i am a junior in hs and in my state we play school ball in the spring. but recently i had a local college coach come scout and radar gun me. this whole spring i have been throwing harder than usual and not hitting my spots as well. what can i look at or change? he gunned my fastball 78-83 and last year at this time is was 72-76. i put in a lot of work to up my velocity but i’m walking too many batters.
Do you know there’s a stat that ranks pitchers as either power pitchers or finesse pitchers. A power pitcher walks or strikes out 28% of all batters faced. A finesse pitcher walks or strikes out less than 24% of all batters faced.
Look at that very closely and you see that it’s a combination of walks and strikeouts, not just strikeouts. The reason is, in general when a pitcher walks a lot of batters, its because he’s throwing hard, and hard throwers typically don’t’ have good control.
That’s what might have happened to you. In order to get that additional velocity, you may have changed things such that you no longer have the timing necessary to be able to control the ball as well as you once did. Typically. pitchers will get used to any new things they’ve done to their pitching motion and gain control as time goes by.
Ed Lopat was a finesse pitcher par excellence. He wasn’t much of one for strikeouts—but he also gave up fewer walks than just about anyone else in his day. In fact, his control was so on-target, so accurate, that sportswriters would say that he was wild if he walked more than two in a game (and a lot of the time he wouldn’t walk anybody). He didn’t have a fast ball to speak of, but he threw everything else—and he knew what to do with that extensive arsenal.
He had a philosophy of pitching which I will share with you. Nowadays they call it “pitching to contact”; what he said was “Get the ball over the plate and make them hit it. Make them go after YOUR pitch, what you want them to hit.” My guess is that you are really a finesse pitcher—have you noticed that when you don’t throw so hard you have better control and command of your stuff, and you get those outs? You should stick with that. And here’s something else Lopat told me: Move the ball around—high, low, inside, outside—and most important, change speeds. Even if you don’t have a fast ball you can do this—it all has to do with your grip and how you hold the ball in your hand. Be sure you throw everything with the same arm motion and the same arm speed, regardless of what the pitch is.
You figure out what the batter is looking for—and you don’t give it to him. And that’s how you get him out. 8)