How important is it to pitch the ball down in the strike zone? I am coaching a 12U team that has 4 pitchers on it that do not throw very hard. My understanding is that if you pitch the ball down and it is hit you have a better chance of making a play on the ball in the infield? Is this true and are there any statistic numbers that support this?
Since my pitchers are not going to blow the ball past the good hitting teams, I would much rather them miss close to the strike zone (preferably down) than pitching the ball right down the middle. Is this the right approach?
I also think working the count ( 2-2, 3-2, 2-1 ) is much better than giving up a hit when the pitch count on the batter is low.
Does anyone know of any baseball statistic or books that support this approach to pitching?