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  • Dazzling pitching performance

    Had one of those things happen today that I’ve never seen the like of before. Take a look at the pitcher who threw the 6 innings, and check the number of batters he faced and the number of pitches, but most of all look at his 1st pitch strike %. :bowdown:

    No matter how old I get, it amazes me at how easily I’m surprised by things like that. The hitters seemed like a wizard cast a spell on them and they couldn't help swinging.

    game2.pdf
    The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

  • #2
    Wow, what an awesome job. (Must have had a good catcher, as well!)

    As a person who spends his time around 12 yo rec ball, these numbers are off the charts. Less than 3 pitches per batter over 6 innings.

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    • #3
      Pitchin to contact....the lost art.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JCincy View Post
        Wow, what an awesome job. (Must have had a good catcher, as well!)
        I can’t help but ask why you made the comment about the catcher. Its not that I think its an odd question, but rather I got the idea that you’ve somehow connected a great pitching performance with a great catching performance, and I find that interesting.

        As a person who spends his time around 12 yo rec ball, these numbers are off the charts. Less than 3 pitches per batter over 6 innings.
        The reason I posted it was, I think its off the charts for any level. Actually, I think if better records were available, you’d find plenty of similar notable performances even at the 12YO rec level. The difference being, while they’re a 1 in 1,000 event in HS, there being so many more 12YO games, coupled with the lower average skill of the pitchers at that level, they’re probably 1 in 10,000, which means its not very likely any 1 person would see a game like that.

        But just so you don’t get to feeling that that performance was a “normal” one at the HS level, here’s what happened during the 1st game of the double header. game1.pdf

        Just for comparison, both of the starters played on the V last season, and both were Sophs. But in fairness, the kid who did so well threw 49 innings and the other only 9. Another bit of info is, one is a short stocky lefty who throws “hard”, the other is a tall well-built righty who doesn’t intimidate anyone with his velocity.
        The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

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        • #5
          80% strikes is amazing.

          Going by the BIP and K, I'm going to guess that he's a medium speed guy without electric stuff. He stays in the zone and doesn;t throw the ball by anybody. On this day a lot of those BIP went right to fielders.

          It's not so much "pitching to contact" as it is "not having strikeout stuff". We've discussed "pitching to contact" previously, but it's like a player choosing to excel "playing below the rim" in basketball. He's not choosing that, he's just doing the best he can with what he's got.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by jdfromfla View Post
            Pitchin to contact....the lost art.
            I couldn’t agree more! But to be honest, like so many things in this game, its difficult to find not only an agreeable meaning for what contact is, but how to quantify it with numbers, which should be easy to do. IOW, there’s an generally acceptable way to determine whether a pitcher is a fly ball or ground ball pitcher. There’s also a generally acceptable way to determine if a pitcher is a power or finesse pitcher. But, as far as I know, there’s no generally acceptable way to determine if a pitcher is a contact pitcher or not.

            Would you like to give it a go?

            I’m not trying to sway you one way or another, but I’m attaching something you might find interesting to look at, in the sense that you might be able to pick out contact vs other types of starting pitchers. pitsninnings.pdf
            The pitcher who’s afraid to throw strikes, will soon be standing in the shower with the hitter who's afraid to swing.

            Comment


            • #7
              What's the difference between a pitcher who is pitching to contact and one who is getting shelled? BABIP, right? A lot of balls put into play, but not a lot of hits.

              So a pitch-to-contact pitcher has a low number of walks and hits but also a low number of strikeouts. Maybe you need a metric "SWHIP"... strikeouts plus walks and hits per inning pitched...?

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              • #8
                We treat "pitching to contact" as if it is a skill or ability we WANT pitchers to have. Why?

                All pitchers essentially pitch the same, [1] try and throw the ball where you want to, [2] try to pitch in areas where batters can't drive the ball.

                The guys that are striking out lots of batters aren't trying to do much different than the guys that don't.

                We faced a pitcher the other day that threw a 1 hitter against us on 64 pitches (6 IP). It was an awesome display of excelling at pitching to contact. NO, it was simply a kid that threw enough strikes, threw slow enough to be out of "hitting speed". Our good hitters had some bad luck on BIP on some well struck balls, and our weaker hitters finally found a guy that could put in play, and (unfortunately) often did so on the 1st or second pitch.

                Strike throwing is almost always a really good thing. At the youth level it is even more important, due to walks turning into "triples" very easily.

                But, before we go praising pitching to contact, I first want to know how you tell it apart from just throwing a lot of strikes and hoping for the best. How do we know it's pitching to contact and not "changing speeds effectively"?

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by CircleChange11 View Post
                  We treat "pitching to contact" as if it is a skill or ability we WANT pitchers to have. Why?
                  For our pitchers (youth level), I am always encouraging them to "pitch to contact" simply to frame their mindset around throwing in the hitting zone to get more strikes (swinging or called). If we're not "pitching to contact" (again at the youth level), the pitchers on our team tend to miss the zone because they seem afraid the the batter might actually hit one of their pitches. With age and maturity, I think the emphasis changes, but at certain times, even for the HS & college pitchers, they have to have the confidence to throw to contact, or they're going to have very long days.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by bbrages View Post
                    What's the difference between a pitcher who is pitching to contact and one who is getting shelled? BABIP, right? A lot of balls put into play, but not a lot of hits.

