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PITCHERS TOOLBOX

Jan 28, 2017
942
43
Throw my $.02...

Most pitchers have control of three pitches. The curve drop is simply a poorly thrown drop ball. If a pitcher doesn't get the 6-12 spin right, the ball tails to the outside.
If you throw it as an off speed pitch, do you feel the same way? DD throws 54/55 and throws kinda out the back change that is 46/47 with good down and away movement like a drop curve.
Her change is 42/43
 
Oct 2, 2011
3,608
113
Florida
My DD is a little different or at least her PC and DD think about it this way - but it probably is saying the same thing slightly differently...
For reference, DD is currently a committed senior who will pitch in college next year and plays on a strong 18U-A team in Florida. I would call her team at the level right below the elite teams - we win about 75% of our 'A' level games but are 5-15 against the truly elite national level teams that are stacked with D1 talent from top to bottom. We compete HARD. No one likes having us on the schedule. DD cruises in the 58-60mph range most days so she can't rely on just blowing it by most 18U-A teams around here.

I am a believer that any pitch CAN be effective if you have mastery of it, and a plan (or preferably plans) to go with it. I have known many D1 girls who are purely fastball/changeup pitchers (no matter what their dad says) who have been very successful in college purely because of location/speed and some sort of change of speed.

DD will tell you most days she has these pitches

Curve, Rise, Change (for strike), Change (in dirt)

- Her curve is hugely hard to square up because it can both drop and also rise 'depending on how I finish it' (whatever that means - it works for her). Her plan is to maximize the curve, but also have it change heights. When she does mess it up and leaves it flat or doesn't get the movement she wants, it does still tend always to be outside - and most batters suck at driving the ball the other way, so there you go. She can also throw it at the batter and try and catch an inside corner. You could possibly call it a drop or rise I guess; but the intent is curve first, up/down second

- Rise... DD is not tall. So her goal is to have it cross the zone about a couple of balls above the top of the zone. Lots of swings and misses since her release is low and it spends a lot of time in the zone on the way to the batter before being out of it. She'll throw it for a strike quite often as well. This pitch has been a tough one for her, but the good news has always been when she doesn't get it quite right it tends to be a high screwball out of the zone so mistakes don't get punished though she does occasionally hit a batter with it.

- Change.. she has two different changes; it is subtle but one she wants in the zone and one she wants to land right at the back of the plate. She will often throw them right after each other and as her bucket-dad, I can tell you that they look very similar until they don't. The second one has more of a drop spin.

DD has a variety of sequences she likes to throw of the above pitches. She feels she has plans for most types of batters, strike zones, wind and mound conditions she can work with. If she is off with one pitch, she feels she can survive on the other two. DD by nature likes to think these through. These are her go-to strike out pitches when she is ahead in the count.

She has two other weapons she mixes in or goes to:
- "Fastest ball" - while DD throws hard, every now and then she will go for a blast pitch and put everything in to it. There is enough extra in it that it is a good enough change of speed that she can get it past girls and even if she doesn't they tend to foul it off and it sets up the next change or curve well.
-"Last resort 2-seam tailing fast ball" - if things aren't going well, she is having a bad day or the umpire has a zone the size of a tennis ball, she can throw this basically like her curve but with less curve. It is a very effective backup pitch that she can go to when she needs it. She can also move it into the batter as well.

Again, when you break it down simply, it probably is much the same as others have posted here. But this is how I know she talks about her pitching and it has worked for her. One of her teammates is more of the 'big girl, throw hard' pitcher types and I know she doesn't think anything like this; it tends to either go really well or really not well for her; they are a good combination to have.

Edit: And this kind of goes to Hilhouse's post: DD strives to keep her First Pitch Strike rate in the 70%-80% range on a weekend. If she is in that range, she is almost always pitching well.
 
Last edited:
May 15, 2008
737
43
Cape Cod Mass.
You also have to consider a given pitch's effectiveness against right hand vs left hand hitters. A right hand pitcher's drop curve thrown to the left outside corner of the plate will be more effective against left hand hitters because the ball is breaking 'across' the width of the bat: same pitch to a right hand hitter is breaking with the length of the bat and more likely to find the sweet spot on the barrel.
 

RADcatcher

Possibilities & Opportunities!
Dec 13, 2019
1,175
113
California
You also have to consider a given pitch's effectiveness against right hand vs left hand hitters. A right hand pitcher's drop curve thrown to the left outside corner of the plate will be more effective against left hand hitters because the ball is breaking 'across' the width of the bat: same pitch to a right hand hitter is breaking with the length of the bat and more likely to find the sweet spot on the barrel.
Do agree consider effectiveness of pitch R/L!
Also
Depending on the batter some of those lefties are used to extending well.

Like inside drop on lefty run & bunt/slap/hit'ers.
__________________
Do NOT care to throw curve into the barrel.
Curves into the wheelhouse.
Spin and bat react like an explosion.

Its the opposite reason why going with an outside pitch is more effective producing good contact.
Or rather
Why you dont want to try and pull an outside curve spinning away.
 
Last edited:
Jan 28, 2017
942
43
Had a former WS championship pitcher that threw drop, rise, and change calling pitches for my daughter and told me that she doesn’t really like the curve ball but would call my daughters curve ball a lot and especially to LH hitters. Always thought that was odd.
 
Apr 28, 2014
1,630
113
Having the head to pitch is the real secret. How many pitchers have you seen with all of the best stuff but a 10 cent head?
You can have the kids with all the skills in the toolbox, I'll take the kid with the mental toughness any day!
 

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