The Best Pitch Ever


#1

It makes me sick to my stomach when I watch these little leaguers pitching in the world series and throwing 75% curve balls. No wonder so many kids today are having arm problems. The truth is that if you can learn a good change-up then you can actually have more success with it as a pitcher than your curveball, especially at the youth level. A change-up is one of the hardest pitches to hit at any level and it also doesn’t have to spin like a curveball. It looks just like a fastball if you can maintain your arm speed and you will make the hitter swing out of his shoes. It can be very tough to learn and get the feel for the change-up but by throwing it in warm ups and in your bull-pen sessions you will eventually get the feel for it.

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#2

I agree but I’ve been told if the curveball is thrown correctly it does not put any more stress on the arm than a fastball.


#3

The curveball doesn’t put any more strain on the arm than a fastball when a pitchers arm reaches full maturity which is usually between fifteen to seventeen… But between 8-13 not only are there arms not fully developed but half of the time they don’t throw it right putting additional strain on their arms. While some pitchers may develop younger than others, the risks of throwing to many curveballs at a young age can be devastating to a pitcher if not shown the proper ways. My suggestion: Stick with the change-up until the arm can handle the curveball


#4

Actually tyler, it doesn’t make any difference how mature the pitcher is if they don’t throw it correctly. And therein lies the problem. Although its widely accepted now that a curve thrown correctly isn’t any more likely to cause injury than any other pitch, the chances of a relatively inexperienced youngster throwing any pitch with the best mechanics possible isn’t something I’d bet my son’s arm on.


#5

I definitely agree with that


#6

Regardless of repertoire, the best pitch in baseball is strike one. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a fireballer who can come in there with a 95-or-better-miles an-hour heater or a great changeup or a devastating breaking pitch of one kind or another—if you can get that first pitch in there for strike one, you’re ahead of the game. This applies at all levels of the game. :slight_smile:


#7

Dead on again, Zita. Scorekeeper can give you the stats but there is no doubt about it…first pitch strikes are critical to success (especially at the lower levels of the game). It changes batting averages, keeps walks down, keeps your fielders in the game, etc.


#8

I like strike 3 too haha


#9

Thanx for the plug gt! Actually, I’ve looked at FPS’s in many different ways over the years, and I have to say that as trends go, pitchers who have higher FPS percentages, definitely enjoy greater success. Now there could be some argument about what “success” means, but in general I think its safe to say it’s the team’s defense giving the team’s offense a better opportunity to score more runs than the opposition. :wink:

But, I do have to be honest and tell about another observation I’ve made that seems strange to me, especially considering my statement above. Take a look at
http://www.infosports.com/scorekeeper/images/comp.pdf

There’s 2 reports there. The 1st 3 pages reflect the games based on FPS% and the last 3 on straight S%. You’ll notice that the winning percentage is better for S% than FPS%. IOW, the team with the best S% won more games than the team with the best FPS%.

For the life of me I can’t explain why, but then again, there’s a whole lot about this game I can’t explain. :wink: What I can say for sure though, is throwing strikes is far far superior to throwing balls. What I like about looking at things this way, is there’s fewer things to glom up the thinking. FI, there’s nothing in there about which team was “better”, which pitchers threw with the most velocity, or anything else. Its just the pure objective numbers.


#10

Succes depends on the way you can perform a certain pitch… for some that will be the fastball, others a slider or a change-up. Use what’s best for you :wink:


#11

a great off-speed pitch without an adequate fastball is not very effective playing competitively after about 13u. a good curveball can be your pitch. blylevin who just made the hall was a curveball master.

you do not absolutely need a change to be effective. if you can get them out, that is all that matters. what % of professional pitches are off-speed, i think it is between 40 and 50% but not sure.

curveball is a great pitch if you can get people out with it. no harder than anyuthing else if thrown properly, just does not develop arm strength.


#12

Well, dusty, it’s all well and good if one has an adequate fast ball. But if one doesn’t have a fast ball to speak of? Such was my situation. Early on I recognized that I would never be a rip-roarin’ fireballer like Feller, Raschi, Gibson, Verlander or Sabathia (to name five), so I went in the other direction and became a finesse pitcher—a snake-jazzer, if you will. And I became a very good one, starting with a pretty good little curve ball that came attached to my natural sidearm delivery, adding a knuckle-curve and a palm ball. And later on I learned the slider, which became my strikeout pitch, and I added a lot of other breaking stuff to my arsenal—not to mention the crossfire, which was absolutely lethal to opposing batters. I didn’t have a fast ball to speak of—but as it turned out, I didn’t need it, because in addition to all the stuff I had there was the control and command which I worked on, refined and put to excellent use.
And I had a wise and wonderful pitching coach—an active major-league pitcher, who showed me how to make the most of what I had and could do. I pitched for more than twenty years, finally having to stop when my work schedule caught up with me and I lost my free weekends—but it was great fun, making opposing batters look very silly with the stuff I had. :slight_smile: 8)


#13

I agree zita. its insane. no pitcher that young should be throwing more breaking balls than fastballs and change ups. what realy makes me sick is when the kids got a 70 mph fastball yet he throws a breaking ball. if the kid cant hit ur fastball. why give him something he might be waiting for


