What To Throw?

Hey everyone, just registered on this site and I have to say I love it. Looks like there are some great baseball minds on this site and i look forward to learning from you all.

Now lets get to my question. Im 15 years old turning 16 in a month and Im playing AAA baseball in Ontario. Im a left handed pitcher and although I have not been on a radar gun in about 4 years I was throwing mid 60s at the age of 11 so i dont really have an idea of where I am now. Anyways our season starts at the beginning of June and Im looking to develop a 3 or 4 pitch arsenal for the season.

For pitch 1 I will of course go with my 4-seam fastball as it is the most generic. A little tuning on my accuracy and location and it will be good to go.

As for pitch 2, Im developing a change-up as a go to off-speed pitch. I have presently worked with the circle-change grip as I feel it is the most comfortable however, Im willing to switch to a palm grip or, 3 finger grip if it can be proven more effective.

A 3rd pitch Ive worked with and although needing a little work on can throw with success is a sinker/2-seam fastball. I can cut it both in and out to left and right handed batters but consistancy may be a problem as it is, like my changeup, a work in progress.

My other option was a curve. I know how to throw a curve ball and my cousin who has a fair bit of knowledge about the game (catching for the Ottawa-Nepean Canadians premier all-Ontario under 18 team.) said to use it with caution. He showed me a way to throw it just as effective without the door-knob turning motion in my arm but im unsure.

I came with the same conclusion when thinking about a slider. Injury is something I clearly want to avoid and when it comes to a slider I havent really done anything with it. My question here was weather it was worth for me to learn.

Finally, if it comes to it, learning/ throwing a 4th pitch for me is indeed possible. I can throw a split-finger/splitter albeit not to accurate but if im going with a sinker i believe it wouldnt be necessary. A forkball and screw ball are out of the question as i have not experimented with either leaving me with my last option. I can throw a knuckleball with some good movement and velocity. Im wondering though if since im not throwing mid-high 90s yet my knuckleball wont be thrown fast enough to work successfully.

I know Ive thrown alot out there but just to sum it all up here it is again.

pitch 1: definetly a 4-seam fastball
pitch 2: circle-change up unless a better format is given
pitch 3: 2-seam fastball/sinker, curve*, slider* ( *worried about injury)
pitch 4: split-finger/splitter, knuckleball

The help is greatly appreciated. Im willing to work as hard as i need to to get what i need completed and will consider all options so please help me out here.

I think most here will tell you to avoid the slider. That pitch is probably the hardest on your arm and you’re really too young to be throwing it. Wait until you’re older - like 18.

Some people might tell you that you’re still too young for the curveball. If you were to throw the curveball correctly and you limited the number of curves you throw, you should be ok. That’s a big “if” but I think you’re old enough for the curve. Just preset the arm angle before the arm starts forward - there should be no twisting while the arm is accelerating forward.

Really, your 4-seam, 2-seam with movement, and change-up should make you very effective. Add in the curve but limit the number you throw (i.e. don’t fall in love with it) and you should be set.

A cutter might also be pretty good, it gives you a nice little sliding action, and maybe some sink, and its not bad on the arm.

At 16 I would say you don’t need tons of pitches. I would say concentrate on perfecting a couple and having a decent 3rd pitch. Saying that though I wouldn’t really consider a 4 seam and a 2 seamer that different.

From my experience all I’ve needed to be able to throw is my fast ball and circle change. I throw a 2 seamer that has little tail at the end and my change dives at the end with a bit of a tail and looks identical to my fast ball coming out of my hand. If you can throw both for strikes at anytime you don’t need much of another pitch.

so what I am picking up here is rely on a good 4 seam and circle change along with the odd cut 2 seamer and possibly a curve and leave the rest be? it sounds good to me i needed to clear up a 3rd or 4th pitch there and this has been pretty helpful so far. Another question though. Will a curve be just as successful without a twisting motion through my release? I know that it gives it some extra zip and spin, wont that be needed?

Twisting is what destroys elbows. Preset the forearm angle before the arm starts forward.

you probably dont know bert blyleven since he played in the big leagues a while ago. the guy had the nastiest curveball ever. in an interview he said the first and most important thing to him was to never snap his wrist. it made him get some extra spin but his control was off when he did that. he said if you want to throw it correctly just get on top of the ball with your index and middle fingers on both side of the seam and roll them off in front. an other guy with a good and text book curveball is barry zito right now. you probably know him.

