Pick Off Pattern


#1

pick off patern is a very situational thing, you cannot get a patern like fastball up and away fastball up and in curveball down and away. it all depends on the lead the runner gets, if hes thinking about stealing on next pitch etc. most the time, guys get picked off because they were about to steal next pitch. thats why pick offs are pretty rare, first the runner needs to be about to steal and secondly you need to be intending to pick him off so thats a pretty rare combination. you just turned outv to watch a game where that happenned. watch the same patern even coming from a guy like andy pettitte with the best pick off move ever and you might not see it happen.


#2

I agree. A lot depends on the game situation. who’s up at bat. The speed of the runner. Etc, etc. The most effective way to hold runners is to vary your holds to the plate, not necessarily throw over a half dozen times…


#3

A friend of mine who played with Satchel Paige toward the end of his career told me what Satch used tell all the young pitchers. When he had someone who he wanted to hold close and they were getting frisky with their lead, he’d just step off. :wink:

One of the things I believe you should put into your game plan is, knowing the opposition base runners as well as possible. It’s a little silly losing focus on the batter when there’s not a lot of chance the runner is going to run.

Take a look at the metric on page 37 of http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/fbatting.pdf Those are the numbers for our 11 game fall ball season this year.

We’ve been tracking our hitters for a couple years, and its pretty interesting to see just how poorly the opposing pitchers “read” all the players. Some have a reputation that precedes them, but more often than not, its pretty obvious that the opposing pitchers don’t have much idea about who they’re so worried about, as opposed to who they should be worried about. :wink:


#4

Whitey Ford. Mark Buehrle. Andy Pettitte. Three lefthanded pitchers with absolutely terrific pickoff moves. Especially nowadays, Pettitte. He’s the kind of pitcher about whom baserunners will grumble that they were just standing on first base, tapping the bag with their toe, and he got them between taps.
The important thing is not to fall into a predictable pattern. One time Ed Lopat was talking to me about holding runners on and pickoff moves, and he said to me, “You’re not out there to set records with pickoff moves—you’re just out there to hold the runners close to the bag. You can throw over there once—maybe twice—just to let the runner know you know he’s there.” He added that the time to try for a pickoff is when you notice out of the corner of your eye that the runner is taking a bigger lead than is good for him. That’s when you make the move." Now, I was a righthander, and at first I had a problem with the whole business, but Lopat worked with me on that. He told me about different varieties of baserunners—the “bump on a log” who wasn’t going anywhere, the guy who would move when the hit-and-run was on, all the way up to the speed demon who would steal your shoes if you didn’t watch out. …
And—in relief, anyway—I became pretty good with pickoffs. 8)


#5

This is such an important part of pitching I feel a lot of guys tend to neglect. It is so beneficial to you as a pitcher and can help you win a lot of games if you know what you are doing. I didn’t really start to pay attention to base runners until my jr year in college, and surprisingly enough i lead my conf. in pick offs that year. I didn’t have the best move but I really studied base runners which helped me immensely. I wrote an article
http://bit.ly/caTbWP
on things you can do to read base runners, look for tendencies and how to react towards them. Let me know what you guys think and if there are any important parts i missed.


#6

I thought your article was okay, danramosd, but there’s some room for further discusion and it would also be of interest to discuss the larger topic (of holding runners close) separately for RHPs and LHPs.

One point that bears further thought is the idea, “Don’t show the runner your best move with your first move”. I’ve heard that philosophy before, but think it’s unnecessarily complex to have more than one move to 1st. Different timings, yes, absolutely, but one move–your best one.

If you have taken the time to develop a pick-off move…and if it’s a good move, use it right out of the chute and it will keep the runners close. That’s what it’s for: To put a seed of doubt in the opposing players’ and coaches’ minds–“hey, stay close, that guy has a good move and he’s not afraid to use it.”

Using a lesser-quality move to 1B, while keeping a high-quality move under wraps, may easily end up in a pooched throw and the runner on 2B.

The logic is this: Most guys develop and practice their pick-off moves on their own and they naturally practice to be as efficient as possible. How many people take the time to practice and develop a deceptively slower move to 1B? I’m going to guess that very, very few pitchers do that. So, it just makes sense to me that pitchers should not be doing things under game conditions that they haven’t practiced, practiced, practiced.


#7

[quote=“laflippin”]I thought your article was okay, danramosd, but there’s some room for further discusion and it would also be of interest to discuss the larger topic (of holding runners close) separately for RHPs and LHPs.

One point that bears further thought is the idea, “Don’t show the runner your best move with your first move”. I’ve heard that philosophy before, but think it’s unnecessarily complex to have more than one move to 1st. Different timings, yes, absolutely, but one move–your best one.

If you have taken the time to develop a pick-off move…and if it’s a good move, use it right out of the chute and it will keep the runners close. That’s what it’s for: To put a seed of doubt in the opposing players’ and coaches’ minds–“hey, stay close, that guy has a good move and he’s not afraid to use it.”

Using a lesser-quality move to 1B, while keeping a high-quality move under wraps, may easily end up in a pooched throw and the runner on 2B.

