Practicing from the windup and the stretch

When you practice, i.e. bullpens or inter-squad games, what percentage of pitches to you dedicate to the windup and stretch.

Do you have any idea about the percentage of pitches you throw with runners on?

I go 50/50, since my mechanics are exactly the same once I am in the post it’s just the difference between 2 movements for the stretch and 3 movements for the windup. I also work quite a bit on my pickoff moves.

For youth pitching (9-13) we do 50/50 split during bullpen sessions, unless the kid only pitches from the stretch.

We typically strive for 1/3 windup and 2/3 stretch. We try to practice more from the stretch because this seems to be more representative of game proportions. Also most game-critical pitches are thrown from the stretch.

Now that’s an interesting response. How was that proportion determined? I’ve tracked actual percentages for a number of years now, and the highest I’ve ever seen a team’s pitchers is 58%, and that was an extremely weak pitching team in JUCO. Most of the time its in the 46-50% no runners to 50-54% runners range.

But don’t get wrong, I’ve always believed P’s would generally be helped if they would spend more time throwing from the stretch. But more than that, I’m not a big believer in forcing everyone to work on the same things to the same extent. If you look at http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/stretch.pdf you’ll see what happened last season for us.

On page one, you’ll see that there were 3 pitchers who showed some “issues”, but only Murphy had thrown enough to create much of a concern. So, when it got down to practicing, I could see him being made to throw a lot more from the stretch, but I wouldn’t mess with the others because they were doing exactly what they should.

However, if you look at page 2, you’ll see that our school was far better than average considering all the schools we played, so my guess is, there would likely be schools and therefore pitchers who were having “issues” in the 67% range like you suggest. I’d also check the metric on page 3 to see if maybe I could identify a P who didn’t show up any other way too.

I don’t know about “game critical” pitches because I don’t know how you define them. Perhaps you can help with that.

Sorry about the link. I didn’t realize a comma at the end would screw it up. Although anyone is welcome to look at anything on the site, the link should take you right to the metrics I was talking about.

http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/stretch.pdf

I figured that ratio would get a response :slight_smile: My numbers are just a gut feeling but are influenced by my observations and conversations with other coaches.

Your record keeping is very impressive. Beside batters faced I would be interested in knowing average pitches per batter faced from the windup vs. the stretch. Some throw better from the stretch- fewer moving parts.

Some people might say that in a close game every pitch is game critical- even with no one on base. I think in reality very few games are lost due to a solo homer. My view is that late in a close game once a runner reaches base the subsequent pitches are “game critical” and in most of these situations these pitches are delivered from the stretch. Yes you can nit pick lots of little specific situations but in the big picture I think this is generally true.

As for more practice from the stretch I feel the pitcher is generally dealing with more things from the stretch so he needs to be comfortable. Just the simple act of varying delivery times to the plate to hold runners can have an impact on timing. We practice a one count hold, a two count hold, three count hold, etc. Throw in pickoff moves and the odd play here and there and you have more distractions that can affect a pitcher’s timing. I haven’t even mentioned the guy that mixes the slide step with a high leg kick. That’s a topic for another thread.

IMO the more reps from the stretch the better and a 50-50 mix just doesn’t “feel” right to me.

Another thought- how many times have you seen a team change pitchers with runners on base and the new guy throw his 8 from the windup :roll:

[quote=“JP”]I figured that ratio would get a response :slight_smile: My numbers are just a gut feeling but are influenced by my observations and conversations with other coaches.

Your record keeping is very impressive. Beside batters faced I would be interested in knowing average pitches per batter faced from the windup vs. the stretch. Some throw better from the stretch- fewer moving parts. [/quote]

Well JP, one thing you’ll find about me is, I’ve never met a metric I wouldn’t at least try. Since you didn’t mention any particular metric, I took one of the basic things I do, and ran it to see if I could get close. If you’re thinking of something else, let me know.

http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/cc6.pdf

Well, I might take issue with that in specifics, for the sake of discussion, in general I’ll agree.

