The numbers game


As the father of a pitcher I’m curious from other father’s/coaches, what numbers matter. In today’s technology with “iscore and GameChanger plus many other scoring devices” every strike, ball, even throw overs are kept track of. What numbers matter? I tend to look at OBA(opponent battering average)1st ,WHIP and FPS%. I like to see ground ball and fly out % petty even.
I’m just curious and wanted some opinions from others on what #s they like and why?


Just curious. What age is your son?


My son is 18 ,19 in just a few days! He’s finishing up his travel ball in the next 2 weeks and getting ready to start his college ball!
I probably should have stated youth pitching. I’m curious as to what #s are important? I’ve never looked to hard at ERA as I think talent diversity in teams even in travel ball are huge. Coaches know some games you will need to win with a score of 7-6 and other games will should be over in 5 innings with a mercy rule. I really love this game and just wanted to get some thoughts.


I’ve never coached in the amateur game, nor have I been part of that environment. But from watching from the side, talking to players - 20% high school/summer leagues, 80% college age, the number’s game as you call it is kind of haphazard at best.

I say this from a game plan perspective, and so-so from a scouting perspective.

From a game plan perspective, there’s not much one can do to plan and then depend on that plan enough to make things worthwhile from the get go. Level of play from one club to the next has such dynamic swings to it, the have-n-have-nots, pre-select teams even before the season begins and so forth. Now I’m sure there are exceptions and you’ll probably get a good response here in that direction. But, from where I sat, it’s rare to find a well planned number’s game for putting a team together, reaching into the future about another team for competing against and the like.

As far as scouting is concerned, I go with personal observations, recommendations, and who the player competes against. That last one - who he competes against I would take with a grain of salt, if you will. Also, from a scouting perspective, the numbers that I get and those that others arrive at, are usually like night and day from those numbers arrived at by the amateur experience.

However, consistent performance of a winning club and even a player or two that shine regardless of the others around him are worth noting. In fact, a glance at the sport’s page in your local paper - following a team or two, can be beneficial. Reputations of a man as a slugger, a winning pitcher and so forth I guess can be of help. But again, one must take into account who that individual or individuals played against to arrive at said reputation and so forth.

I’m sure others have a answer that’ll be more definitive for you than mine. Good question.

  1. First pitch strike.
  2. Total balls and strikes (strike %)
  3. walks to Ks ratio
  4. Whip
  5. Era
    I have seen, at least with my kid, 1 leads to 2 being in good shape, which takes care of 3 and 4. Usually if the whip is low, the era will be in good shape as well. My kid has struggled off and on with control issues and walks. We boiled it down to first pitch strikes this summer to good effect. Getting that 0-1 count is huge. It forces the batter to be more aggressive and a little less selective, which, leads to foul balls and 0-2, 1-2 or 2-2 counts.
    So much comes down not so much to the hitter but what the pitcher has that given day. Breaking balls can be temperamental…they shouldn’t be but they are. On a day where his curve ball is working he has developed a pattern of starting FB first time he sees a batter then leading them off with a CB the second time he sees. Being able to go CB, change, CB, change to a 1-2 count, then FB in…all of a sudden that 84 mph fastball might as well be 88 and guys are late. More than one way to pitch. On days where the CB is not cooperating, well, that gets tougher. On days when the command is not good and the CB is not cooperating my boy just has to take some chances and really focus on changing speeds.
    Generally trying to keep the ball down. Ground ball vs fly ball can be a mix of things and is sort of interesting. My sons last two outings he went 5 IP with 0 R, 3 H throwing mostly ground balls, next game was 4 IP, 0 R, 5H with mostly balls in the air. I have noticed when he throws more ground balls he tends to be having a better control day, which for him means more strikes, ball down etc., leads to more Ks also. The first team was better than the second. Both games were played on an artificial turf field and a 300 foot fence (19U summer teams)…so you could be hurt either way. This kind of brings me to my last point. Solid contact.
    I don’t pay a ton of attention to opp. batting average. A little flare can drop in, if on an artificial infield a ground ball can get out of that infield very quickly. Whether the ball is on the ground or a fly ball I am looking to see if the batter is late or not, is the ball smoked or is the contact weak. Generally speaking, with my guy anyway, if there is first ball strike and the ball is down almost always weak contact follows. They have a hard time timing him up. If the control isn’t there (expressed by him missing up) and he is working behind there tends to be more solid contact, more fly balls ect. The pitcher can still be effective but it is harder work.