Tuesday, January 16th, 2018

Different pitchers = different bullpens

May 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Pitching

Probably the biggest problem I see that wrecks a pitcher’s ability to be effective is not warming up properly before the

What a pitcher does here starts with knowing what type of pitcher they are.

game.  I’ve written a couple posts on general and specific tips on how to warm up prior to games.  Click HERE and HERE to see them.  However, like everything else in the game, no routine perfectly suits every kind of player.  Over time, a player must develop a system that works best for them and their style of play.

For pitchers, it starts with having an accurate sense of what kind of pitcher they are.  Are they a hard thrower who gets strikeouts up in the zone?  Are they a control pitcher who needs great location to be effective?  Are they a “sinker, slider” type that uses movement to get outs?  Knowing which type you are can help dictate how to warm up to take full advantage of your strengths.

Let’s use the hard thrower and the “sinker-slider” guy as examples.  The hard thrower can benefit from not throwing many pitches in the bullpen prior to the game.  He will need to save as much energy for his high velocity (and high effort) pitches over the course of an entire game.  Having total command of his fastball is not a priority since his velocity will overcome many command issues, especially at the high school level and below. 

The “sinker-slider” guy is a different story.  His success depends on good command and downward movement.  As a result, this guy can benefit from a longer bullpen session to establish good command and movement.  A longer bullpen session also has the benefit of tiring out the arm of the sinker-slider guy a little more.  On the surface, this may seem like a bad thing but it usually isn’t.  Often the early innings are tough for the “sinker-slider” guy due to the high adrenaline nature of starting the game.  High adrenaline usually means more velocity, more pitches up in the zone, and less movement on the ball.  Three things this kind of pitcher needs to avoid.  Throwing more pitches in the bullpen tires out the arm a little which forces the pitcher to focus more attention on command and movement.  This is why many of these types of pitchers become tougher as the game goes on once they settle down and their arms tire a bit.

The point is, know thyself and tweak your pre-game bullpen to make yourself as effective as you can be right from the first pitch.


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