Sunday, December 17th, 2017

Up vs Down for effect

April 25, 2012 by  
Filed under Pitching

In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that one former MLB pitcher’s strategy for throwing to David Wright was to throw a pitch up and in to see how he recovers.  Although there is an obvious danger every time a pitcher does this, a pitchers must develop that pitch in order

Photo 1

to continue to be effective at the higher levels.  Hitters today tend to lean over the plate quite a bit and therefore take the outside corner away from the pitcher.

If a pitcher is coming inside for “effect” which means purposely throwing off the inside part of the plate to move the batter away, it should be above the waist.  When I was pitching in the minor leagues, our pitching coaches would frequently work with us on aiming for just below the batter’s lead elbow.  If the pitcher does this, the batter will lift his arms up or pull them back which in turn will move his eyes up and/or back as well.  Getting the eyes to move is the goal.

If a pitch is thrown waist high or lower, the batter’s head/eyes can stay still as he moves his lower half away from the plate (Photo 1). Although the pitch is in off the plate, it will not accomplish the goal of moving the batter’s eyes.

If the pitch is above the waist, the batter will be able to get out of the way but it will succeed in moving the batter’s eyes (Photo 2).  When this occurs, most batter’s will not be so aggressive in leaning over the plate to reach the pitch on the outer half for fear that the next pitch will

Photo 2

be up and in as well.

This is where command of pitches becomes so important.  I’ve seen countless pitchers come up and in, move a batter’s eyes, and then fail to command the next pitch on the outside corner.  The batter was set up for it but the pitcher just couldn’t put it where he wanted it.

Throwing inside for strikes and for “effect” is important for all pitchers.  Doing so will allow you to take back the outer part of the plate as well.  However, it is something all pitcher’s must practice for them to be both accurate and consistent.


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