[quote]As for more practice from the stretch I feel the pitcher is generally dealing with more things from the stretch so he needs to be comfortable. Just the simple act of varying delivery times to the plate to hold runners can have an impact on timing. We practice a one count hold, a two count hold, three count hold, etc. Throw in pickoff moves and the odd play here and there and you have more distractions that can affect a pitcher’s timing. I haven’t even mentioned the guy that mixes the slide step with a high leg kick. That’s a topic for another thread.

IMO the more reps from the stretch the better and a 50-50 mix just doesn’t “feel” right to me. [/quote]

No argument from me there. Its just that I don’t find that logic to be true in practice as much as you’d think. Of course I don’t have access to more than a few pitchers from other teams.

Speaking of distractions, I just started checking something new this fall, and I added it onto the end of that pitching stuff. Its pretty easy to see that there are a couple of our players that disrupt the other team.

I’ve seen it, but I wouldn’t eve hazard a guess as to the percentage. I do know however, that there are a lot more pitchers now-a-days who throw exclusively from the stretch, especially relief pitchers.

SK,

That’s an impressive database you have. You must be quite a site at games. What kind of system do you have to keep track of all this? Do people dare talk to you while the game is going on?

It looks to me that of total pitches thrown about 53% were with runners on.

Individually some kids are clearly better from the stretch- as much as 8% by one of your more regular throwers.

I’m sure you can break it down by what you’re looking for. What other conclusions do you draw from this or how do you interpret the data? To me different teams and different kids have different things to work on.

I like that stat about the disruptions. There is a lot going on there and in applying my own experiences I don’t think it’s just about speed.

Actually, I’ve been know to carry a BOSE headset. :wink: But all in all, I really don’t do a lot more than any other SK. I’ve got my routine down pat, and I’ve developed a few things to help me make it easier. The only time I really get crotchety about being “bothered” is when people ask something and expect an immediate answer. Even the coaches know that when I’m writing something down, they may as well not ask much because I won’t answer until I’m done doing what I’m doing.

Its funny now that I think about it, that the reason it takes me relatively little time after a game to punch in the numbers and get the answers, is because I’m doing things during the game most people either don’t bother much with, or do after the game. I do things like figuring ERs, RBIs, whether or not there was a RISP, and counting pitches, while the game is going on, mostly between innings.

I prolly have something that would tell for sure, but I’ll take your word for it. :wink:

Here’s something you might consider strange, but once a pitcher has been identified, as you did, when I watch them work, its often pretty easy to see what the problem is, or at least pick out a couple of things that could be easily worked on. But remember, I’m not the coach. I’m sitting where I can concentrate on just one little thing if I like. That’s not such a simple thing for a coach to do in the middle of a game.

I’m gonna drop what I consider to be a very big compliment on you. I have a very good friend who was the pitching coach for the Dodgers for a number of years, and just last night were talking about how one of the things he felt made him so successful, was that he never forgot the concept that each pitcher was an individual. In fact, one of his favorite thing to say, is how he often found himself telling one pitcher to do something he’d just gotten done telling another to stop. So you’re in good company with your belief. :wink:

As far as what conclusions I come to, I have to be very honest. Many of the metrics I do today, especially the pitching metrics, were done when my boy was pitching, and I studied them a lot longer and harder then. These days I pretty much just keep score and produce the numbers, and leave the analysis to others. Now don’t get me wrong. If someone asks me a question, I’ll do my very best to answer it honestly. One thing the parents know about me is, I’m brutally honest. It’s a luxury I have because my boy quit playing ball 4 years ago. Also, since all of my metrics are posted after every game, anytime there’s something someone doesn’t understand, I’ll spend as much time filling them is as possible.

But my personal judgment system is so complicated, most times its too difficult for people to try to keep up with. Its not that I think I’m so brilliant, but rather that I’ll look at maybe 50 different things before I come to a conclusion, and even then I know how many things that could have been factored in that I don’t track.

