Pitching To YOUR Advantage By Utilizing The Whole Plate


#1

Throwing strikes is the name of the game for pitchers. An average pitcher will throw around a 62% strikes per 100 pitch outing where an above average pitcher will throw 65% strikes. As a pitcher, we are always looking for the edge over the hitters. If an average pitcher is going to throw 62 strikes to 38 balls in a 100 pitch outing, what if we could maximize these strikes to give us an even better advantage? Well we can by utilizing what the plate allows us to. The width of a baseball plate measures at 17 inches across, while the width of a baseball measures at 3 inches. So what this math should be telling us is that we could fit almost 6 baseball across the width of the plate depending on how big that umpires strike zone is. To take that even a step further, the width of a pitching rubber measures at 24 inches, which means that with the right position on the rubber, we can create an even better angle against the hitter.

Now these numbers mean nothing unless we utilize them to our advantage. The pitchers that never progress are the ones that are worrying about throwing strikes, where they should be worrying about throwing “quality strikes.” This means that they are utilizing their full 17 inches that the plate allows to miss that hitters barrel.

Hitters are taught to “cover the whole plate.” What this means to a hitter is that they should be able to hit anything that is around the plate. If we can take into consideration that a bats average barrel size is around 8 inches and if we lay that barrel right on top of the plate, then that barrel is still missing out on 9 inches of the plate. That is where utilizing the full width of the plate gives the pitcher an advantage.

I am a firm believer that pitching inside to a hitter is the best tool in a pitchers arsenal, after a first pitch strike of course. The reason that its so difficult for a hitter to put a good swing on a well located inside pitch is because they aren’t taught well enough to keep their hands inside long enough. If they do put the bat to the ball on an inside pitch, more often than not you will get a weak ground ball somewhere. The reasons that its difficult for a pitcher to execute this pitch is because the pitcher has a much smaller window to locate this pitch and they are scared of hitting the batter. Like with anything else in baseball, pitchers should practice and focus on hitting that inside quadrant of the plate. I like my pitchers to visualize making quality pitches to the inside quadrant, that way they have a familiarity to it and are comfortable to do when they take the mound. “Pitch Away To Display…Pitch In To WIN.”

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#2

Many moons ago, I had the good fortune to work with one of the finest pitching coaches people would give their eyeteeth to work with—a fellow named Eddie Lopat who was one of the Yankees’ Big Three pitching rotation.At one point he told me: “Move the ball around—high, low, inside, outside, work the corners, change speeds, throw strikes AND stay away from the middle of the plate.” He knew I was not particularly fast, but I could and did throw hard and on top of that I was one of those exasperating, infuriating creatures known as a sidearmer who used the crossfire all the time. So he told me about using the whole plate, and often when I would throw a bullpen session he would set up behind the plate with a catcher’s mitt and position it every which way but standing on his head :lol:, and I would concentrate on pitching to those spots while he caught for me.
Good advice. This is how you catch the batters off balance and end up with lots of strikeouts. Believe me, I made good use of it. :baseballpitcher:


#3

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#4

The circles in front and on home plate, are the contact points where various batters in the batting order will make contact with the ball, mostly.

Thus, the top of the order 1-2-3-4 will make contact with your pitch, in most case, to the front of home plate, the middle of the order 4-5-6 will make contact in the middle of the plate. The bottom of the order 7-8-9 will make contact towards the back of the plate.

Of course this contact location will depend on just how far forward, center, or to the back, the batter stands in the box.