1pitch: 4-seam/2-seam depending on the situation since your catcher will be able to catch both of them on the same call. 4-seam fastball for flyballs (when a guy is on first or second and the infielders are close. give them a gift by making the batter pop in the infield) 2-seam fastball groundballs (throw it to contact and let the batter hit it on the ground, make your team work and work, they will love you for that. you work fast and they don’t kick the dirt all game long under the sun)

2pitch: change-up keep the circle change and don’t be afraid to throw it inside. try not to catch up too much of the plate with it though. a good change-up inside will help you get ahead of the batter 0-2 sometimes when you just got a fastball in there. he will more than likely pull it foul or totally miss it.

3pitch: curveball for now. everything from slider to screwball and forkballs are pitches you’ll learn when you’ll get older if you need them. develop a safe and nasty curveball and that might be just what you need. like someone else said though, dont fall in love with it you can get the hitters out with your other stuffs most of the time and throwing curveballs too often might just make you look like a great pitcher until they learn how to really sit on pitches and you’ll get rocket.

Roger wrote:[quote]Twisting is what destroys elbows. Preset the forearm angle before the arm starts forward.[/quote] by pre-setting your forearm do u mean having it basically cocked or twisted before bringing it forward? because thats the safest way ive been told to throw it just trying to clarify wether or not this is indeed what you mean. Also, just to clarify what i mean by twisting, Im using it to describe the motion in which is used to open a door-knob.

as for what you said 4pie i know the name bert blyleven however, i didnt know that he didnt throw a curve with a twist. I guess if it worked for him I can work on it. thank you for that.

Now to get a general idea of how often i should throw a curve. lets use your average game situations, nothing special happening, and we will say i throw 100 pitches for easy math. Around how many should be curves? A percent is fine whatever way is easiest to explain would be great. [/quote]

from a 15 year old type of view i’d say you should try trowing curveballs around 10 times a game. that number is enough to throw it for strikes early in the count and use it for a K when you really need it but is just not enough for you to throw back toback curveballs because your movement fools the batters. it makes you learn to throw good fastballs and change-ups and thats what you want to do ruight now. remember that numbers aren’t a thing to matter until you reach the top of your capacities. if its big leagues its big leagues if it’scollege ball it5s college ball.ddoing that though will help you become a great pitcher not just a fake pitcher like most of the either overpowering kids that throw in the 80s or junkballers hat that you probably have in your league right now.

Yes, that’s what I meant. At release your hand should be rotated 90 degrees so that it is on the side of the ball. That 90 degrees of rotation (i.e.supination) is what I’m talking about presetting before the arm starts forward.

alright thank you very much Roger thats a great amount of help you and everybody else has given me. I guess ill start working on pinpointing my 4-seam, getting full arm speed and accuracy on my change and then setting up some break with a 2 seam and curve thanks again everybody

Glad you found us-There is probably no bigger proponent of the breaking ball on the board than me. I loved the breaking ball, I threw both curve and slider effectively (many many years ago).

However at 15 you are too young to throw the slider, and your concern about injury is a very real concern. I am not sure you are throwing the curve right either. If you are not 100% sure, that you are throwing it right-Scrap It!

Coach Bagonzi has a wmv of how he teaches his on his site. Steve also explains how he threw his here in his articles. Start with fastball -change.Then move to the curveball.Steve also has an article on the site about 3 pitches are enough. He made it to the big show , so very good food for thought.

Once again Welcome!


I think that three good pitches are more than adequate for your level of pitching as well as levels beyond where you are now. Change in velocity is a key to good pitching. Movement is good too but not as important to differences in velocity. If you throw a good FB and Change, you are doing pretty good for your age. A cutter is just icing on the cake. Wait on a curve or slider.

thanks cpatt and ian your only adding to the knowledge ive picked up here. i think that while i will for the most part go with the 3 pitches FB Change and the odd cutter in there to mix things up i am going to look into developing a curve for the future and if it gets good enough maybe throw it in here and there. as for links to coach bagonzis lesson where would i be able to get one? in the main time i think ill go find steves article. thank you both for your input and for the rest of you every bit helps