What do you do when they crowd the plate?

Son is 14; have run up on this a few times in last couple of years. Played today in DH scrimmage with a pretty good team and had real umpires. Team is obviously coached to get as close to plate as they can get away with. Have seen extremes (this one today not so bad) as players wiping away box with feet and toe up to plate. Picking up with a team he’s played with in past and coach has right idea (IMO) to aggressively go inside. The result is 8 batters hit by pitch in two games & being in the end the margin of victory for the other team. My son fared better than our other pitchers; 5 IP 2H 2BB & 8K’s, but 3 hit batters & he normally doesn’t hit them frequently. Gave up 2 runs which ended up a result of hit batters. Was keeping book & was behind plate and saw one where batters body was over plate when hit. I don’t coach & don’t believe in playing dirty but have my opinions. My son has above average velocity & good control. I think the best location to throw when they crowd is at the hands, get out of the way or risk injury. These kids are taught to take it. I know this from a conversation with a former college HC now coaching a travel team in this age group who explained to me his philosophy of getting runners on base & taking away outside part of the plate. I don’t want to see kids hurt, but think their should be some determent from the pitcher. Just looking to see what others think. Thanks

You see this at all levels of the game—including the major leagues. There will always be some batter who will practically stand on home plate in order to reach an outside pitch and who doesn’t care how many times he gets plunked. A lot of major league umpires have ways of dealing with this—such as calling a strike no matter where the pitch is.
I remember one conversation I had with my incredible pitching coach—a Yankee pitcher named Eddie Lopat—and this subject came up. He asked me what I would do about a batter who persistently crowded the plate, and I said I would go inside on him and jam him with my hard slider. He said—and he was only half joking—“Oh, you want to see him lose his balance and fall over on his rear end like an overturned bug, eh?” A few instances of this and the batter would drop that habit P.D.Q. :baseballpitcher:

I think that’s totally fair to crowd the plate.

You can generally throw fastballs down the middle to kids like this and they will jam themselves.

It’s one thing to stand at the edge of the batter’s box; it’s something else to step out of it onto the plate itself—something I’ve seen more than I would like. And since I never had a fast ball to speak of…I had to resort to some hard breaking stuff, which I would throw under the batter’s hands so he could not extend his arms to reach that coveted outside pitch. I kind of like what some of those major league umpires do as a deterrent—call the pitch a strike no matter where it is. :roll: [/quote]

[quote=“Zita Carno”]It’s one thing to stand at the edge of the batter’s box; it’s something else to step out of it onto the plate itself—something I’ve seen more than I would like.

Zita, what you describe is exactly what I am talking about. I have no issues getting close, my son has his toes on the chalk line and that’s not unusual. We’ve only run up on three teams in three years that go way beyond getting close. The chalk line disappears quickly and by design with players kicking and scraping with cleats in between pitches. Have seen players with toe almost on plate, only had one umpire stop and draw batters box in the dirt but they generally allow. Bodies are literally over plate and these kids are taught to turn into pitches. Coach who uses this technique explained to me it’s about base runners; HBP & walks. Coach also makes players run sprints for moving out of the way. Only exception he allows are pitches at head or feet. He teaches kids to turn into taking hits on more fatty parts of body. This came straight from the source. Went to tryout for his team a couple of years ago; my son was chosen but we opted to play for another team. We’d played him on another team, I brought up the subject & he openly discussed. My son has improved pitching in these situations & they are not common. Still gave up 2 runs in 5 inning which isn’t bad but both runs were runners who got on by taking a hit. He seldom hits batters but hit 3 in 5 innings, team hit 8 in 12 innings. Most of the pegs they took were off speed pitches and they definately leaned into the pitches. I may be wrong but can’t help but believe it would be helpful to come extremely inside with a fastball that hurts early on to send a message.

There’s just one thing wrong with that reasoning, and this is something that happens all too often in the major leagues. You plunk a batter in the ribs or some other place where it’s sure to elicit an “ouch”—or something worse—and the next batter blasts one way back into the upper deck for a home run. Or following that HBP, the batter charges the mound, and next thing you know, both benches empty in a hurry and there’s a riot. I will never forget one game between the Yankees and the Orioles in which one Yankee batter was hit—hard—with a fast ball, and before you could say “ouch” the entire Yankees bench was chasing after the Orioles pitcher with nothing less than homicide on their collective mind. That pitcher was lucky to get away with his life. And then Bernie Williams cleared the bases with a tremendous homer. I much prefer the umpires’ strategy of calling the pitch a strike no matter where it is. :x

If the umpire would just enforce the “hit by pitch” rules the way they are written, it would put an end to all these shenanigans.