To tell the truth, many times my opinion of what’s “ailing” a pitcher is really waaaay outside the envelope, but I really try to keep things as simple as possible. Here’s an example. Let’s say your kid is having trouble of some kind. Because of my 15 year relationship with that old coot friend of mine, I’ve been convinced that most of pitching is timing, and most problems come from some kid of difficultly with it.

What’s one of the most basic things that effects a pitcher? Although lots of people either ignore it or believe its such a minor thing, every pitcher can just make a little adjustment and be done with it. The mound. That’s right. the stupid mound.

Here’s a pet peeve. Let’s take a HS pitcher for instance. Where does that pitcher throw more pitches than anywhere else? The bullpen of course. And what’s he SUPPOSED to be doing there? Working on his timing of course. But where’s he asked to throw pitches for REAL? The game mound of course. The next time you get a chance, you measure the bullpen mound for the height and slope, then measure the game mound as well. Remember, 10” high, and a slope of 1” per foot for 6’, starting at 6” in front of the rubber is what every rule book says about the big field.

Do you see where I’m going here? Why on earth would anyone ask a pitcher to train his hardest to perfect one of the most precise movements in sports, from a changing platform? Remember, pitching is based on how well an action can be executed over and over again. So why not start with a “level” playing field? Pardon the pun.

Yes, there’s nothing much you can do when a visitor, but there’s nothing that says you can’t take a rake and make the bullpen mound as close as possible to being “correct”. The next time you got to a “normal” field, take a look at the bullpen mounds. I “corrected” the mounds at my son’s HS, and not only did every one of our pitchers comment on them, almost every opposing pitcher had something good to say about them as well. All it is, is giving the pitchers the best opportunity possible to perform.

Ya know, for several years I kept track of pitcher’s throws “over”, but I never was able to see much value in knowing that number because it didn’t relate to anything. But when I converted it to our runners, my eyebrows went right up. I don’t have to tell you that the boy at the top is definitely our “stud”. But some of the other kids caught my attention. I’m gonna try to redo the numbers for the last 4 years to see what it’ll show, and I’m definitely looking forward to next season to see what transpires.

SK,

Very nice post and thank you for the compliment. I am somewhat of an analytical type but don’t have the patience for what you do but have great respect for the patience and dedication it takes. I’m sure that looking back there are a lot of stories and memories in those numbers that only you know.

I have to confess that I considered that asking you about your conclusions might be a loaded question. You know too much about all the other influences to the numbers on the page to give anything but the answer you did.

I understand about the mound issues. My 14yo son works out at the local high school field fairly frequently. The game mound is 11” high (per the confused guy who re-built it). The thing looks like Mt. Fuji. The bullpen mounds can’t be more than 8”- it looks like I’ll be rebuilding the bullpen if not the game mound in the next year.

I like your interest about base runners and disruptions and I think will turn into a good stat. Some players are more disruptive than others but to me for potentially different reasons. You’d expect the fast kids to be disruptive but that’s not always the case. Here’s my anecdotal story.

Example: the usual #2 hitter on my son’s travel team has average or even below average speed. He hits there because he’s the best situational hitter on the team. However because he gets a good lead as well as a good secondary he can be very disruptive on the bases. He easily draws the most throws, is way more likely to advance by passed ball, poor pickoff, or throw down from the catcher (and often does) than he is to ever steal a base. He’s not going anywhere but the other team never seems to figure that out. I think the other team assumes he’s fast because he hits in the two hole and at least acts fast once he gets on.

For the life of me I can’t get the fast kids to take better leads. They rarely get thrown out so why should they? Sheesh

[quote=“JP”]SK,

Very nice post and thank you for the compliment. I am somewhat of an analytical type but don’t have the patience for what you do but have great respect for the patience and dedication it takes. I’m sure that looking back there are a lot of stories and memories in those numbers that only you know. [/quote]

LOL! You got that right! One thing I started doing when my boy was in LL Inc, was write a little summary after each game. Nothing fancy, but rather something that would give the kids a pat on the back for good things they did. Through the years, as the baseball got more sophisticated, so did the game summary, and its become something of a “staple”. I actually love doing it because it gives me the chance to with the game all over again, even if its only in my mind, and in doing that, I get the chance to tell many of those stories.

