Wow I'm confused!

I know its not really hard to confuse me but… I was reading 2 articles on and one said "Don’t sacrifice velocity for control."
and then the other one said “Control is primary, velocity is secondary, movement is secondary.” So which is more important. I know its control because how are you gonna win without the ability to throw the ball in the strike zone. So thats my opinion. Whats yours?

I remember Hershiser talking about it on tv once. He said the biggest thing that kills velocity is when a pitcher, espically young ones sacrifice velocity to throw strikes. In my opinion you should learn how to throw hard pain free first. Then learn to control it. Then figure out how to get movement.

[quote=“futureKazmir”]I know its not really hard to confuse me but… I was reading 2 articles on and one said "Don’t sacrifice velocity for control."
and then the other one said “Control is primary, velocity is secondary, movement is secondary.” So which is more important. I know its control because how are you gonna win without the ability to throw the ball in the strike zone. So thats my opinion. Whats yours?[/quote]

There’s just no one right answer. Obviously, control is important. If you can’t hit the glove, you basically can’t pitch, right? I mean you’ve got to throw strikes. But, you’ve got to throw hard to have the opportunities to pitch at the higher levels of the game. Unfortunately, sub-90 mph usually doesn’t cut it anymore if you want to play pro ball.

I see more big league teams draft guys who throw hard and have poor control than I see big league teams draft guys with good control who don’t throw hard. Velocity gets you in the door. Control is what keeps you there.

I’d say that you’re more likely to be able to take a hard thrower and add control than it is to take a dart thrower and get him to throw hard.

This may have been in a different context, I’m not sure, but it certainly holds true here. Someone once said, a long time ago, “Power is nothing without control”—and he was so right. You have a pitcher with electric stuff who throws at or close to 100 miles an hour, and he can’t find the plate to save himself. And then you have a pitcher who just barely breaks 90 miles an hour, and he keeps throwing strikes, hitting the corners, and winning games—I can think of several examples of each.
Example 1: The Brooklyn Dodgers had a pitcher once. His name was Rex Barney, and he was a fireballer par excellence. It was said that he could throw a ball through a brick ball. Yeah—but which building? He was that wild. Example 2: The St. Louis Cardinals had a pitcher named Harry (the Cat) Brecheen, and he was a control specialist. Not much in the way of speed, but he had good stuff, and most of all he had control, and he used it to baffle the hitters. Example 3: Here was a pitcher who might never have made it to the majors if the White Sox hadn’t taken a chance on him. His name was Ed Lopat, and speed was not his middle name; he was what is known in some quarters as a “snake jazz” pitcher, lots of good stuff and he was constantly adding a new pitch to his already bursting-at-the-seams arsenal. But his control was something for the books; it was so on-target that sportswriters would comment that he was wild if he walked more than two in a game. And here’s the irony of it all: the Cleveland Indians, whom he used to beat to a pulp all the time, could have had him. They could have purchased his contract for a few thousand bucks, but they chose to heed the words of their scouts who said he would never make it in the majors because he did not have an overpowering fast ball—and that decision came back to haunt them for twelve seasons. Four not-too-shabby years with the Chisox, seven and a half very-good-to-spectacular years with the Yankees…
So I would say that control is probably the most essential element. Without it a pitcher doesn’t have anything. The other stuff can be taught, but if you can’t find the plate, fuhgeddaboutit! Even yours truly, who did not have a fast ball to speak of, picked up a pitch that Mr. Lopat described as a finesse pitcher’s fast ball—81 miles an hour, and for a finesse pitcher that was a fast ball—a good four-seamer. And this idea actually goes way back: I was reading something on the Internet about advice from three old-timers, including Yankee ace Herb Pennock who said that without control a pitcher doesn’t have anything. 8) :slight_smile:

all three together

if you cant control your velocity?
pin point but slow?
moving but slow?
fast but not moving?

you cant say one with out the other

Mike Mussina, Greg Maddux, 'nuff said.

dnt hate me

mussina might just be better than maddux

Let’s also add, Tom Glavine to them.

pustulio, ya but all those pitchers you are naming threw in the low 90s when they were younger.

The question is a good one… however, it’s a broad-brush approach to a question without boarders and more importantly … at what level are you asking for.

