Pitches/Signs - 3 Questions

  1. Okay so I throw 4 pitches (fastball, change, cutter, curve) which I consider to be a lot, and while I was browsing the forums I notice a lot of people have 5 or 6 pitches including a lot of them who throw knuckleballs… So I was wondering is it good to have 3 or 4 pitches or 5 or 6 pitches?

  2. One question regarding signs from my catcher. If I throw a two seam fastball would I have a separate sign for when I want to throw it? Or would I just throw it whenever I want when my catcher gives me “one” finger for fastball? What about a cut fastball?

  3. Anyone have a link to a pitching signal video? I just learned a cutter and dont know how to signal it in bullpen when I want to throw the pitch

What I’d do is stick with the pitches you throw best, the ones you have more confidence in and have not necessarily mastered but almost. You may already have mastered a pitch. Most Pro Pitchers don’t learn what they throw now until they reach college or professional baseball. Once you get to those levels they’ll teach you new pitches, and work with you. So have as many pitches you are comfortable and you throw best. The rest you have time to work on them.

[quote=“R H P22”]1. Okay so I throw 4 pitches (fastball, change, cutter, curve) which I consider to be a lot, and while I was browsing the forums I notice a lot of people have 5 or 6 pitches including a lot of them who throw knuckleballs… So I was wondering is it good to have 3 or 4 pitches or 5 or 6 pitches?

  1. One question regarding signs from my catcher. If I throw a two seam fastball would I have a separate sign for when I want to throw it? Or would I just throw it whenever I want when my catcher gives me “one” finger for fastball? What about a cut fastball?

  2. Anyone have a link to a pitching signal video? I just learned a cutter and dont know how to signal it in bullpen when I want to throw the pitch[/quote]

  3. Master 3 or 4 pitches.

  4. Depends on how good your 2 seamer is. If it’s just like your other fastball(s) and your catcher can handle it, throw it whenever you want. If it’s distinct and could throw off the catcher, use a sign for it. To tell the catcher a 2 seamer is coming: with the ball in your throwing hand and your palm facing up, give a little sinking action with your hand.

  5. For a cutter, ball in your throwing hand, give a little cut action with your hand.

Some of the best advice I ever got about signaling is to tell the catcher what you want the ball to do. If you want a slow overhand curve, give the glove sign slowly. If you want a slider to move down, make the glove motion down. It helps to tell your brain what you want the pitch to do.

If you’re asking about taking signs from your catcher we use two methods- one finger down is a 4 seam, 1 finger down with a circle motion is the 2-seam. Another method is one finger down followed by 2 down for 2-seam, or one finger down followed by 4 down for a 4 seam. Our kids don’t throw cutters yet but you could go one down-three down for your cutter. You and your catcher can make it as complex as you want but we try to keep it simple and clear.

Also good to have two sets, indicators, etc. if you are worried about someone stealing signs.

Let me share with you some things from my own experience.
When I played, many moons ago, I had a catcher who, though he was not exactly Yogi Berra or Johnny Bench, was an intelligent guy who knew my stuff and what I could do with it. The first time I met with him we went over signs very carefully, because I had an extensive arsenal of snake-jazz—breaking pitches of various descriptions. My #1 pitch was a pretty murderous slider; I threw sidearm exclusively and I would throw that pitch two ways—just the ordinary way and with the crossfire delivery. So our basic signs went something like this: 1 finger was the slider; 2 was the knuckle curve; 3 was any one of a whole basketful of changeups. I didn’t have a fast ball to speak of. When I wanted to crossfire a pitch—and I used that move with everything I threw—I would signal my catcher with crossed fingers: logical, hm?
And there were times when I would call him out to the mound and tell him that I would signal which pitch I was going to throw. This was a strategic move; often when I had to come into the game in relief in the middle of an inning there would be a runner on second base, and we all know what a dangerous situation this is because that runner is in a perfect position to steal a catcher’s signs and relay them to the hitter. We also know that a runner on second can’t steal the signs if he can’t see them! (This, by the way, was a strategy used very successfully by an old St. Louis Cardinals pitcher named Howie Pollet who would signal to his infield what he would throw and where.)
It’s important to make sure your middle infielders, the second baseman and the shortstop, know what you’re going to throw so that they can set themselves for any possible play and know how and where to move so they can cover whichever base. And speaking of signals—I remember a funny story about a pitcher named Hiram Bithorn and a catcher named Chico Hernandez. Those two guys played for the Chicago Cubs back in the 1940s, and they used to do all their signaling aloud in Spanish because they were conversant with it—they were from Puerto Rico or some such place. Everything was going well, until one day when they were playing the Giants, and suddenly Bithorn was getting shellacked. After a couple of innings he happened to look around and suddenly he realized what was happening. The Giants had a third-base coach named Dolf Luque, and he was Cuban, and because he was Cuban he knew Spanish very, very well—and he was relaying the signals to the hitters! So much for the vocal signaling—Bithorn and Hernandez had to go back to the use of their fingers.
In any event—whether you throw just three pitches or a whole arsenal, it’s important to get your signals straight and make sure the other team doesn’t pick up on them. :slight_smile: 8)

First off, better to have a few really good pitches then several average or so-so ones.

You mentioned knuckleballs, and I’ll tell you now most of the people who throw them don’t throw a real good one. It take a lot of time and concentration to throw one consistently inconsistent, to be able to throw it a lot or even in your normal rep. it has to be real good, most the people who throw it throw one or two out there in a game.

Signaling should be simple, you can do whatever you want for your signals as long as you and your catcher are on the same page, and it’s important to know signals, I have a little story to tell about my first year in legion.

We were playing in a tournament and we were facing Rangely, Colorado if i remember right. We were warming up and our centerfielder who had a laser arm was warming up with me, without signal he threw me a sharp curve, and it was high, I thought I had to jump, but it turns out I didn’t need to as the ball broke beneath my glove and hit me square in the eye, I was out for two weeks with ruptured vessels and a bruised eyeball plus a slice from the seam slightly separating the skin of my nose from my face. I very nearly detached my retina, I’m lucky I had glasses at the time to cushion the blow a little or else I might be blind right now.