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Pitch Calling

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  • Pitch Calling

    I am a catcher and I have always thought I have called good just because I am veryyyyy random on my pitches. I look at how the batter sets up, if he is early late on the fast balls, if he flinches on the curves, if he chases evereything, etc.. you know the drill. Well I am now at college level and alot of people I talk to as batters while watching like major league games sit there and are like I bet he throws this and they are usually right. They are much bigger baseball fans than me. Now to my question. Is there realllyyy a certain way to call pitches? To me if all these guys are guessing right on what pitches these pitchers are about to pitch then it seems they are going to hit better? I keep my pitches reallly random, I may have the pitcher throw 6 straight fastballs if the batter is way late and just fouling them off. Like my dad would say why speed up his bat by giving him a curve or change up? So I was just curious is there a understood time to pitch a pitch? if so where can I learn the technique! Thanks in advance!
    KP :

  • #2
    Pitching is suppose to stop the batter from hitting the ball. Hitting is balance and seeing pitches and having a good swing to meet the ball squarely.

    Now if a pitcher keeps the hitter off balance, then the probability hitting the ball squarely, is diminsihed. Calling pitches and their location can help keep that balance askew for hitters.

    Now in professional baseball, they have videotape, scouting reports, statistics all to help see trends and they go into games with a game plane to follow those scouting reports.

    In amateur ball, that tends not to be the case, so you must follow what your pitchers' strength and see what trend you notice while they are batting. I think catchers see things that people from the dugout do not see.

    You seem to be a good student of the game and keep up the good work and imporve you own ability by keep asking questions from other catchers, coaches and the like. You'll be picking up more and more as you progress in the game.


    • #3
      "Pitching Strategy - What Pitchers Should Throw And When To Throw It To Keep Hitters Uncomfortable

      Monday the 20th, Feb

      OK, let's talk about how pitchers can teach hitters how to be uncomfortable when they come to the plate. But before we get into this, we need to first establish a simple philosophy that pitchers can hang their hat on no matter what the situation is. So we begin with some guidelines that we use to eventually develop our own basic philosophy:

      1. Attack inside - find out if the hitter can handle your fastball

      2. Show your off-speed stuff early in the game

      3. Double-up (two in a row) on curve balls on 0-2, 1-2 or 2-2 counts

      4. Change-up on any count

      5. With runners in scoring position don't let hitters sit on the fastball

      6. Change eye level - curve ball down then fastball up

      7. On fastball counts or first pitch or 1-0, 2-0, 2-2 or 3-2 throw a 2-seamer for movement


      Fastballs: keep down until ahead in the count then change eye level - go letter high.

      Curve balls: take a little off to get ahead. When ahead in the count make them swing at something out of the zone.

      Change-up: be able to throw it on any count.

      Stick with your game plan - let the hitters tell you if you need to make changes.

      Trust your stuff.

      Move their feet and head.
      Specific Game Situations

      If you get ahead with a first pitch strike, immediately attack aggressively inside.

      On fastball counts, throw a two-seamer for movement.

      If you get to 2-2 with fastballs, double-up on curve balls.

      With runners in scoring position use your 2-seamer or curve ball to get a ground ball.
      And above all else - DON'T BE PREDICTABLE.

      If you recall in one of last years newsletters, Rich Peterson, who was then pitching coordinator for the Blue Jays, contributed a nice article about how Roger Clemens sets game goals. And how he evaluates his performance based on these goals.

      Attack aggressively in the first inning.

      Re-focus with 2 outs, close out the inning.

      Attack after our team scores - "throw up a zero."

      Bare down the 2nd time through the heart of the order.
      Put these four goals on your mirror and make sure you memorize them. Review these goals before each game.

      Ok, now that gives you a little foundation of how to pitch but the problem is most coaches don't teach the basics because they don't know how. They think it's too complicated for a young pitcher to grasp when it's quite simple.

      How To Pitch To Any Hitter
      To begin with we have to be able to ask ourselves one simple question each time we throw any pitch to a hitter.

      And, as a pitcher the question we must continuously ask ourselves is:

      What did I just teach the hitter to do?

      What do I mean by that? What I mean is if we throw a hitter a fastball on the inside part of the plate and he doesn't swing, what did we just teach the hitter to do on the very next pitch?

      We taught him that if he wants to hit that pitch, then he will have to speed up his bat in order to get the head of the bat out in front.

      Or if we follow a fastball with a change-up, what are we teaching the hitter to do?

      We are telling him that if he wants to hit that pitch, he will have to slow his bat down.

      If we follow a fastball up in the zone with a curve ball down, what are we teaching the hitter?

      We are telling him that in order for him to hit that pitch, he will have to adjust by slowing down his bat and then also he must change his eye level and go down and get that pitch.

      Constantly Make The Hitter Change His Bat Speed
      Can you see what we are doing here? We are making the hitter make a lot of adjustments.