                    So a pitch-to-contact pitcher has a low number of walks and hits but also a low number of strikeouts. Maybe you need a metric "SWHIP"... strikeouts plus walks and hits per inning pitched...?
                    BABIP "stabilizes" as they say at around 3700 BIP at the MLB level. Tom Tango says at this point it's "half pitcher, half league". In other words the difference you see in BABIP between a pitcher and the league norm is "half due to the pitcher" and "half due to something else" in terms of statistical reliability.

                    Now, we're going to look at youth sports data, which is a mere fraction of the 3700 BIP and come to a conclusion about a pitcher being able to influence BABIP.

                    What we have is a situation where you hand me a spray chart of a batter and it shows BIP distributed evenly to all fields and you say "Look at how the batter uses all fields, that's tremendous bat control skill". And I ask "How do you know he just doesn't swing late against the fast guys, early against the slow guys and right on against the medium guys. Such a thing would result in a similar spray chart."

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                    • #11
                      How did you get the QB for the Lions to pitch for your team? I did not know that Stafford was a two sport star. Great game and thanks for sharing the stats.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Hard Knox View Post
                        For our pitchers (youth level), I am always encouraging them to "pitch to contact" simply to frame their mindset around throwing in the hitting zone to get more strikes (swinging or called). If we're not "pitching to contact" (again at the youth level), the pitchers on our team tend to miss the zone because they seem afraid the the batter might actually hit one of their pitches. With age and maturity, I think the emphasis changes, but at certain times, even for the HS & college pitchers, they have to have the confidence to throw to contact, or they're going to have very long days.
                        We can't say "pitching to contact" when we really mean "just throw strikes kid" in the sense where we are describing a skill.

                        As a coach, I'll say "get yourself a groundball here", simply because it's easier than saying "throw strikes down in the zone, but don't let up so that you drift one belt high, but don;t overthrow so that you dirt one."

                        But, coaching verbage as a simplification and a label assigned to what is being described as a desireable skill are two different things.

                        Isn't pitching to contact essentially pitching to the periphery opf the strikezone? The ultimate "pitching to contact" guy would be a pitcher that just grooves pitches and gets hit on the 1st or 2nd pitch. No, we're describing a guy that throws a lot of strikes, but throws them in areas of the zone that batters don't hit well, in other words the periphery.

                        When looking at Halladay, he was in the zone less than half the time last year (seriously), but gets so many strikes just out of the zone because batters chase because it's "close enough to protect". He's outstanding at getting batters to swing at (and often miss) those pitches. So, Mr. Efficient doesn;t throw the ball in the zone anywhere near as much as people might think (He did in his Blue Jay days), but is what could be described as "a highly effective nibbler" ... which would be drastically different than the common usage "pitching to contact".

                        At the MLB level, BABIP is around .300 ... and that's with the best defenders on the planet. At the HS level, BABIP might be much higher (or lower, who knows?) so a pitch to contact pitcher might be worse off than the 5 BB, 10 K guy.

                        Runners are a strong predictor of runs allowed. Pitchers should simply do everything they can to minimize runners (duh). Some guys don't issue walks, while allowing some hits. Some guys get a lot of walks and K's but don't allow hits (i.e., BIP).

                        The bothersome aspect to me are when we assign a skill (pitching to contact) to something where there might not be one, such as praising a batter for "going the other way" when they may have just swung late or had a closed stance preventing them from turning on the ball.

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                        • #13
                          Would you like to give it a go?
                          I consider a pitcher who pitches to contact as one who generally commands the zone enough to set-up the change with a moving fb low in the zone..cutter or sinker. This induces poor contact and coming back with a change (hopefully one as Maddux used which tails and drops) is another groundball inducing pitch, working low in the zone with moving stuff, with an emphasis of this as 1st pitch strike means in my book that the guy is pitching to contact. The change will start in the zone so you've got the best scenario for inducing a gb..will it always work??? Oh sure we got Maddux's everywhere don't we.

                          And as bbarge points out low k's..unless you are Maddux..who had over 3000..the low walks/expectation of strike is a key element though imo.

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                          • #14
                            And the why is pitch economy and game tempo.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by scorekeeper View Post
                              I can’t help but ask why you made the comment about the catcher. Its not that I think its an odd question, but rather I got the idea that you’ve somehow connected a great pitching performance with a great catching performance, and I find that interesting.
                              A good catcher helps to make his pitcher look good. It's not easy to put everything into words, but I will try. (I know it when I see it...)

                              He is steady behind the plate. He provides a solid and appropriate target for his pitcher.

                              When he receives the ball, he gets his glove to the location, before the ball arrives. He then is able catch the proper half of the ball to make the best presentation to the umpire. From the umpire's view the catcher's glove brings his focus to the plate, not the foul lines.

                              He doesn't attempt to fool the umpire by "jerking" in pitches off the plate and he doesn't stab at good pitches and take them out of the strike zone. Once again he gets his glove to the right location before the ball arrives.

                              He can consistently block pitches and keep the ball in front of him. This gives his pitcher confidence especially when he's trying to finish a batter with 2 strikes and he doesn't want to use the fast ball.

                              He helps to keep the pitcher in rhythm by returning the ball to him in a timely fashion and settling up quickly in between each pitch. He also knows when to cue his pitcher to take breather or change his patterns to keep the batter and the runner(s) guessing.

                              He should be the pitcher's extra eyes for watching the runners on base.

                              Depending on the level of play and who is calling the pitches, the catcher can be instrumental in pitch selection and having a feel for the pitcher's and the batter's abilities.

                              I have seen what an erratic kid behind the plate can do a pitcher. And I've seen the steady ones. I am sure it impacts some pitchers more than others, but I don't think it can be overlooked.

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