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“Pitching Drought”

Dec 11, 2010
1,941
48
Someone on another site posted a thread about why less kids are pitching. The lack of pitchers is what killed the men’s game and I fear we are headed the same way for the women’s game.

The following is a cut and pasted response- the handle of the guy who posted it is gtq and those of us who hang around that site know exactly who he is and that he knows what he is talking about. The following is what he posted:



“I don't know that there are less total pitchers than there used to be, but it certainly is harder to be a pitcher than it used to be.

1. When they moved the mound to 43 feet from 40 feet back in 2006 for ASA Gold, think it might have been 2008 for high school, the 56-58 mph pitcher changed from "somewhat effective" to "punching bag". The 53-56 mph pitcher changed from "okay" to "total punching bag". One of the reasons kids pitch is so they can be a focal point of the game. When that focal point becomes "punching bag" the line of volunteers gets shorter. It takes a lot for a young pitcher to have success these days because in my opinion the odds are stacked against them (see the points below).

2. Hitters hit 12 months a year now. Back in the 2000s many hitters did not have full time instructors or indoor facilities they could use regularly. Now kids have exercise gurus at age 8 and there is a hitting cage on every block. These are definitely not favorable factors for aspiring pitchers.

3. Bats are hot. I am getting old and I can probably fungo with one hand with the modern bats. You see 12 and 13 year olds hitting balls over 200 feet now. That wasn't happening ten years ago.

4. The Chicago area has improved tremendously in the last ten years. I would venture a guess that back in 2000-2008 era the Chicago area produced 20 D1 players in a given graduating class. Now there are travel teams in the Chicago area with whole lineups of D1 commits. Only the better pitchers can work through a whole lineup of these kids.

5. I would argue there are more D1 caliber pitchers in the Chicago area than there have ever been. But 43 foot mounds, year round hitting instruction, hot bats, and stacked lineups make pitching a much tougher position choice for most players than it was in the past. If you start getting beat up on the mound as a 14 year old you may not have the persistence to work through it. I would say rotten fathers and the failure of travel coaches to develop pitchers is no more an issue than it has ever been. There are simply physical limits on how hard a pitcher can throw and unlike hitters, there is no equipment available that can help inflate that.”
 

pattar

Clueless..
Jun 8, 2016
2,373
63
Someone on another site posted a thread about why less kids are pitching. The lack of pitchers is what killed the men’s game and I fear we are headed the same way for the women’s game.

The following is a cut and pasted response- the handle of the guy who posted it is gtq and those of us who hang around that site know exactly who he is and that he knows what he is talking about. The following is what he posted:



“I don't know that there are less total pitchers than there used to be, but it certainly is harder to be a pitcher than it used to be.

1. When they moved the mound to 43 feet from 40 feet back in 2006 for ASA Gold, think it might have been 2008 for high school, the 56-58 mph pitcher changed from "somewhat effective" to "punching bag". The 53-56 mph pitcher changed from "okay" to "total punching bag". One of the reasons kids pitch is so they can be a focal point of the game. When that focal point becomes "punching bag" the line of volunteers gets shorter. It takes a lot for a young pitcher to have success these days because in my opinion the odds are stacked against them (see the points below).

2. Hitters hit 12 months a year now. Back in the 2000s many hitters did not have full time instructors or indoor facilities they could use regularly. Now kids have exercise gurus at age 8 and there is a hitting cage on every block. These are definitely not favorable factors for aspiring pitchers.

3. Bats are hot. I am getting old and I can probably fungo with one hand with the modern bats. You see 12 and 13 year olds hitting balls over 200 feet now. That wasn't happening ten years ago.

4. The Chicago area has improved tremendously in the last ten years. I would venture a guess that back in 2000-2008 era the Chicago area produced 20 D1 players in a given graduating class. Now there are travel teams in the Chicago area with whole lineups of D1 commits. Only the better pitchers can work through a whole lineup of these kids.

5. I would argue there are more D1 caliber pitchers in the Chicago area than there have ever been. But 43 foot mounds, year round hitting instruction, hot bats, and stacked lineups make pitching a much tougher position choice for most players than it was in the past. If you start getting beat up on the mound as a 14 year old you may not have the persistence to work through it. I would say rotten fathers and the failure of travel coaches to develop pitchers is no more an issue than it has ever been. There are simply physical limits on how hard a pitcher can throw and unlike hitters, there is no equipment available that can help inflate that.”
Curtailing the bats would be the easiest fix..they did it in college baseball. Not sure it would completely fix the problem but it would probably help.
 
Last edited:
Feb 7, 2013
3,166
38
There is a lot of wisdom above.

I will also say that the pitching is watered down in travel ball because there are so many more travel ball teams than there used to be. The other issue is pitching can get expensive with year round private lessons, just to keep up and parents just can't afford it; and the amount of free time to practice on your own is made more difficult as HS students are taking more rigorous classes, more studying, more extracurriculars, more test prep (PSAT/SAT/ACT) than ever before. I look at my DD20 and she doesn't have a lot free time to devote to pitching like she used to. Lastly, while I think the hitting instruction has gotten much better over the past 10 years, most of the pitching instruction is poor if not detrimental to teachinig proper pitching mechanics to help the pitcher get better.
 