Take a look at page 2. left column where it starts off, “The leadoff hitter in the 4th”. You wouldn’t believe how exciting it was to write that! It was 100 times better than if I’d have had it on tape because I had to see it in my mind.

http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/playoffs.pdf

Not a problem. One nice thing about what I do and how I do it, is that I don’t have to explain anything. The numbers do that all by themselves, and anyone who knows me, knows there is absolutely no axe grinding going on. Sure makes things more simple. :wink:

If you ever get curious, I can tell you how to set a mound with a shovel, a rake, about $15 worth of equipment you likely have in the garage, and get it really close to what you could do with a laser level, and it shouldn’t take more than a half hour to an hour depending on the amount of help and materials you have.

[quote]I like your interest about base runners and disruptions and I think will turn into a good stat. Some players are more disruptive than others but to me for potentially different reasons. You’d expect the fast kids to be disruptive but that’s not always the case. Here’s my anecdotal story.

Example: the usual #2 hitter on my son’s travel team has average or even below average speed. He hits there because he’s the best situational hitter on the team. However because he gets a good lead as well as a good secondary he can be very disruptive on the bases. He easily draws the most throws, is way more likely to advance by passed ball, poor pickoff, or throw down from the catcher (and often does) than he is to ever steal a base. He’s not going anywhere but the other team never seems to figure that out. I think the other team assumes he’s fast because he hits in the two hole and at least acts fast once he gets on.

For the life of me I can’t get the fast kids to take better leads. They rarely get thrown out so why should they? Sheesh[/quote]

Here’s something I began messing with this past summer, I’d done some other things along that line, but I started refining it a bit. Then as you can see, I eventually got it to the point where I could break it down by players. See if you pick up on anything on page 1. :wink:

http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/fscatter.pdf

You’re killing me JP! I can’t even begin to tell you about my current quest to try to incorporate foot speed into some of the hitting metrics. I think you’re prolly getting the idea that while I’m definitely not a Saber guy, I am a numbers wonk and truly enjoy toying with them. :wink:

Come on, JP, quit provoking Scorekeeper or he’ll never quit typing. :mrgreen:

J/K! Good discussion guys.

What a neat thing for the kids to have. I like your style- soft pedal the mistakes as ones of effort and play up the successes.:clapping:
Those should mean something to the boys when they’re out of baseball.

I’ve looked at your scatter chart. I don’t recall seeing one gridded as yours is. I like the color coded symbols and breakdown. This is a much cleaner and clearer picture than the line method. I will assume your grid means something. Hitting is not my strong point but if I had to guess, assuming he’s right handed (I don’t see a designator) I would say this hitter drags the bat, spins, opens up early or has some other issue that results in soft flies to right and weak grounders to short. I sort of ruled out left handed and fast because I don’t see any bunts.

On a side note I bet you don’t use that ground ball home run symbol much. I haven’t seen on of those since about 10U. :slight_smile:

Roger I’m just buttering him up for my next question :wink:

Scorekeeper
In your myriad of data for high-schoolers do you have a way to calculate BA for balls put into play on 0-0 counts? I’m working on a little project with my players- or in reality mostly the parents :shock:

[quote=“JP”]Roger I’m just buttering him up for my next question :wink:

Scorekeeper
In your myriad of data for high-schoolers do you have a way to calculate BA for balls put into play on 0-0 counts? I’m working on a little project with my players- or in reality mostly the parents :shock:[/quote]

Well JP, let me answer this way. I’ll see what I can do, but its gonna have to wait ‘til tomorrow. I’ve spent the day with the better half, trying to make sure the daughter doesn’t get herself into something we’ll all be sorry for. At almost 21, just finishing up training to become a Med Asst, and wanting to move 100 miles from home, we’re trying to stop her from making the same kinds of mistakes we did. :wink:

I’m pretty sure I can get close to what you want, but I’m interested in what exactly it is that your trying to prove/disprove.

