Do you ever take "inventory" on your pitchers?

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Jan 25, 2022
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I've been thinking a lot about the upcoming season (HS) and the pitchers are capable of. The current pitching staff is sort-of new to the team. I've been thinking (not that it's my decision) that it would be good to spend a couple hours with them and have them throw X number of different pitches, fastball location assessment, etc, to see where they stand. How accurate are they at hitting a spot with the FB? How often does the curve work? The drop? Does the change-up work? What's the speed vs the fastball? At what percentage are they hitting the zone when tested on it? Do the percentages and successes change significantly with a batter in the box? Which direction does she typically miss when she misses?

Then take all this kind of data and come up with AT LEAST some basic rules or absolutes.

Do you all have these assessments before the season? If so, how do you go about it? It's been quite a few years since our program has been in a position to have multiple pitchers with enough ability to even consider these kinds of questions. I would love to be able to take advantage of it, and more importantly, learn what they CAN'T do so we can avoid attempting it.
 
Aug 1, 2019
901
93
MN
I've been thinking a lot about the upcoming season (HS) and the pitchers are capable of. The current pitching staff is sort-of new to the team. I've been thinking (not that it's my decision) that it would be good to spend a couple hours with them and have them throw X number of different pitches, fastball location assessment, etc, to see where they stand. How accurate are they at hitting a spot with the FB? How often does the curve work? The drop? Does the change-up work? What's the speed vs the fastball? At what percentage are they hitting the zone when tested on it? Do the percentages and successes change significantly with a batter in the box? Which direction does she typically miss when she misses?

Then take all this kind of data and come up with AT LEAST some basic rules or absolutes.

Do you all have these assessments before the season? If so, how do you go about it? It's been quite a few years since our program has been in a position to have multiple pitchers with enough ability to even consider these kinds of questions. I would love to be able to take advantage of it, and more importantly, learn what they CAN'T do so we can avoid attempting it.
If you did some charting your pitchers might be surprised at data showing what works vs. what they think works. That would be a start. Are you or another coach going to call pitches in games?
 
Jan 25, 2022
850
93
If you did some charting your pitchers might be surprised at data showing what works vs. what they think works. That would be a start. Are you or another coach going to call pitches in games?

I really don't know what's gonna happen. It's semi-complicated. It may end up being the catcher, but I don't think a good decision can be made until the data has been collected. The catcher has seen more of the pitches from these girls, but really not very many. This is kinda the first time we're in a position to really strategize much with pitching, as opposed to the past couple seasons where we were just trying to have someone consistently get it across the plate. Officially I'm just a parent when it comes to HS, but I'm the most knowledgeable when it comes to fastpitch mechanics. The other coaches know more about when to throw or NOT throw this or that, but that's based on baseball coaching experience. We're all trying to learn and share as we go.

My thing is, what's the best way to collect this data and what kind of things am I possibly not considering? Surely this is a common thing? For my own kid, I've caught thousands of pitches so I know what she can throw well and not well, and how accurately she can throw it. No one else really knows that kind of info about our other two, who are both more experienced than my kid.
 
Aug 21, 2008
2,333
113
I've been thinking a lot about the upcoming season (HS) and the pitchers are capable of. The current pitching staff is sort-of new to the team. I've been thinking (not that it's my decision) that it would be good to spend a couple hours with them and have them throw X number of different pitches, fastball location assessment, etc, to see where they stand. How accurate are they at hitting a spot with the FB? How often does the curve work? The drop? Does the change-up work? What's the speed vs the fastball? At what percentage are they hitting the zone when tested on it? Do the percentages and successes change significantly with a batter in the box? Which direction does she typically miss when she misses?

Then take all this kind of data and come up with AT LEAST some basic rules or absolutes.

Do you all have these assessments before the season? If so, how do you go about it? It's been quite a few years since our program has been in a position to have multiple pitchers with enough ability to even consider these kinds of questions. I would love to be able to take advantage of it, and more importantly, learn what they CAN'T do so we can avoid attempting it.
Ok, how will you factor in the intangibles? Adrenaline. Field conditions. The ball in play. The umpire. The pitcher's ability to stay relaxed after an HR or error.