Dec 11, 2010
1,941
48
I disagree that it’s the bats. Maybe I disagree because I don’t want every player to be mandated to buy more $350 bats, and that may not be a very good reason. I think the bats are the same, (think original Stealth here), what I think has changed is pitching distance, hitters training and strength training. A rules change can only change one of those.

I was only able to change one factor, I would go back to 40 or 41 feet. Make more pitchers effective. I don’t want to go back to a pitchers game like it was before and I don’t think we should continue with this being a hitters game. Find balance.

Problem with all this is MOST OF US, including me, have not been around the game long enough to remember what it was before. We have only been around since our dd’s Were 10u.

I make this post with the intent to encourage discussion and thought, not to have the last word. Let’s talk this thing out.
 
Last edited:
Nov 18, 2013
1,591
48
He’s focusing on how hitters have improved and ignoring pitchers are undergoing the same transformation. Pitchers have trainers, work out, video analysis, etc. As hitters improve, so does the pitching. Hot bats give an advantage to the hitter, but I don’t think it’s enough to chase pitchers from the position.

I don’t disagree that its harder. There’s not fewer pitchers though. If anything its diluted because there’s more pitchers than ever before. Sounds like he has a lot of experience with how the game used to be, but is a little out of touch with the current dynamics of college ball. There’s more teams than in 2006 and more places for a pitcher to land. Most importantly in 2006 teams rode their ace. That doesn’t work anymore and teams have turned to pitching staff’s. There’s more opportunities and thus more pitchers.
 
Dec 11, 2010
1,941
48
I’ll be honest, something has been missed here and this will not be popular.

Part of the problem is umpires. Give the pitcher the corners, especially at the upper skill levels. Let them get off the damn plate. If you are an umpire, and you are squeezing the zone in 2018 and you see that players are hitting rockets up the middle against a high skill, high experience pitcher, the problem is you. And it is dangerous.

I noticed a huge difference between summer 2017 and summer 2018 in the size of the zone. In 2018 I saw the zone squeezed weekend after weekend. I have a few theories on it but I’ll keep it to myself for now.

I’ll add this. I heard with my own ears “I won’t call anything above the waist” and “I don’t like them low” uttered by two different umpires. I cannot stand these kind of comments by an umpire. Who do they think they are? The strike zone is the strike zone. How dare you change the rules of the game, you should be immediately removed.
 
Last edited:
Jul 30, 2018
28
0
The girls softball circuit is slowly turning in to a wealthy kids sport.

The high strung, johnny bad ass coaches are killing the game. 100 games a year at 13 14?

Its a joke and all driven by grown men who want you to " LOOK AT THEM "4

The youths TODAY...PLAY WAY TO MUCH.
 
Feb 7, 2013
3,166
38
If we are going to have an honest and open discussion I think we should allow the girls to pitch like the men, leap and crow hop all they want. Also, when they lowered the high strike from arm pits to below sternum, rarely do you get the high strike called if its above the waist (i.e. they have pinched the zone). I do think bat technology in the last 10 - 15 years has changed the game to more of a hitters game. You see so many more home runs off of average swings and the softball fields dimensions have not gotten larger to adjust for the extra distance. In addition, DD used to play many tournaments on fields that were meant for Slow-Pitch softball (e.g. Big League Dreams fields) where the fences are at 350feet plus, so any ball hit in the gap that normally would be a routine double now becomes a home run just because of the deep fences. Lastly, the base paths have remained 60 feet but with lefty slappers getting down the line in less than 3.0 secs, it makes it difficult to get them out. There has been some talk that we should move the base paths to 65 or 70 feet or so.
 
Dec 18, 2014
264
16
Bats today are practically slingshots. A ball shouldn't go over the fence just reaching out and making good contact with a fastball. It should be a fly ball out. IMO, they detract from the game.
 
Jun 12, 2015
3,594
38
As a pitcher's mom watching my 11 year old release a ball to a batter so close from her precious head, I would vote for doing something about the bats.

Westwind, my DD loves pitching and she's cool as a cucumber in the circle, from her very first game. I think she was just made to do it. She can load the bases with no outs and get out of it without giving up a run. She can give up a grand slam then strike out the next two batters and end the inning. Stuff just does not get to her. Sometimes it actually bothers me because I think if you give up a grand slam maybe you SHOULD be a little rattled. But anyway, my point is, nothing about the GAME seems to rattle her at all, ever. I've seen her in tears only maybe two times over pitching and both times, it was the umpire. She's older now and it's not tears, it's anger. When she gets a good umpire (more and more rare it seems) she's on cloud 9. They can make or break the game for a pitcher. Esp one with a curve ball that skates so pretty over the front corner of the plate.
 

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