Pitch location

My son really enjoys pitching, but does not have as much velosity as some of the other kids–he is extremely accurate though with his pitches. I have told him that location can be much more important in pitching than velocity. However, where are the best locations to pitch? I have broken down the strike zone into 9 areas–top outside, top middle, top inside, middle outside, dead center, middle inside, lower outside, lower middle, and lower inside.

How would you rank each of these areas to pitch to? Obviously dead center is a nice strike, but it is also a great pitch for a hitter–I would assume dead center would be ranked #9 (last). Top inside is the hardest to hit–is that right?–I would assume that would be ranked #1 (first). How do the other zones rank?

My son, and most of the kids in the league are right handed–batters and pitchers. Does it make a big difference if he is facing a left handed batter? Would the zone ranks change?

What about left handed pitchers? Does that change the zone ranks?–lefty vs lefty and lefty vs righty.

I wouldn’t worry about the velocity—it will come as the kid gets older and builds up mpre strength. Too many coaches are so obsessed with speed, speed and more speed, as if it were the be-all and the end-all of pitching—not so.
Now, about location. Many moons ago, when I was playing, I had a wise and wonderful pitching coach who was an active major-league pitcher—a key member of the Yankees’ Big Three rotation. He told me: “Move the ball around—high, low, inside, outside, and change speeds—and STAY AWAY FROM THE MIDDLE OF THE PLATE!” He knew whereof he spoke; the middle, or even middle-in, is just what the batters are looking for—a nice juicy pitch, usually a fast ball or a breaking pitch that hangs, that they can blast over the fence, out of the ballpark, across the street and into Aunt Minnie’s kitchen window. He also told me: “Figure out what the batter is looking for—and don’t give it to him.” Sound advice indeed, because I was a finesse pitcher, not much on speed (I topped out at 81) but with an arsenal of breaking stuff which I was constantly expanding.
My own repertoire wasn’t exactly chopped liver. I had a nice little curve ball which came attached to my natural sidearm delivery, a very good knuckle-curve, a palm ball which was my first changeup (and a good one it was), and a little later on the slider, which I nicknamed “Filthy McNasty” after a character in a W.C. Fields movie because that was exactly what it was, with a sharp late break. I had several variations of a couple of those pitches, and being a sidearmer I had picked up the crossfire (which the opposing hitters did not like at all because they were constantly striking out). And because I was really interested, really wanted to know, and was willing and ready to work at all of this, my coach had no reservations about teaching me a lot of very advanced stuff he felt I needed to know.
So, with the exception of down the middle, the kid should continue to work on hitting his spots. Here’s something I used to do, from the time when I was a little snip and well into my playing days: I would get a catcher, and we would go to a playing field that wasn’t being used at the time (there were several near Yankee Stadium). He would set up behind the plate while I took the mound, and we would play a little game we called “ball and strike”, the purpose of which was to refine my control. He would position his mitt in various spots—every which way, it seemed, but standing on his head—and I would concentrate on getting the ball smack-dab into the pocket of the mitt. It was a terrific workout and a lot of fun, and what a sweet satisfying feeling it was to hear that resounding “thwack” as the ball hit the pocket. I did this with all my pitches, at different speeds, and from time to time we would get someone to stand in the batter’s box (on either side of the plate) so I could really zero in on the various parts of the strike zone. Believe me, I can’t think of a better way to sharpen up one’s control. 8) :slight_smile:

[quote=“M_D_Webster”]My son really enjoys pitching, but does not have as much velosity as some of the other kids–he is extremely accurate though with his pitches. I have told him that location can be much more important in pitching than velocity. However, where are the best locations to pitch? I have broken down the strike zone into 9 areas–top outside, top middle, top inside, middle outside, dead center, middle inside, lower outside, lower middle, and lower inside.
How would you rank each of these areas to pitch to? Obviously dead center is a nice strike, but it is also a great pitch for a hitter–I would assume dead center would be ranked #9 (last). Top inside is the hardest to hit–is that right?–I would assume that would be ranked #1 (first). How do the other zones rank?
My son, and most of the kids in the league are right handed–batters and pitchers. Does it make a big difference if he is facing a left handed batter? Would the zone ranks change?
What about left handed pitchers? Does that change the zone ranks?–lefty vs lefty and lefty vs righty.[/quote]

I don’t know if any zone locations are necessarily the best to pitch in.
I think it depends on each individual pitcher, what pitches he throws and how good his control is. An old baseball saying is “throw the hard stuff in and the soft stuff out”. Top inside is probably harder to hit than down the middle, but I think it depends alot on each pitch. Also, be careful when throwing high and in- you do not want to hit a batter’s head or pitch close enough to his head that he thinks you are trying to hit him.
If your son faces a left-handed batter, he’ll have to be especially careful with his location as it will be easier for the lefties to hit against a right-hander rather than a left-hander. It’s usually thought that right-handed pitchers can get right-handed hitters out easier than left-handed hitters, and that left-handed pitchers get left-handed hitters out easier than right-handed hitters. Whether this is always true, I don’t know.
There are advantages to have righty-righty match-ups and lefty-lefty match-ups. However, good pitchers can get hitters from both sides of the plate out.

In his book “The Science of Hitting” Ted Williams gave what he thought batting averages would be for various pitch locations. The lowest averages would be for pitches lows and away, followed by low and inside, then high and inside. The highest averages would be for pitches over the middle belt high.
It doesn’t make too much difference if the pitcher is a righty or lefty, or facing an opposite side hitter. If a pitcher can hit these locations routinely
he’ll be successful.

The things I think about in pitching are in, out, up, down, fast and slow. Every location and speed has a time and a place to use them. If you can move the ball the more the hitter will be guessing the location and not be able to zone in on a particular pitch or location. Use fastballs inside and changeups away, lefty batter 0-2 set up a curveball with an outside fastball off the plate and then backdoor curveball. Hard fastball up to set up a changeup that starts in the middle of the plate and drops out of the zone. No one pitch or location is more important than another, they all are important if the hitter thinks you might throw it there or throw that pitch.

Your question might be better asked, “What would a good pitch sequence be for my son”, what works for him and what does he have confidence in?

Look at Perry Husband’s Filthy series to get ideas on how to use location to fool batters.

http://hittingisaguess.com/F_book.html

There is an article in this week Sports Illustrated about Trevor Bauer and it mentions how he uses Perry Husband’s stuff in his pitching.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1189170/index.htm

Nice Slewbaca, thanks for posting that link.

Im playing on a 12u team and im 11 .And im one of the best pitchers one our team.I dont dominate from throwing gas.I do by location and my really good curveball,it breaks late and quik.It drops about 18 inches to two feet :applaud: :baseballpitcher:

[quote=“Slewbacca”]Look at Perry Husband’s Filthy series to get ideas on how to use location to fool batters.

http://hittingisaguess.com/F_book.html

There is an article in this week Sports Illustrated about Trevor Bauer and it mentions how he uses Perry Husband’s stuff in his pitching.

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1189170/index.htm[/quote]

Thanks for the articles. I’m now completely intrigued about Trevor Bauer and his philosophy. My son loves long toss. I think it’s because he throws the ball from the plate over the CF fence while most of his teammates cannot throw the ball from home to 2nd. I would love to read more about what Trevor does.