Team Goal: Pitchers controlling the running game - but how?

JD, for the second time … your timing is right on.

on another topice -Reduce walks and HBP - but how?, I hope my suggestions for your son was helpful. By the way … you’re WELCOME.

Coach B.

Scorekeeper: I don’t want you bothering me anymore with PM’s like this one:

laflippin wrote:
In my opinion, Coach B is one of the people you could’ve learned a lot about baseball from if that had been your intent when you arrived at LTP.

And that’s exactly the kind of snotty post I’d expect from you. The implication is that I haven’t learned anything from him, or anyone else for that matter, and that I came to this forum only to somehow boost myself personally.

However, I think you came here to teach, preach, and screech–mostly about your views formed over a long period of dedication to keeping and interpreting stats from HS games.

Actually, I came here because I have little interest in hitting. But so what if I’ve done a lot or stat interpretation? All that means is, I have a factual basis for my opinions. What do you have?

Your pedagogical approach is double-edged, though…on one level it may be that your effort to be thorough, painstaking, and iterative in the discussion of every minute detail or theoretical possibility that interests you in baseball is commendable. On the other hand, guys like Coach B offer actual (and vast) experience of the game on the field that transcends your SABR-like approach to the game.

You haven’t got a clue what my approach to the game is. All I do is look at numbers, and let them speak for themselves.

I think more players and coaches might enjoy your contributions if they weren’t generally so much about, “Look at me, look at me, and see how smart and cool it is that I can banter endlessly about baseball stats”. Maybe if they were more about briefly summarizing what your stats tell you about the game, and then running your knowledge up the flagpole to see who salutes it?

And that’s exactly why you always have been a shallow person, and will continue to be, when it comes to baseball. You’re one of those modern people who believe a 140 byte Twitter response can fully transfer all the information necessary for the reader to fully comprehend what’s being discussed. All that does is force the reader to fill in whatever holes in that knowledge there is, and chances are, the filled in information will be wrong.

I could be wrong, but I think the main mission of LTP is to help pitchers to find practical, useful pathways for becoming better at what they like to do. Do you agree or disagree with that?

I don’t really know what the main mission of LTP is because I didn’t start it. Why don’t you ask Steven if you want to know.

However, its not at all unexpected, but its nice to finally know exactly that you think I don’t do anything to help pitchers find practical, useful pathways for becoming better at what they like to do. Evidently like Baker, you think the world of baseball should exist only in hyperbole and dogma.

Notice, I’ve made this a private matter because unlike some of you fine folks, I don’t see any reason at all to drag personal crap into the public light.

I stand behind my public comments (above).

Great post and replies; now I did not read everyone thoroughly but in case someone missed on this particular point I would like to add the following;

Pitcher’s should vary their hold times as it relates to holding runners.

A good idea of this variation is what I call “1-3-5.” Meaning a pitcher has the following choices…

Hold the ball for the count of one thousand 1, one thousand 3 or one thousand 5. Holding for five seconds will seem like forever especially to a young pitcher but varying the hold times this way makes it tough on the runners to get into a rhthym…now this approach is random in nature. The main thing one does not want to do is always start their deliver at say one thousand two after coming set.

Another way to disrupt runner rthyms is to hold, hold hold hold periodically in order to give yourself, your dugout or your infielders; in particular the first baseman a feel for if the runer is giving any thing away in terms of whether or not he is going to run. Also in certain bunt situations this approach may prove beneficial in getting the hitter to show hands a bit in that there may be a bunt play on.

In my mind another key factor to holding runners especially at youth levels is for the pitcher to be able to see the runner and not just out of the corner of their eye…when a pitcher is looking at a runner they are going to be less comfortable then when the pitcher cannot see them.

A pitcher has several jobs but two of the most important ones are disrupting hitter as welll as runner rythms.