      We throw fastballs to increase his bat speed - we throw change-ups to slow it down.

      We throw curve balls down to slow up his bat and get his eyes going down and then go up with a fastball to speed up his bat and make his eyes go up.

      Slow it down - speed it up. Make his eyes go up and then down or down and then up.

      Doesn't this get confusing? You bet.

      But always remember, what we want to know most is how the hitter is reacting to our fastball.

      If he can't catch up to it or he can't hit it when it is thrown in a particular location, then we can go back with it in that location. But we don't want to do that more than twice in a row.

      Because if we give him that same pitch, then by teaching him to speed up his bat, and we throw it more than twice in a row, we are giving him an edge.

      Now if a right-handed hitter pulls your first pitch foul, he has speeded up his bat, so it doesn't make a lot of sense to go right back inside to him. So what you do is make him slow his bat down by throwing either a change-up or a curve ball.

      Change Location - In And Out
      Now besides going up and down, we also want to go in and out.When we attack hitters inside we are moving them off the plate to do what? Open up the outer half of the plate.

      So we go fastball in and now we open up a lot of options. We can go with a change-up or a curve ball. Or we can go with a fastball to the outside. Then we can go with another curve ball to slow down his bat and get him leaning to get the outside pitch. Then we go back inside.

      Again we resist being predictable.

      Does Greg Maddux do this? You bet he does. And that's why hitters hate hitting against him because his command is unbelievable, his movement is outstanding, he pitches in and he changes speeds. Remember, the key to becoming a smart pitcher is to constantly ask yourself that question:

      What Did I Teach The Hitter To Do?

      Always be asking questions like:

      1. Did I just teach him to speed up his bat or slow it down?

      2. Is he getting good swings at my fastball?

      3. Can he handle the fastball that's up in the zone?

      4. Can he get around on the inside fastball?

      5. How does he look on breaking balls?

      6. Can I get him to swing at bad pitches out of the zone?

      7. How does he react to my change-up?

      With Men On Base
      Too many young pitchers don't make adjustments when men get in scoring position.

      This is when it's important to have a little meeting with yourself and make sure you fully understand the situation.

      And if you need to meet with your catcher to go over or change signs, do it right now.

      You must know how many outs and who is coming up and what they did last time up. Again if you can't remember, call your catcher out.

      Remember, if it's a close game, it's important that you make good pitches. If there is less than two outs then you want a ground ball.

      How do you get a ground ball? By keeping your fastball down. If you throw a two-seam fastball, this is a great place to throw it down in the zone.

      If you throw a breaking ball, this is a great time to use it because if it's down and if they hit it you have a ground ball.

      Don't be afraid to use your change up especially with a man on second base. With two outs, use that change up to get a pop up or a fly ball.

      Don't Be Afraid To Fail
      As a pitcher, there are no guarantees no matter what happens. Try to use all your stuff. Stay positive and focus on one pitch at a time.

      You must know what is working for you that day and which pitch you can get over in crucial situations. And that can change from game to game.

      Don't Waste Pitches
      I am not a believer in wasting any pitches. I am a believer in making the hitter swing at bad pitches because the pitcher is ahead in the count. And that's obviously the key to successful pitching. Stay ahead in the count and get the first hitter in each inning. If you can do those two things you will be successful. " - from
      While I do prefer to interact with people in a gentle manner... I'm also not at all opposed to establishing my dominance in a reign of terror.


      • #4
        wow... thanks! I learned alot... I really like those goals for pitchers to look at! I might be passing that on to some fellow team mates! thanks again!!


        • #5
          Originally posted by MrSurprise
          wow... thanks! I learned alot... I really like those goals for pitchers to look at! I might be passing that on to some fellow team mates! thanks again!!
          I always found that the slider was a nice pitch when I was convinced that the batter was looking FB. Similar look and speed so the hitter wouldn't adjust right away, then that little slide/dip at the end to ruin his day.
          "I throw him four wide ones, then try to pick him off first base." - Preacher Roe on pitching to Musial


          • #6
            About these guys guessing right. Be careful. Are they calling the whole pitch - speed, spin, and location? Did they hit the mitt? Also watch what the batter did with the pitch, if they called it right.
            Listen to Tim McCarver do a game. The guy was an excellent catcher and called alot of games. Can he guess what a pitcher is going to throw? I've watched him enough to know that he's usually wrong. Why? It's not that his guess is wrong it's that the catcher or the coach that's calling the game is assuming that the batter is guessing the same way McCarver is.
            There aren't too many pitches that you can get by any Major League hitter if he knows what's coming. You beat him with his head and his eyes - mostly his head.
            Keep your calls random but don't forget science. Read the batter and learn by your mistakes with him and you'll do fine. It can be a long game and don't make two mistakes against any batter.
            Baseball Drills


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