The logic is this: Most guys develop and practice their pick-off moves on their own and they naturally practice to be as efficient as possible. How many people take the time to practice and develop a deceptively slower move to 1B? I’m going to guess that very, very few pitchers do that. So, it just makes sense to me that pitchers should not be doing things under game conditions that they haven’t practiced, practiced, practiced.[/quote]

Just playing a little devlis advocate, what if the pitcher always practices his move and he just doesn’t have a good one. The other team/runner picks up on this right away and doesn’t mind getting a bigger lead and running on him the rest of the game. But if you don’t show them a good move in the beginning of the game they just assume that you don’t have one. Now all of the sudden your up by one run in the 7th inning, they need to get their guy from first to second and you pick him off because they were under the assumption you didn’t have a good move.

Obviously keeping your better move in your pocket till later in the game is an ideal situation, but there is a good chance that you will have to use your best move earlier in the game because you ‘know’ the guy is stealing. I feel keeping runners close is all about making them feel uncomfortable. If you show a different leg kick, different timing, and different moves, it only makes it harder on the runner. I think it’s simliar to pitchers throwing their off speed pitches. You have a ‘get me over’ slider, and your ‘put me away’ slider, which can very in location, break and speed. This makes it more difficult on the hitter because its just more things he has to worry about.

“Using a lesser-quality move to 1B, while keeping a high-quality move under wraps, may easily end up in a pooched throw and the runner on 2B.” This can just as easily happen with a good move when you try to make too good of a throw (low and right to the bag). If you practice both of your moves there is no reason why your best move, and not so good move should end up in right field. Just like fielding a bunt, if its a good one down the third baseline sometimes you dont have time to step in throw like you normally do. But these are the things we practice everyday so you can be comfortable doing it in the game.


#8

OMG!!!
I don’t agree with La :shock: …

I didn’t think we’d have this day… :x

My buddies at UNF used to teach 5 moves minimum (Including a move that was indeed a balk but if practiced it looked “correct” enough not to get called…basically it consisted of breaking the post leg (Balk) and then going over), each had purpose, they practiced throwing to a specific target, they considered it an entire aspect that they wanted to get at least an out per game but more importantly supressing the run game where no first to thirds or scoring from 2nd on a clean singles were the goals…they certainly believed strongly in setting up a pick off and each starter would make a “symbolic” move over on the first runner over to get the distance and feel of the p/o. So you could see in a sequence a guy pick without coming set, then after holding it, then coming for the best move after the guy thinks he’s timed.


#9

I figured this would get interesting, and it did. You’ve obviously thought alot about this topic and I appreciate your willingness to expand on it.

A couple of responses:

If you’ve got a poor move to 1B, I don’t see how any but the dumbest opponent is not going to figure that out early in the game, unless the pitcher is so difficult to hit or walk on that it’s unimportant. Disguising a poor move with an even poorer one is not a useful strategy–instead, the pitcher needs to make his pick-off move a decent one, unless he’s a Nolan Ryan type who doesn’t really need to hold runners close.

I agree with everybody about changing the timing of pick/delivery from the set position.

Just saw jdfrmfla’s post–OMG, our first disagreement–I’ll send flowers and candy. :lol:

Actually, though, I guess I was talking-from-the-hip from too personal of a point of view. I’m tending to keep some specific things very simple and direct right now because my 16 yo son is early on this particular learning curve. jdfromfla’s college-level discussion makes sense to me…but I haven’t seen the same thing happening in HS practices.


#10

Varying times in the “set” position is definitely a good idea. A good runner will notice if you have the same time in the set position and take off on you before you even start your motion. Every once in a while when I have a fast runner on base I will just come set and stand still until the batter calls time. There are other ways to keep the hitter off balance other then throwing over every other pitch…


#11

R H P22,

I don’t understand why you think “throwing over” or “just standing still” keeps the hitter off balance.


#12

Right NOW it’d be an edge that could set him apart…are you going to try to give me some horse cah cah about his inability to assimulate and perfect this sort of a skill/strategy as a high schooler (In his spare time even :lol: :lol: )??? Real shaky sand out there in the old warehouse district I hear there La… :wink: could just be rationalized to disintegration… :cool: I wonder just how many pitches a pick off can save a 16 yr old in a varsity game??? Or how big a morale impact picking the cocky lead-off hitter you sent to first on a message to begin with is??? Well now, I’m the one getting cocky here :oops: you didn’t discount the value, just had a somewhat narrow view of strategic technique… :greengrin: :rofl2:


#13

I don’t know if anyone has picked up on this point, but it’s an important one…If a pitcher keeps throwing over to first and throwing over to first and throwing over to first—and I’ve seen this a lot—what it tells me is that the pitcher is more concerned with that runner, almost obsessively concerned with the possibility of a steal, and he loses his concentration on what he should be focusing on: the batter. He gets so tied up with that runner that he often has forgotten about the batter, and when he finally pitches to the plate, very often his control has deserted him and he hangs a pitch—BLAM, over the fence.
At one point he could try a pitchout—assuming that he isn’t facing a three-ball count—to see what happens. If the runner is going, the catcher can make a snap throw to second base (hopefully someone’S covering the bag) and the runner can be cut down trying to steal. If the runner is the “bump on a log”—not going anywhere—get back to the batter and do what you have to do to get him out. 8)


#14

stop stop stop jd, you’re killin’ me here…anyway, here is the boy’s 1B move in slo-mo:

“pattern” is probably too strong of a word for it, but sometimes he gets good results by ignoring 1B for his 1st pitch with the new runner aboard, followed by a snap throw to 1B before making a 2nd pitch.