What a fine example to set for all the young people who use this forum. I tried to keep private disputes private because I seriously doubt most people come here to read this kind of ridiculous thing. But obviously I gave credit to someone for having integrity, who lacks any sense of the meaning of the word.

Just remember that I did my best to keep it private.

I am just curious if there are stats available for the topic of holding runners that can help young players improve?


re: "…curious if there are stats available for the topic of holding runners that can help young players improve? "

----------At least there is evidence of a reasonable pathway toward improvement of skills for holding runners close.

Personally, I think this is one area of skill development that may not be served very easily or effectively by models based on statistical analysis.

Instead, consider a deductive approach: MLB-level pitchers are generally better at what they do than pitchers at lower levels of baseball, particularly young and inexperienced pitchers, so study what the best in the game do for a living.

For example, here is Tom House’s basic advice to young RHPs:

  1. Work on developing your hold 'em close/pick-off moves on your own time, not just team practices where there is little time for honing this skill.

  2. Do not look over at the runner, watch his progress off the bag out of your peripheral vision while looking at HP. When the runner moves to a position just outside the range of your peripheral vision he has a big lead and it’s time to throw over. Use your best move right out of the chute…if it’s any good, it should put enough doubt in the runner’s mind to hold him close. If it’s not any good, go back to #1 (above).

  3. Again, for RHPs: Push off from the set position with the front foot, make a spin move toward 1B, and make your snap throw to the bag with a short arm-path.

  4. Vary timing and sequence of pitches vs picks, as discussed widely in this thread.

  5. For LHPs: There is no good excuse for an LHP who is unable to hold most runners close to 1B. The reason would usually be that they did not follow advice #1, above, but that’s not an excuse. Obviously the 1B pick-off mechanics for LHPs are very different from those of RHPs.

If anyone is interested, I’ll post some links to slo-mo video of some very nice MLB-level pick-off moves in this thread.

RHP Matt Cain:

RHP Matt Palmer:

RHP Joe Martinez:

LHP Madison Bumgarner:

LHP Cole Hamels (a long-time Tom House student):

Yep, lefties cheat. :hide:

[quote=“laflippin”]Scorekeeper: I don’t want you bothering me anymore with PM’s like this one:
I stand behind my public comments (above).[/quote]

laflippin-You know, your argument (call it whatever you want)
is really a personal matter between you and Scorekeeper.
Could you please keep it that way?

And they are blessed.
It’s naturally easier for a lefty (as opposed to a right-handed pitcher) to have a good pick off move to first base.

[quote=“laflippin”]RHP Matt Cain:

RHP Matt Palmer:

RHP Joe Martinez:

LHP Madison Bumgarner:

LHP Cole Hamels (a long-time Tom House student):

Thanks for posting the links.
It’s also nice to have videos in slow motion,
makes it easier to study the pick-off moves of the pitchers.
To me, pick-offs (and not necessarily actually picking the runner off- what I talking about it the ability to keep the runner close, occasionally actually catching the runner) for a right-handed pitcher seem to be something that isn’t really worked on by many coaches these days.
Maybe it has something to do with pitchers thinking they’ll get called on balks.

There are a lot of metrics that can give an indication, but none I know of that show a direct cause and effect relationship. However, I’m sure if someone had the interest, the time, the access to data, and the ability to mine that data, a more refined metric could be created.

FI, one has to know what the results of not doing a good job holding runners produces. In the end I suppose its runs. So if I know how many runs scored, I’d then have to find some way to measure those runs against the number of runs someone in a similar situation allowed, then try to find the reasons for the differences. IOW, it’s a very complicated thing to try to come up with. Not impossible, but perhaps so complicated it isn’t worth the time to come up with it.

The problem is, like so many other things in baseball, there are a lot of factors determining how runners are held on. For sure the pitcher is one, as is the catcher. But a lot of people forget that the runner is also a huge factor, as is the batter, and for sure the game situation. So all in all, those factors combined with all the others possible, really make it difficult coming up with something reliable to use as an indication.