What so many people don't understand is, bullpen sessions are a lot like going to the golf driving range. When I'm there, I can hit the ball long and straight. It's incredible. Put me on an actual golf course and everything changes. Should that happen?? After all, I hit 2 buckets of balls before my round of golf. But, there's things in the real game that don't happen in practice. I wish that wasn't so. Now, I'm not telling you your idea is horrible. I'm not saying not to practice. What I am saying is, it's just not the same.
 
Sep 19, 2018
902
93
I'd suggest that you are going to have to go through this at the beginning of just about every game. What works todday is not necessarily what worked in practice.
 
Jan 25, 2022
850
93
Ok, how will you factor in the intangibles? Adrenaline. Field conditions. The ball in play. The umpire. The pitcher's ability to stay relaxed after an HR or error.

What so many people don't understand is, bullpen sessions are a lot like going to the golf driving range. When I'm there, I can hit the ball long and straight. It's incredible. Put me on an actual golf course and everything changes. Should that happen?? After all, I hit 2 buckets of balls before my round of golf. But, there's things in the real game that don't happen in practice. I wish that wasn't so. Now, I'm not telling you your idea is horrible. I'm not saying not to practice. What I am saying is, it's just not the same.

Thanks for the input!

I probably should have mentioned that we're very unproven from a pitching standpoint. For the most part, none of us have enough experience around these specific pitchers to REALLY know what they can and can't do, even in the most perfect conditions (like practice). We know what they SAY they can do, but they're kids. And without that information, whatever they throw in a game is essentially a crapshoot for the coaching staff. But if we had one of them throw 20 curves in practice and she only landed 7 of them, we would be hesitant to call that pitch at any time. And as it stands right now, we don't even have that data for basic fastballs. It sucks, but that's where we're at. I just feel like we should be some level of prepared to at least have a starting point to build from. We can track the success in games as well, and possibly account for certain conditions, etc over time. But we have to start somewhere.
 
Jan 25, 2022
850
93
I'd suggest that you are going to have to go through this at the beginning of just about every game. What works todday is not necessarily what worked in practice.

I do think we need to manage the pitchers more closely now that there is an actual group of kids who are training as pitchers as opposed to kids who can just get it over the plate to keep the game alive.
 
Oct 4, 2018
4,556
113
I'd suggest that you are going to have to go through this at the beginning of just about every game. What works todday is not necessarily what worked in practice.

Yeah, the less experienced the pitcher the more variation you'll have game to game. Two years ago my DD would pitch horrible one day and brilliantly the next. It was fairly unpredictable. Fortunately (for her), we learned quickly to just stop on the off days. We had/have a saying "Well at least the crappy pitching happened on a practice day". We felt we got it our of her system and would do better the next time.

I do like your idea. Measuring things is important. Without benchmarks and measurements it can be hard to gauge improvement. And it should be very good for girls and parents (and coaches) to see what they can do, to know their strengths and weaknesses. I think it's a great idea.
 
May 17, 2012
2,794
113
Do you all have these assessments before the season? If so, how do you go about it? It's been quite a few years since our program has been in a position to have multiple pitchers with enough ability to even consider these kinds of questions. I would love to be able to take advantage of it, and more importantly, learn what they CAN'T do so we can avoid attempting it.

I think you are looking for a catcher. Ask them. Ask them specifically after they warm up the pitcher before the game what's working and what's not. Be candid, include your pitcher in the conversation. Ask for the pitcher's input. Continue those conversations during the game.

I agree with Bill that taking inventory outside of game conditions doesn't hold a lot of value.
 
Jan 25, 2022
850
93
I think you are looking for a catcher. Ask them. Ask them specifically after they warm up the pitcher before the game what's working and what's not. Be candid, include your pitcher in the conversation. Ask for the pitcher's input. Continue those conversations during the game.

I agree with Bill that taking inventory outside of game conditions doesn't hold a lot of value.

We have one catcher with experience, and she's sharp and can have that conversation, but even she hasn't seen enough pitches from any of these girls to have a good grasp on it. I've talked to her some about it already, though. She's a valuable asset.
 

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