One thing we work on a lot–as a righty, he never actually looks directly over at the runner on 1B. A very good pitching coach taught him to keep his eyes directed to the catcher, but to watch the runner in his peripheral vision. When the runner’s position is just beyond the limit of his peripheral vision, it’s somewhere around a 10 ft lead and time to make a snap throw to 1B.

I guess we’re pretty conservative with the “1 move” idea but I’ve been surprised lately by the number of HS pitchers I’ve seen who have nothing but a poor move to 1B, even some LHPs who have no excuse to squander their gift…


#15

As a righty, I save my best pickoff move for my “long set.” If I’m going to pick someone off, I have to catch them leaning, and the best way to do that is by setting for at least 3 seconds, then giving my best move.

Lefties have so many tools at their disposal. Good moves, bad moves, slide step moves, step off quick throws. If you’re lefthanded, do yourself a favor and WORK on your moves. It can be a huge weapon.

Another benefit of varying times that is often overlooked: messing up the hitter’s timing. The hitter wants a nice consistent pitching motion so he can time it. Once you start mixing in slide steps, the hitter’s timing is thrown off. This is more for advanced hitters–they’re taught to “load up” and if you find a hitter with a long load up, or even a toe tap (think Chipper Jones), you can really mess them up by varying your looks.

I pitch from the stretch at all times, and I like to use the slide step with no one on base sometimes. Just for a pitch here and there, so the hitter is not too comfortable. I’ve even been known to check the runners on base…even with no one on.

Once again, this is more advanced stuff, but remember the goal: upset the hitter’s timing.


#16

My point exactly, don’t obsess but do work on every single aspect of the art…excelling as a fielder saved untold innings and pitches on my boys arm, picking guys made him intimidating and his pitching skills made him top 5 in the region and the only sub 1 era the entire sr season to actually decrease week over week…it wasn’t just one thing that did it.
It’s hard to see but if you go full screen and hd you can watch this sequence, didn’t pick the guy but just as good took a twin killing to start the game against the #1 base stealer on the #2 team in the JUCO nation that year…I always love an excuse to post it…and Zita…note he only actually goes over once…making your supurb point


#17

Quick question, something that’s been gnawing for awhile…

Why aren’t there more serious pick-off moves to 3B by RHPs?

I’m looking for advice beyond the obvious, i.e., that a badly botched throw to 3B pretty much guarantees a run will score. RHPs have the “lefty advantage” relative to 3B, and I don’t think good players should be inhibited from trying to make logical plays based on fear of pooching a throw…so are there other good reasons for not holding runners more closely at 3B or putting on pick-off plays to that bag?


#18

danramosd ,

While I agree that a pitcher CAN help himself by paying attention to base runners, I wonder if there isn’t some kind of line that can be crossed where paying too much attention to the runners can adversely affect the pitcher’s primary job, getting the guy with the big stick in his hand, out.

Did you look at the numbers that showed how you fared with runners on as opposed to no runners on both before and after you decided to make the change? Did you check to see anything like this before and after?
http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/results2.pdf

By no means would I try to imply that what you did wasn’t a good thing. But I have to ask the inevitable question, was there any cost in performance against the batters because of it?


#19

[quote=“laflippin”]Quick question, something that’s been gnawing for awhile…

Why aren’t there more serious pick-off moves to 3B by RHPs?

I’m looking for advice beyond the obvious, i.e., that a badly botched throw to 3B pretty much guarantees a run will score. RHPs have the “lefty advantage” relative to 3B, and I don’t think good players should be inhibited from trying to make logical plays based on fear of pooching a throw…so are there other good reasons for not holding runners more closely at 3B or putting on pick-off plays to that bag?[/quote]

I really think it’s a great example for Occam’s Razor, where the simplest explanation is the most likely one.

Everything in baseball is based on one thing, not allowing runs to score for the defense, and scoring runs for the offense. And so, every different thing done is really weighing the chances of it allowing a run to score or not. While there are things like a HR that almost guarantee that a run will score, there really aren’t that many on defense other than a wild throw to 3rd with a runner on 3rd.

I suppose some enterprising Saber wonk could come up with a set of linear weights that would give the odds for pickoff attempts at the different bases under the different circumstances, but I honestly don’t see any other reason that makes sense.


#20

One reason that the possible fear of botching a throw/allowing a run does not seem like a completely water-tight answer to me is: With runners at 1st & 3rd, it is not shocking to see pitchers throw over to 1st. Not extremely commonplace, maybe, but definitely it’s done by RHPs and LHPs alike more than throws to 3B. Seems like the potential for scoring a run on a botched throw to 1B is just as high as it is for 3B.