This topic is not for those pitchers under the age of 15.
What is a Bait Pitch?
A Bait Pitch is not as simple as it may sound or reason out to be, as a first impression. I requires a pitcher who has the keen sense of observation, decent location control, and a complete understanding of the logic to the batting order. Why? Because your wanting the batter to act naturally, upon impulse and tendencies, to swing at a pitch… or at the least, to make very poor contact - thus placing the ball in play for an easy out.
What the Bait Pitch is not - your not sending a pitch to the batter that he’s going to take looking for a strike. That topic is for another post.
A keen sense of observation
- Watch the batter’s face for that anticipation impulse that says he’s gong to swing. Some batters will tense the muscles in the face with anticipation to swing. Some batters ever so slowly will bounce up and down with their torso. Some batters will actually grind their back foot in the box. Some batters will wring their hands on the bat, while turning the nob of the bat forward and backwards. All of this means that the batter’s anticipating sending your pitch into the lights.
Decent location control,
- Went you feel that this guy is gonna swing, and swing hard, you’ll have to locate that pitch in a location that is NOT A STRIKE. Just nibble off the black of the plate that’s just out of reach. Remember – that’s just out of reach. Now this can mean outside down and away, up and away, inside down and in, inside down and up… BUT NEVER IN THE STRIKE ZONE.
A clear understanding of the batting order logic.
- There’s a reason for a batter being in the one (1), two (2() and three (3) spot in the batting order. These guys are the best at making contact, getting on base and advancing the runner. The eye-hand coordination and bat speed is top quality for the club that they’re on. Miss by just mere inches with these guys and you’ll be kicking mound clay and shaking your head a lot. On the other hand, seven (7), eight (8) and nine (9) seems to present their own problems - even though they’re at the bottom of the order. Besides the DH placed here and there, over pitching these guys by getting too fancy is the downfall of many an amateur pitcher - so don’t it. DON’T BAIT PITCH THESE BATTERS. Go after them with the best you got with the intention of down -7,8,9 sit down.
This posting on Bait Pitching is an oversimplification. However, for those of you involved in highly competitive baseball, you should start reasoning your appearances before you take the field and apply that reasoning during your practice sessions. Bait pitching practice can get you out of jam in a hurry. However, I would caution on going to the well too often with this as a routine measure. Use this technique sparingly and be selective on who you use it on and when.