I have to admit that I’d be pretty much lost trying to generate a metric that indicated the success or failure of holding runners on. I suppose checking to see the SBPct against a pitcher, then trying to put it in terms of runs might be an indication, but its not one I’d count on.

Trying to measure what that xtra foot or two lead really means in terms of numbers, not dogma, would be difficult indeed. I know a runner who gets a walking lead or isn’t held on will have some advantage, but I honestly can’t quantify it. Do you have some ideas along that line?


With all due respect, my comment pertaining to wondering if there were any stats available that correlated with holding runners on base was based in part on the fact that…and again respectfully speaking…to a “baseball guy” there would be no stats of interest pertaining to this subject matter.

I can only speak for myself but I am sure others would concur; that stats are important most definitely but you cannot expect a “baseball guy” to come all the way to your side of the fence on things like “metrics,” “more refined metric searches,” or qauntifying results of things that happen on the field.

Some things just happen on the field because they do and this is something there is absolutely no stat for.

As a word of friendly advice when you are engaging in posts on the site you should perhaps try to more readily understand the view points of players, coaches and player type coaches in discussions. Rather then base a high majority of your opinions and consequently posts on qauntitative things related to statistical approaches.

If you you are unable to do that then in my humble opinion you cannot expect a “baseball guy” who is not totally and utterly consumed in to the statistical nature of things to come your way even in the least bit.

Honestly speaking it is somewhat annoying when you come off as all knowing about baseball things, fundamentals, coaching techniques, philosophies and many others but apparently only because of the plethora of information you have acquired from stats…instead of actually having played the game or coached it at levels and or time frames that warrant respect from people who have.

In closing I am not saying you are a bad guy and most definitely “to each their own.” I am simply saying that you seem to base every thing on stats and there are discussions on here that warrant no statistical reference what so ever.

Respectfully “A Players Coach”

No offense taken. But I fear you are mistaken about my view of what happen on the field. I do not dream up what happens, It happens and that all there is to it. But make no mistake, nothing on a baseball field or anywhere else in the world just happens in a vacuum. There are always reasons why things happen, but finding a relationship to a causality is often more difficult than because “A” took place, “B” followed.

Much smarter and more capable guys than myself have transformed baseball over the last 30-40 years by quantifying events in the game, and personally I think its for the better. Its really no different than using video to break down a swing, or computers to analyze to the nth degree, and getting better all the time, how pitches break, and ball come off of bats and get to their final destination. All of those things are stats, and to deny them, is in my mind, silly.

As I tried to say, given enough data points, even holding runners on could be quantified, but sometimes what you learn isn’t worth the effort. Sometimes, its just much easier to understand that no matter what the reason, common sense dictates that when a runner can get closer to the next base he has a better chance to acquire that base, and also to score. I don’t need stats to know that, and neither should anyone else.

But, it takes a bit more than common sense and “just knowing” something to really understand why it happens. If that wasn’t true, why would anyone care about pop2pop times, 1st movement to the mitt times, or anything else? People want to know as much as they can because it’s a way to control the events. No more, no less. FI, if everything else was basically equal, would you consider a catcher who’s best pop2pop was 3 tenths of a second slower than the other, equal? Of course not. But its just another piece of information, not a guarantee.

I’ve never expected anyone, even a baseball guy, to convert to a total stat head who acts only on the numbers. But then again, I’m not that way at all, so I wouldn’t even know what kind of person it would take to do that.

As I said, although it may seem like it, nothing just happens. There’s always a reason, and depending on one’s ability and willingness to determine what that reason is, it could be found. My opinion of why there’s no common metric for holding runners on, is that its not important enough to worry about. Its something every runner would benefit from, but most runners won’t benefit enough from it to worry about. If they did, a lot more guys would be base stealers.