Take a peek tomorrow. :wink:

Scorekeeper,

Family first. I just thought it might be something you have used in the past. If it’s a lot of work I can keep searching because there is data on the web.

I have some data that says that high schoolers hit about .182 on 0-0 counts, .189 on 0-1 counts. I’m not sure how credible it is so I’m always looking for confirmation. There’s plenty of data on MLB players but that doesn’t much pertain to 14-15 yo players.

I’ve done several things of that nature in the past, and still do. The reason I asked the question I did, is that very often the reason I generate a metric, is to prove or disprove something, and it helps to know exactly what that is.

I’d sure be interested in knowing where that data you have came from. You’re 100% correct about not even attempting to apply MLB data to HS players! The 2 venues are worlds apart in every way shape and form, other than the name of the game.

Let me start this way. Page 1 is a standard ol’ run-of-the-mill report based on “normally” calculated” BA’s. I’m including it because its something that’s already done and takes no work at all. But, it does include K’s, which by definition don’t match your criteria of calculating BA based only on BIP.

What I had to do was remove balls not in play from consideration, and of course since my metric calculated OBP, BBs and HBPs also have to be removed.

http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/4jp1.pdf

There is something important that we have to get straight. I’m going by the standard definition of a BIP being one that produces the end of an “official” at bat. IOW, a sac bunt or fly doesn’t count, but a foul fly that is caught does. K’s don’t count, and neither do BBs, or HBPs since the ball isn’t hit.

With all that understood, I’m not quite sure why you mentioned the BABIP for balls on 0-0 counts, since a batter can’t K or walk on an 0-0 count. Well, that’s not quite true under NFHS rules for walks, but since they aren’t an official at bat, they wouldn’t affect the numbers anyway.

I’m getting the sense that there’s some kind of “discussion going on about whether its good to hit early in the count or wait to see as many pitches as possible.

Anyhoo, take a look and let me know if I got what it is you’re looking for. Remember, this is a pretty small sample, and not a particularly wide ranging one in the sense that its basically out team and the teams it plays. We’re in the largest school classification in NorCal, and we generally play a pretty decent schedule of teams.

Feelin’ bad for hijacking the thread but another post.

Thanks for your patience. I’m really not trying to reinvent the wheel or get into an endless discussion on the influence of count. I just want to know a little more about 0-0 at lower levels.

My reasons for BIP is that a foul or miss is not an out and makes the count 0-1 and a different BA. I’d exclude HBP, other weird stuff and sac bunts but not flies. I don’t think the typical HS hitter can produce a sac fly on demand.

Here’s my specific story. At the beginning of the season we gave our kids the green light to swing at first pitches as long as it was a textbook “perfect” fastball. Even with specific instructions we ended up with a lot of first-pitch bad ball swinging, even by our better hitters. Even if the pitch was perfect by our standards many still grounded out, popped up, etc. This resulted in the team losing games to lesser teams because we kept getting ourselves out.

As a result we implemented a “must take” rule on the first pitch, at least the first time a hitter saw a pitcher. Almost immediately we began winning- BA’s went up, we got more walks, pitchers exited earlier, etc.

Inevitably though some are going to take that “perfect pitch”. No matter how many times the hitter popped up or hit a weak dribbler in the past that one pitch was going to be the one he hammered but coach made him take. When that pitch turns out to be the best one he sees in that AB, which also happens, then the grumbling tends to start, sometimes by parents too. I was hoping to have more than one reference to lean on.

Here’s the reference I have to HS hitters.

Here’s one to 2007 MLB- totally different picture- and what do kids see and remember on TV- first pitch fastball HR’s.

http://blog.baseballfactory.com/2008/04/work-count-take-strike.html

Again this is not worth reinventing the wheel but I would at least like your opinion on the numbers. You’ve seen a lot of HS ball.

