Pitching to better hitters

last year i played house league and highschool ball, this year i was taken to a AA ball team and was told ill be pitching

when i was in highschool and HL i would just blow it by them and just try to get everything down the middle

now, with better hitters im guessing i actually have to ‘pitch’ instead of ‘throw’

are there any tips out there that could help me develop a strategy for different types of hitters?

eg. open stance throw inside or something like that

also on setting up hitters

-lefties like the ball down and in
-hitters who bend there knees are high ball hitters
-hitters who stand tall are low ball hitters
-to long armed hitters throw them inside
-to short armed hitters throw the ball away

All that and more!
I always like to have a pitcher approach it this way…Have a plan, it starts with understanding who you are competing against…You’ve got a clue on that, so what gets these sort of hitters out? Well, simply put, keep them off ballance. Maddux does it (And he’s an entire college of how to get guys out) with location and changing speed, he throws the pitch that will be most effective in a given situation…How does he determine that? Well he looks at the hitter, the game situation and his own condition at the moment…he’s always said when he has things not going his way he’ll take something off instead of trying to throw it past the hitter.
Do you work to acheive late movement? If you haven’t you should start learning.
Make sure you and your catcher have an understanding of what is working and what you want to accomplish before the game and review in between innings (Every single inning you pitch…without fail) how the game plan is going and any modifications necessary.
After all of that…Wheel and Deal dude!

When Whitey Ford first came up to the Yankees, Ed Lopat would sit him down in the dugout and the two of them would go over every hitter on every team in the league. Lopat would point out such batters as the guy who was a dead pull hitter and who wouldn’t go to the opposite field if he stood on his head, and conversely the guy whose power was to the opposite field and wouldn’t pull the ball if his life depended on it. Later on, when he was working with me, we would get into deep discussions about all kinds of hitters and how to pitch to them. He even mentioned guys like Yogi Berra, for whom the only way to pitch to them was to throw the ball under the plate because they would go after any pitch they felt they could get a piece of!
He also told me that what I needed to do was to move the ball around—high, low, inside, outside—and change speeds and stay away from the middle of the plate, particularly because I didn’t have a fast ball to speak of. What I did have was a very nice assortment of snake jazz—my best pitches were the slider and the knuckle-curve—and Steady Eddie would talk to me about pitch sequences and about pitching backwards, like starting off a batter with an off-speed pitch and then coming in with the harder stuff. He told me about what they call nowadays “pitching to contact”, which simply means “Get the ball over the plate and MAKE THEM HIT IT. Make them go after your pitch, what you want them to hit.” And so I had two ways I could get the batters out. :slight_smile: 8) :baseballpitcher:

Well I’m not really sure what AA ball is, but I’m sure you’ll be facing some big dudes who know how to hit the ball. Alot of people think that suddenly because the hitters get better, they are going to have to throw like 50% offspeed, and that any fastballs are just going to get killed. While I dont deny the fact that that to some of these hitters, an 85 mph fastball middle away isn’t going to do much like it did in Highschool, you need to remember that your fastball is the pitch you build everything off of. Locate it, keep it away and below the belt to that 6’2 200 pound lefty pull hitter. When you leave one in, and a guy yanks it a mile foul, well, dont leave it in again. But don’t suddenly think that because you are playing at a higher level that your fastball is now useless.

But on the other hand, your offspeed arsenal is going to be at the forefront of your toolbox now more then ever. Some things that I’ve found effective when pitching against D1 or D2 recruits home for the summer are-

Start righty’s with curveballs, but try and make it a perfect pitch low and away, or have it miss. If you do miss, then double up on it the next pitch. They guy will be sitting dead red, and you could hang one down the middle, chances are you’ll still get away with it.

Double up, even triple up on changeups. All the way through highschool, guys teach themselves that if they miss a changeup, 90% of the time a fastball up in the zone is coming next. Throw them another one and watch them take the same bad cut a second time. Now hes in a position where he realizes the change may be coming a third time, but instinct is telling him to sit fastball. Any pitch will work here, a third changeup can usually induce a weak infield grounder, fastballs located well will usually put him away, and a hard curve in the dirt can usually create an ugly looking cut.

Fastballs up and out of the zone don’t work so well any more unless you have a strong fastball for that level. I prefer to use an 0-2 fastball off the plate away, it sets up your offspeed better, or another fastball in creates jamshot city.

The thing to really remember when you move up to a higher level, especially as a pitcher, is that you still have the upper hand. 2/3 times, you should beat the hitter, and thats if your a bad pitcher. The only difference is that mistake pitches get punished more, and once and a while a good pitch is going to turn into a good piece of hitting and leave you shaking your head and tipping your hat to the batter.

I am a similar pitcher to you btw I think, I throw throw at about 82-87 and sit at 84-85, with a good curve and change. If you struck out a ton of batters at highschool like I did (I averaged about 10.5 thru 7) your probably going to see that number go down. Its fine. I averaged only about 6 per 7 this summer, but my ERA dropped a run and a half, walks went down, and wins went up. Pitching at a level where you can’t rely on being able to let three loose down the middle and get a K is important to any pitcher, it made me a hell of a better one.

Good advice so far guys.

As you all get older you will start to face some better hitters. As JD said, know your gameplan, and execute pitches. When you face a bad hitter you may not have to execute any pitches to get them out. You can just throw any strike up there. When you face better hitters they will force you to make pitches. Sometimes you may need to execute 2, 3 or 4 pitches to get a solid hitter out. No big deal, their still a hitter trying to do the toughest thing in sports. Hit a baseball.

Remember, there are three dimensions of getting a hitter out. Inside and outside, up and down, and the back and forth dimension. In other words, the use of speed difference. i.e. fastball to changeup, 4 seam to 2-seam, fastball to slider etc. A good hitter may force you to use all three dimensions throughout a game.

One other point. Watch what the hitter does on the first pitch of an at bat. If it’s a good hitter, he’s probably looking for a location right? A pitch that he can drive and a pitch he likes to swing it. If he takes a pitch on the outter third for a strike, that should give you information. He may like the pitch on the inner third and probably likes to pull the baseball. If you throw the first pitch on the outer third and he fouls it straight back with a good swing, that also gives you information. Extension guy, time to go hard in. My point is, every swing or every take gives a pitcher information on a hitters approach. Use it!