Let’s set our sights at the highest horizon possible… Major League Baseball. Today, the speed merchants have it. No question. But that in itself does not set anybody’s job in concrete. If you want to go pro… even at the independent league level, you’d better have a ninety plus rocket with control on the corners and a decent array of junk to go along with it. And let’s not forget your slot in the pecking order of things… starter, reliever, closer and so it goes. Also, your experience as a journeyman through the minors will test your metal in this regard more than most are willing to … or able… to give.

College ball is a different matter… there the rosters are usually mixed with all kinds of firepower … mid 80’s on up, depending on the need and availability of who’s wanting what. A divisional match up as far as pitching is concerned really isn’t a major factor as one might think. I’ve seen tons of great talent at the junior college level that could easily do bullpen duty with the likes of UCLA, PENN state, etc.

Upper level amateur ball… Legion, travel teams, AAU and the upper crust of high school ball usually finds the meters at low to mid 80’s with some rare exceptions in high 80’s and toping out at about 92. But, these players also have location… when and where it’s asked for. And the usual junk guys fill in here and there.

Park and rec guys and the lower levels of high school ball can have some good velocity and control ranks… but as a rule they don’t attract the impressive talents of the upper levels. Resource commitments and other things contribute to this situation more often than not. Control is a bigger quality than speed, that’s why control at this level usually isn’t given a second look because it’s usually ‘HIT’S-R-US.

So to summarize all this, your talent of velocity AND control is a bench mark that you must measure equally… side by side… with equal importance. Don’t think for a second that one will take front stage over the other and get you in the door to the next level… it just doesn’t happen that way. Your training and dedication to both disciplines should share equal space along your learning curve.

And to the folks that say…” give me a flamethrower and I’ll teach him/her Control”. That’s a myth that shares equal space with the …” the world is flat.” The reason for this myth is that physical demands that require brute force without reason… is nothing more than that… without reason. And the more the body demands of itself brute force the more it acquires a tempo and “feel” to itself that’s a son-of-a-gun to change. Call it muscle memory or anything else for that matter and you still find the athlete (pitcher) taking it down a peg or two to gain some king of reasonable control so the pitch(s) have some kind of worth to them. I’ve had my fill of 95 MPH wonder boys who were eagerly picked up by clubs that I’ve been on, only to have throw the bridle over them with a bit in their mouth and say…”whoaaa there kid”. Then after an exhausting full season of reversing all this firepower jazz, they end up cranking mid 80’s at first…. with the fielders fielding outs, then they top about 90 max with outstanding in’n’out, up’n’down’ and a decent bag of tricks.

Sandy Koufax first started out with the Dodgers while they were still in Brooklyn, and he had awesome speed but little control. Fact was, few in the business thought he was going to make it in the Majors. Then, as the
story is told, a veteran catcher by the name of Norm Sherry told Koufax that he didn’t have to pitch so hard to strike guys out. It took Koufax a while but when he listened to Sherry he went on the have one of the most successful careers in recorded Major League history. He (Koufax) took it down a notch, gained a control game, then cranked it up back to where he
was with outstanding results.

Now I know the majority of us on this site are not Major Leaguers … may be close… but not totally. And since the level of your performance is dictated a lot by your physical endowments…lets just say that if you have great control for your level of play but less so firepower wise, then it’s control all the way. Work on velocity WITH STRIKES. On the other hand if you have firepower to spare but less in the control department… take it down a peg or two… gain control and throw strikes …. any strike… corners, down the middle, any strike. Get use to that feeling that accompanies the force behind it. (we’re talking fastball here.)

Coach B.

OleOneBaseball posted a good article from baseballamerica which listed prospects that threw the gas >90mph and some interesting stats - I noticed that some guys threw really hard but their BB/9innings was almost the same as their k/9innings (this was pointed out in the article). So it shows velocity is just one part of making it to the big leagues. Thanks “TheOleOneBall” for posting the links to this article. I have included his post below. Hope he doesn’t mind.


I have repeatedly seem people claim of pitchers (i.e. tim lincecum) “SITTING” at 97-98 mph and this is just not true. There may be a good amount of pitchers in the minors who throw 94-95 but there is only a handful who sit at 97+

The article just points out how rare 97-98mph truly truly is.

P.S. I just added that quote from the article because if you think about it 63% isn’t really all that many! Kinda gives you hope ;)[/quote]