach B said you’re going to go get an education. That costs a good chunk of coin.

A more realistic goal I think is to see if there is a club team at the school and play for that team.


#6

Excellent suggestions from Wales. A “club” team can be fun and a learning experience at the same time. Come to think of it - I’m sorry for not suggesting that earlier. My apologies.
Clubs can be like night and day from frontline competition. From what I’ve seen ( and not much of) they’re a collection of guys that live the game, have a good time, usually a visit to the “ole watering hole” afterwards, then crash in the dorms. Their schedules are easy to meet and the clubs that they compete against are usually same-mo-same-mo.

I finished a visit to a college game, found a “club” game in process across the field, and really enjoyed the causal nature of things in addition to the antics on the sidelines. Each club team had a player coach, usually an upper classman who also doubled as a dorm advisor/Ra-resident advisor. Also - and this was a first for me, every player had a girlfriend nearby or parked on the bench. And this was for both clubs. Neither club had formal uniforms. Simply shorts, a T-shirt and a ball cap of assorted shapes and logos. Oh by the way, the thing that I found interesting was the officiating. Some local umpire’s board used these games as OJT for their new umpires. Kind of neat to see everyone going with the flow and not all that concerned with one call or the other.


#7

College baseball does not give out charity innings or have time to develop newbies. If this is a passion if your that you wish to pursue, focus on building your arm strength and learning to use you whole body to get the most behind your throws. This comes from throwing regularly.

As far as private lessons go, you can watch enough videos of pitching mechanics in super slow motion on YouTube.

When you have a grasp for that, focus on throwing 2 pitches (a fastball and breaking ball/offspeed) to each side of the plate, down in the strike zone.

At all levels, the majority of the balls hit hard are on pitches left up and over the plate.

Focus on attacking the areas down and on the corners with 2 pitches.

That is the simplest way to get started

Best Of Luck!!!