As a lefty who throws from a sidearm slot and has lots of arm side run, it can be extremely difficult to throw strikes when a lefty hitter crowds the plate. What I did that helped me last year was change my starting positing on the rubber, from all the way to the first base side with just my heel touching the rubber, to a more central position with my toes on the 1st base edge of the rubber. This change seemed to open up the plate more in all situations, if maybe giving me slightly less deception.

I still find it hard to aim inside to a guy who is crowding the plate…something about trying to squeeze a ball into a 4 inch window just doesn’t feel as comfortable. If he’s on the plate, zip one down the middle and he will likely jam himself as the pitch is effectively inside to him.

Amen on that, wish they would. As far as throwing fastball down middle of plate do you just stick with it with no mixture of off speed? Seems like almost all the pegs they take end up being a curve ball they lean into or one that comes in too far inside.

Whatever happened to a sign catchers used to have, a sort of flip of the wrist that meant “Knock him down”? I haven’t seen that one in a year of Sundays.
And why oh why do so many coaches in the lower echelons keep insisting that young pitchers continue to throw a fast ball down the middle on 0-2 or 1-2 counts when they know the batter is looking for that pitch, and then berate the pitcher unmercifully when the batter connects and drives the ball out of the park and across the street and into Aunt Minnie’s kitchen window? Haven’t they ever heard of the changeup—or is it that they don’t want to know anything about it? I for one am glad I always played the game by major league rules.

Most youth coaching isent good. Most youth teams of say 12 players might have 3 or 4 players that can play at a decent level. So, if you cant coach the less than steller players up, you cant trust your defense. If the coach is lucky enough to have a pitcher who can throw strikes and get ahead he wants a strike out (with no idea of how to mix pitches) because even a routine ground ball is probably going to result in an error. I cant tell you how many youth games I have seen where a pitcher was pitching pretty well, went 4 or so innings and gave up 10 runs…1 earned. I think it is this way with most youth teams that dont have good coaching regardless of the sport. Most teams have a couple of kids who, God bless them, are lucky they can execute a run from home to first. When I coached youth football there were a couple of guys that my main concern was trying to keep them safe. No business being on the field at all. I guess my point is Zita, most of the coaching sucks.

I might have a different take on this. While its all fair for the hitter to crowd the plate it’s also totally fair for the pitcher to command the plate.

What happened to throwing on the inner half of the plate? That too is part of the strike zone. The brush back pitch can be successful in these situations. If that doesn’t work, there are going to be some sore ribs. Plunk a few and human nature will take over. The next hitters may be more reluctant to “take” the shot.

So what do you mean by:

If the umpire would just enforce the “hit by pitch” rules the way they are written, it would put an end to all these shenanigans.[/quote]


Presumably she meant, according to MLB OBRs:

"Rule 6.08: The batter becomes a runner and is entitled to first base without liability to be put out (provided he advances to and touches first base) when—

(b) He is touched by a pitched ball which he is not attempting to hit unless (1) The ball is in the strike zone when it touches the batter, or (2) The batter makes no attempt to avoid being touched by the ball."

If the umpire judges that a batter got hit because he was actually leaning into the strike zone, the pitch can be called a strike. If the pitch is out of the zone, but the umpire judges that the hitter made no attempt to avoid the baseball, he can call the pitch a ball.

CAN, but they rarely do. I see players move closer to the baseball (all the time) and the umpires routinely give them first base.

If the umpires aren’t going to enforce the rules, I guess it’s up to the pitcher.

If the hitter is going to first anyway, at least leave him with a reminder of how he got there.

[quote=“Turn 22”]If the umpires aren’t going to enforce the rules, I guess it’s up to the pitcher.

If the hitter is going to first anyway, at least leave him with a reminder of how he got there.[/quote]

That’s what I’m thinking. Get it done early & make them remember. Seems like they’re always able to lean into an off speed pitch. Shame of it is we’ve played on three different teams that have gone up against this tactic (in three years) and lost every time. Don’t run up on it often & would just like to figure out best way to beat them.

Later in their baseball career THAT becomes illegal too. The umpire won’t believe that you accidentally hit every batter that crowded the plate.

Turn 22, I totally agree but you know in this day of being PC that is way out of bounds but we all know we brush them back and if needed let them wear one if they don’t get off “my plate”.

So true, bu.

Kyle, I never meant to imply that you have to hit all who crowd the plate. My theory is hit one or two and the rest should get the message.