#14

Right! When my pitching coach was talking to me about strategic pitching, one of the first things he said was “Figure out what the batter is looking for—and don’t give it to him.” Most batters, at whatever age and whatever level, are looking for a fast ball, preferably right down the pipe or middle in, and to give them what they’re looking for is suicide, pure and simple. This is not the early days of the game when a pitcher had to throw underhand all the time AND tell the batter what he was going to throw—or have some people forgotten that? Gee whiz, the whole point is to get the batter out, not help him pad his batting average! So if you don’t have a fast ball—if your best pitch is an offspeed or a breaking pitch—take advantage of it.
Oh, I know, there are some who might take me to task for such statements, but they seem to have forgotten that I speak from the major league point of view. I pitched at that level, and that was how I was taught—and I find it difficult to think like a 10- or 11-year old, because I was eleven when I discovered that I had a natural sidearm delivery and a pretty good little curve ball that came attached to it, and I built around that. And my pitching coach was an active major leaguer, and he saw that I was thinking along those lines and so that was what we did. :slight_smile:


#15

Actually, as some people have already stated on here, it has been proven that throwing a curveball correctly puts no more stress on the arm than throwing a fastball (correctly, of course, again).
A pitcher (in order to succeed) needs at least three good (or great, whatever you want to say) pitches: a fastball, a change-up, and a breaking ball. Why? Fastball- a pitch to overpower batters, or set up off-speed pitches. Change-up= to throw off a hitter’s timing. Breaking ball- movement and slower speed makes it hard to hit.
These three types of pitches depend on each other.
A pitcher can’t succeed with just a 100+ fastball, because hitters will catch-up to it eventually (Aroldis Chapman).
Speed, location, movement. The three aspects of a pitch.
A pitcher needs to use them to his/her advantage.
And you are right about a change-up, it takes a while to learn to throw it correctly (and usefully).


#16

[quote=“CardsWin”]
A pitcher (in order to succeed) needs at least three good (or great, whatever you want to say) pitches: a fastball, a change-up, and a breaking ball. Why? Fastball- a pitch to overpower batters, or set up off-speed pitches. Change-up= to throw off a hitter’s timing. Breaking ball- movement and slower speed makes it hard to hit.
These three types of pitches depend on each other.
A pitcher can’t succeed with just a 100+ fastball, because hitters will catch-up to it eventually (Aroldis Chapman).
Speed, location, movement. The three aspects of a pitch.
A pitcher needs to use them to his/her advantage.
And you are right about a change-up, it takes a while to learn to throw it correctly (and usefully).[/quote]

Lincecum won the final game of the World Series using two pitches: his two-seam fastball and the slider. Speed, location and movement.


#17

if you’re playing sandlot baseball, if you throw strikes you can be effective. if you’re going to play beyond high school and sandlot, if your fastball isn’t 82-84 plus, i o not think you can survive unless you are a knuckleballer and they throw the knuckleball 90% of the time.

if all you throw is off speed, good hitters get on top of the plate because you can’t jam them, an look off-speed. if you throw a fastball they can adjust.

koufax threw a fastball/curveball only and he did pretty good.

get people out, you’re a pitcher, can’t get people ou, you’re a thrower. a thrower’s days are numbered.


#18

Undiscovered: What you were told is flat out wrong re: any breaking ball.

Muscle development has every thing to do with how certain pitches would affect a young arm. Perhaps more importantly then that; coordination is also a big factor and furthermore the mechanical approaches that are needed in order to not cause undue stress on any pitcher at any age by throwing a breaking pitch incorrectly can be damaging.

Location, changing speeds and not pitching from behind are the most important factors to being a successful pitcher at any level.

Lastly a qaulified coach at any level above high school can teach a kid a breaking ball in about ten minutes and have him throwing it in a game by the end of the week.

My point is when I an NCAA Division II pitching coach the first thing we did with most of our pitchers was get rid of the high school breaking ball especially for our right handers because at that level it would no longer work…righty to righty the ball was breaking right towards the bat head unless the RHP had a true 12/6 but for RHP this is rare.

What I am getting at is there are not many college coaches or professional ones for that matter who would be un happy with a kid who has a potential but no breaking ball because they will get to teach the pitcher to throw it correctly instead of fixing something that is wrong and will take far more time.

At the professional ranks if a scout is looking at a projectable kid with absolutely no breaking ball what so ever he is not going to care at all if he has other desirable factors in terms of projectability. Matter of fact this particular kid may be a better investment over the long haul.

How much better is it for all youth pitchers to master command of the fast ball first, then varying speeds of the fast ball, followed by the change up? My answer to the hypothetical would be, “WAY BETTER!” due to a plethora of reasons.


#19

[quote=“CoachConley30”]Undiscovered: What you were told is flat out wrong re: any breaking ball.

Muscle development has every thing to do with how certain pitches would affect a young arm. Perhaps more importantly then that; coordination is also a big factor and furthermore the mechanical approaches that are needed in order to not cause undue stress on any pitcher at any age by throwing a breaking pitch incorrectly can be damaging.[/quote]

My son (11U) doesn’t like the feel of the change up, so I took it out of his bullpen routine.

Thank you for saying it very succinctly.

Sounds good.


#20

Jamie Moyer (out this year because of surgery- wants to come back in 2012) only throws in the low to mid 80s.
He is like 47 or 48 years old.
And he threw a (no-hitter?) last year.