I almost always see pitchers struggle more with the stretch come game time than the windup, so I would recommend throwing more from the stretch. The only time I really see the windup hurting a pitchers mechanics is when they have too much movement and their body is flailing all over the place. I normally do about 75% of my pitches from the stretch, working on my various leg kicks on each pitch. As for a more in depth, in game use of the stretch and windup. I feel a lot of younger pitchers aren’t 100% sure when and why they should be going to the stretch in not so obvious situations.

Well, while what you’re talking about isn’t precisely talking about pitching from the windup or the stretch, if we added just one thing to it, it certainly could be. All you asked about was the raw number of BABIP for 0-0 counts and I gave you both BA and BABIP broken down by umpire’s counts. Have you ever considered looking at the numbers from the standpoint of with and without runners on by umpire’s counts? :wink:

Doesn’t really matter why you want to know because it won’t affect the numbers. However, it matters from the standpoint of what the numbers are really saying.

I agree that a sac fly is pretty much a useless statistic, except that those wunnerful guys who are in charge of the rules, stuck it in the rule book and made it something that needed to be dealt with. To start with, there really aren’t all that many sac flies. In 3,872 PAs, out players have hit 57 sac flies. That’s just about 1.5% of all PAs. To be honest, it would be easy enough to yank them out of the totals, but I’ve never felt they were such a significant number they should be worried about, and they really aren’t an OAB.

[quote]Here’s my specific story. At the beginning of the season we gave our kids the green light to swing at first pitches as long as it was a textbook “perfect” fastball. Even with specific instructions we ended up with a lot of first-pitch bad ball swinging, even by our better hitters. Even if the pitch was perfect by our standards many still grounded out, popped up, etc. This resulted in the team losing games to lesser teams because we kept getting ourselves out.

As a result we implemented a “must take” rule on the first pitch, at least the first time a hitter saw a pitcher. Almost immediately we began winning- BA’s went up, we got more walks, pitchers exited earlier, etc.

Inevitably though some are going to take that “perfect pitch”. No matter how many times the hitter popped up or hit a weak dribbler in the past that one pitch was going to be the one he hammered but coach made him take. When that pitch turns out to be the best one he sees in that AB, which also happens, then the grumbling tends to start, sometimes by parents too. I was hoping to have more than one reference to lean on. [/quote]

AHA! I knew there was a hidden motive! :wink:

Bear with me here, and mebbe we can put another baseball dogma issue to rest. I don’t recollect that you’ve come right out and said what level you’re talking about other than 14-15YOs, and from that I’m taking it to mean you’re talking about either the Fr or JV level. Pleas let me know which one it is. While I deeply believe all kids playing on their school’s HS team should be considered HS players, the differences between the levels is usually pretty wide.

I’m gonna give someone a little advertising here because he’s a coach of a HS team, and he and I have kicked at least a part of this “issue” around in depth.

http://www.goodfieldbaseball.com/forums/showthread.php?s=cdf89decfba0759a674288a04940575f&t=68

Skim through the thread, and eventually you’ll get to where Eric is talking about the chart he keeps for his team. I don’t particularly believe it’s the way I would do it, or that I’d agree its even something I’d do, but he believes it helps his players, so far be it from me to say it isn’t. It might well be something you want to do in some form, and if it is, don’t hesitate to communicate with him. They have a wonderful program at that school, and you could learn a lot from them. :wink:

Now that brings me to something else you said. This resulted in the team losing games to lesser teams because we kept getting ourselves out.

I’m not saying what you said isn’t true, but remember who you’re dealing with here. I’m just a bit nuts to begin with, but when someone makes a statement like that, my head starts spinning around and split pea soup spews forth from my mouth. LOL!

1st of all, I’ve tried like the devil to “rate” opponents so that I could factor that into my numbers. So far, the best I’ve been able to do, is to look at an opponent’s W/L record and gone from there. If you go to http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/cbatting.pdf
the very 1st thing you see is how our team has done against our opponents in terms of their records at the time we played them. Now if you go to page 11, you’ll see my sorry attempt to factor in how “good” the opponents were. I also do the same thing for our pitchers, but in truth, it’s a pretty shaky way to try to incorporate whether or not a an opponent is good or bad.

