I like your style FankieFresh, it shows a willingness to get-out-there and learn.
Just remember with the palm ball, your point of release and location is going to be like night and day form your other inventory of pitches, so practice refining your palm ball. Practice with going for the catcher’s kneecaps, but remember to compensate for releasing a bit higher and upright, if you’re under 6 feet. But always finish after release with a good fastball posture and keep you head into the pitch - don’t bail out by looking down and to the side. You want to witness where and what your pitch did. I’ve seen youngster 15 and under have a decent off-speed and change-up by NOT have a game-of-catch posture after releasing their off-speed and change-up pitch.
Ok, now to address your question, and at some length.
The change-up and the off-speed are considered the same pitch, but in reality they’re not. Here’s why. Now this is from a refined coaching perspective so give this some thought.
- An off-speed pitch is what I like to consider as the first pitch that a batter sees, without comparing it to any other pitch before it. Usually, I like to see a pitcher deliver this kind of pitch a little slower than his usual fastball, but with a fastball choreography to it. Whatever grip he feels comfortable with - go for it. Now the next pitch that follows can be whatever is in the inventory for whatever the situation dictates.
- A change-up is just that. It - the pitch, is a change in speed and other dynamics that the pitcher has working for him that day. The key to that pitch, I like to think of, is the word “change”. In other words there is something that this pitch can be compared to, next in quick order.
Now I know this may seem like semantics, but from a coaching perspective (mine) it’s not. But then again, some coaches and pitchers will make no distinction between the two phrases/pitches.
Ok, now more directly to your question.
Setting Up a Batter
In order to setup a batter, your stuff has to be right on, about 80% of the time. This also means that, 80% is doable from the first pitch, first inning, to that pitch that’s going to be a setup pitch, in say the sixth inning. Workability and control is the key here. If you can get a nibble on the corners, or even high heat that a batter just can’t lay off of, you’re golden. That change-up will have the guy guessing… what the #@!* is this guy gonna serve up next? Now your cooking… not to mention giving your pitching coach a well earned break from the Maalox. Just be mindful that in the later innings, the bottom of the batting order is usually “up to speed” sort speak, with seeing enough of your stuff to catch up to and estimate your incoming bag of tricks. So temper yourself on pitch selection.
Strike Out Pitch
If you’re going for a strike out with a change-up, be mindful who you facing. A guy that has taken you into a hole or deep, should be given a wide berth. In fact, there’s probably a good reason why a guy like that is in the top to middle of the batting order - or even better, a DH or sub later in the game. In any event, I would never suggest going for the off-speed as a strike for your first pitch in the later innings, or to the bottom of any batting order.
At your level of play the first time you face a guy, it’s not all that unusual for these guys, for whatever reason(s), to stand in the box and TAKE the first pitch. If the scouting reports, or in your case what other guys seem to do, proves that the first pitch is usually taken 90% of the time by the middle of the batting order on down - go for it. Then get the ball back quickly and dish out your best stuff, one after the other. In doing so, you’ll notice that the batter is in the hole quickly and won’t have time to adjust all that well, and he’ll be off balance. Now keep what you just did with a particular batter in the back of your mind. You’re going to want to dish him again, and quickly every time his digs in against you.