I appreciate the thought, but I am what I am. A creature addicted to trying to figure out why things happen. FI, in the OP, Steven made a statement that opposing teams had an 86% successful SB rate against his team. He then ASSUMED it was something his pitchers could cause to improve. So, his whole question was based on a particular stat. I tried to make it clear that just grabbing one number out of the clear blue sky, might not give a true picture. I was trying to give him ways to consider other options, but what you seem to be suggesting is, there’s absolutely no need. There’s a problem, and it just happens, and there are certain things that are tried and true that will make things better. S’ok with me, if Steven doesn’t want to look at other options, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t make them known.

I have never tied to come off as “all knowing”, just as recognizing there might be other alternatives, or that many times perception and reality are not the same thing. I don’t push anything on anyone. I state my opinions, and that’s it. If you chose to believe nothing I have to say is worth consideration, that’s ok by me. I’m sorry if that’s true, but there’s nothing I can do about it.

Never once took anything you said as anything other than someone stating their opinion with no animosity at all. The thing is, I know you’re evaluation of me and what I know about the game and where it comes from, is wrong. I did play and was offered a contract, albeit more than 40 years ago. I haven’t coached, but that should never be translated into my being a baseball knowledge “stiff”. I know most of the buzzwords and have heard the dogma for over 50 years.

I simply like to see if I can find reasons for all those things people like yourself believe. I never say you’re wrong, and frankly, as annoying as I might be to you, when people try to say things happen for no reason at all, it annoys me because I find it intellectually dishonest.

Not to worry though. At least you’ve been a gentleman about expressing your thoughts, and I wish you no ill will in the slightest. I honestly wish you knew me as well as you think you do, but that’s not gonna happen.

I think what I’ll do is just leave you folks to your own world where intellectual curiosity gives way to baseball dogma. That’s not meant as a bad thing either. It just means you don’t want to spend the time considering other options. Lots of different seats for all those different butts.

Respectfully, neither a player’s or coach’s advocate, but rather one who advocates baseball knowledge and understanding. :wink:

Adios and Vaya con Dios

[quote=“Steven Ellis”]One of the team goals the high school pitching staff I’m working with is to control the running game better. Last season, the varsity pitchers on my staff gave up 30 stolen bases on 34 attempts. This means opposing teams have a 88% success rate against us. While our catcher is also involved, I believe our pitchers can do much better.

Here’s 3 things we’re going to work on to control the running game - what else would you add? Any drills you like?

  1. Vary our hold times better in the set position.

  2. Implement a quicker, modified slide step to get our times to the plate 1.3 secs or less.

  3. Develop faster footwork and a shorter arm action on picks.

What else do you guys got for me?[/quote]

  1. Make the scheduled pitchers for the day go to first/ second base and look at the cut out, each field is different. Give them a good idea of a regular and big lead.

  2. The catcher may have something/everything to do with all the steals also.

  3. Keep it simple, the guy is on base and you can’t pitch to him any longer. I would rather the runner steal second, than get to third on a bad throw to first and now your pitcher is pissed. Now you have a big inning in the making on your hands.

=LHP Cole Hamels (a long-time Tom House student):

WOW ! That is so SWEET ! :lol:

Stats just simply cannot explain every thing…transversely a “baseball guy” coach, player or former player can’t explain every thing either.

Just as in life, baseball sometimes just cannot be explained sometimes because things frankly just take place with no metrics behind them.

Stats especially cannot explain mechanical approaches, coaching or playing philosophies, fundamentals, and they certainly cannot reinvent the game.

I for one know I too cannot reinvent the game nor do I pretend to. I also try to see everyone’s perspectives but some individual perspectives are far harder to understand as well as follow then others.

In closing when a young player or a coach come on to this site seeking knoweldge re" a practice plan, mechanical approach to things, ideas re: teaching kids or what have you…the last thing they need is some philosophy on the nature of things…they need as clear and precise of an explanation as any of us can give them…the more complicated it gets especially in the written word the more they will absolutely not have one clue.

“Hasta Luego”

“dimes anty”