The main problem with it is, while the opposing team definitely has some effect on both the offense and defense, the opposing pitcher is far more of a factor than the opposing team’s record. But to be totally honest, for me to try to quantify all of the pitchers our guys face in a season, I’d be spending literally all my time trying to something impossible to do. The reason is, although most teams we play use MaxPreps, not all do, and not all who do put in every different stat that might be needed to make a judgment. :frowning: So, sticking with WPct seems as good a way as any.

But that issue aside, let’s go on to how likely it is to equate Ws&L’s to swinging at the 1st pitch. If you go to http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/ccounts.pdf you’ll see a few different metrics I’ve done over the years to try to see what factor was the most predictive of winning and losing.

The 1st is on page 30, and to tell the truth, is the one I feel is most valid. The next one is on page 34, and a subset of the 1st one is on page 38. The next is on page 41, and another is on page 49. The last one is on page 55. Now I could do a variation of one of those to try to find out how “valid” your claim is by seeing which team is the most “patient”, but to be honest, I think it’s a stretch. I might do it anyhoo just for kicks though. We’ll see. :wink:

But the larger issue is, I have absolutely no idea of how you made your judgments. How do you rate teams as being greater or lesser than yours? Also, I don’t have any idea how you related the team’s BA’s and winning to whether or not the swung at the 1st pitch or not. For me, I need some kind of cause and effect.

Please remember that I’m not at all saying you’re wrong here. Its that I’ve never tried to look at things from that perspective, but more-so, its that over the years, if I’ve never proven anything else, I’ve proven that there are some players who do extremely well hackin’ at that 1st pitch or even just early in the at bat, and some who don’t. I can say this much. The very best hitters I’ve ever scored for, have not waited around to swing. I have my own ideas why that is, but for the time being its really immaterial.

I tried like the Devil to get to Coach Monsour to communicate with him, but didn’t have much luck. My guess is, he wasn’t speaking with real data behind him, but rather was just opining what he supposed was factual. He may well be an authority, but I couldn’t find anything about him to help me contact him.

After I read the article you referenced, I’m really not encouraged that this fellow knows much about what he’s talking about. Statements like At the high school level, less than 50% of pitchers throw a strike on the first pitch really make me wonder about this fellows background in either math or baseball statistics.

I can tell you that every single HS pitcher who throws to more than say 10 batters will have thrown a 1st pitch strike. But beyond that, if we assume what he meant was, At the high school level, less than 50% of batters will be thrown a strike on the first pitch, there’s absolutely nothing in any of the data I have for players at any of the 3 levels, that that statement is in any way true across the board. It is true for the very least skilled pitchers, but certainly not true in general.

And while I agree that a problem in most unskilled hitters is swinging at pitches outside of the strike zone, that’s not a problem unique to 1st pitches. I have never come across a coach at any level who doesn’t tell his/her pitchers to get ahead in the count, and that’s most easily done by throwing a 1st pitch strike.

There’s a lot of things to discuss about that topic that can wait for another day. But for right now, I’m very comfortable saying that that guy was blowing smoke. He was saying what he THOUGHT was correct, but I seriously doubt that he had any kind of numbers to back up such a statement.

Let me go back to what I said above about there being some batters who excel at hitting early in the count, and some that don’t.

Go here http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/cbatting.pdf and to page 83. THat will give you just a teeny idea about what goes on. Then go to page 70 and look at the next 6 pages. There’s a heck of a lot more that goes on too, but to me the bottom line is, its more about teaching players to know the strike zone than it is about 1st pitch.

If you would like, I’ll gladly help you track the things you need to be able to prove this stuff for yourself. That way you won’t have to rely on someone you know absolutely nothing about, and can make your decisions based on what’s happening in your program. But the thing I want to make you that comes through, is that no matter what I say, what’s really important is that you’re thinking! Time will eventually tell whether you’re right or wrong, but to do nothing would not be helping anyone! :wink: