Tuesday, June 30, 2015

How rare are ambidextrous pitchers?

Henry Knight switch pitcher
Henry Knight, switch pitcher, had a 12:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in high school

Ambidextrous pitchers are extremely rare in high school baseball.

One in A Million

In the USA, the chance of meeting a high school ambidextrous pitcher is 1 in a million.* 

For comparison...

What are the odds of getting struck by lightning?
The odds of becoming a lightning victim in the U.S. in any one year is 1 in 700,000. The odds of being struck in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000. (source: nationalgeographic.com)

How many switch pitchers are playing high school baseball?

It's tricky to come up with an exact number of high school switch pitchers in the USA, but based on news reports in the past five years I can up with a rough estimate.

The ratio is about ...

1 ambidextrous pitcher per 22,500 HS players

Note: This estimate is based on verified information from reliable sources, including news channels, newspapers, coaches,  recruiting networks, Perfect Game, and HS Baseball Web

How many switch pitchers per class?

In 2015, there were only 6 switch pitchers out of ~135,000 players in the senior class.
(NCAA - number of High School Baseball Players)

There are usually 5 to 7 switch pitchers in entire USA per graduating class.
List of Switch Pitchers >>

Is there a switch pitcher in the MLB?

Pat Venditte is the only switch pitcher in major league baseball. Venditte was called up to the big leagues on June 5, 2015 and made his stellar debut with the Oakland Athletics vs Boston Red Sox.

In 2015, he regularly threw both ways as a relief pitcher for the Nashville Sounds (AAA - Athletics organization).

How many switch pitchers are in college baseball?

A few switch pitchers throw in college - Aubrey McCarty (Vanderbilt), Alex Trautner (Creighton), Marcus Garcia (Sierra College) and Ryan Perez (Judson). Perez, who throws 90+ mph with both arms, has a good chance of being drafted.

What is a switch pitcher?

A switch pitcher, also know as an ambidextrous pitcher,  has the ability to throw multiple innings with either arm in baseball games. They have the ability to switch throwing arms between batters, to gain an advantage (left-on-left or right-on-right), but often stick with throwing from one side during an inning.

When do kids start throwing with both arms?

Switch pitchers are rarely naturally ambidextrous. Switch pitching is a skill that is developed with lots of practice. Ambidextrous pitchers often start throwing with both arms when they are young.

Pat Venditte, who switch pitches in the minor leagues, started throwing both ways when he was only 3 years old.

Henry Knight, a successful high school pitcher, started throwing with his non-dominant arm at age 9, and switch pitching in games when he was 10 years old.

Ambidextrous Glove

Typically, high school switch pitchers use a six-fingered glove, with two thumb slots, that can be worn on either hand.


More information

Chances of a switch pitcher playing in college

Sounds Ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte has the rarest of MLB skills

Estimated probability of competing in college baseball (NCAA.org)


US Census 2010 (*out of all high school age students)

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Ryan Perez - Switch Pitcher News 2015

News articles about Ryan Perez - a minor league ambidextrous pitcher who pitched at Judson University in Illinois.

Ryan Perez, who can throw 90+ mph with both arms, was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the 2015 MLB Draft.

Scrappers' pitcher highlights rarity of ambidexterity

Ryan Perez had a solid inning switch pitching in the Cape Cod All Star Game. Perez came away with a win and the MVP award!

Ryan Perez, Switch Pitcher - Cape Cod League
Ryan Perez - Hyannis Harbor Hawks
In the summer, Ryan Perez switch pitches for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks in the famous Cape Cod League. Perez made the roster for the Cape Cod League - All Star Game.

Perez throws 88-90 mph right-handed, and tops out at 94 mph left-handed.

“As a lefthander he’s definitely a prospect. As a righthander he can help you, but as a lefthander I feel like he is a definite pro prospect." - Chad Gassman, manager of the Hyannis Harbor Hawks

2014 Pitching Stats

Hyannis Harbor Hawks - Cape Cod League 

2.05 ERA. 0-1 record, 1 save 
26.1 IP, 38 SO, 13 BB, 30 H

source: Cape Cod Baseball League - pointstreak.com
updated: July 23, 2014

Judson Eagles 2014  (42-19)

2.43 ERA, 12-3 record in 24 games (14 games started) 
111 IP, 92 SO, 45 BB, .231 BA


Perez, an ambidextrous pitcher from Judson University, in the Chicago suburbs, is expected to be selected within the first 10 rounds of next week's Draft. - Phil Rogers, MLB.com

MLB Draft Prospect

Interesting Talents With Top 5 Round Upside
Ryan Perez, BHP, Judson (IL): This switch pitcher from a tiny college in Illinois isn’t just a sideshow. Perez is better from the left side, where he’s 90-93 with a plus slider at his best, and both pitches are a tick or two lower from the right side.  He has solid command, but some scouts only saw average stuff at times and wonder if he can go in the top 5 rounds since they haven’t seen a changeup either.
(source: fangraphs )

Gene Chamberlain, Elgin Courier-News

The decision Juan Perez made so many years ago to have his son, Ryan, skip stones using both hands could pay off in the next few days.
Judson University pitcher Ryan Perez has gone from a curiosity in baseball scouts' eyes to a legitimate candidate for this week's major-league draft. The real question now is which team will take him, which round and whether the team is willing to let him continue throwing with both arms.
"He's the only known member of the 93-93 club," Juan Perez said. "He's topped out at 93 mph with both arms."

College Baseball
Judson baseball advances in CCAC Tournament
Courier-News staff, 3 May 2015

Host Judson advanced to Monday's winners' bracket final of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Baseball Tournament by rolling past Holy Cross (Ind.) 14-5 on Saturday.
Billy Wright was 4-for-5 with a homer, four runs scored and two RBIs for Judson (38-18). Mark DeYoung went 4-for-5 with two runs and five RBIs for the Eagles, while Cameron Balough finished 2-for-3 with four runs and two RBIs.
Ryan Perez (4-0) pitched four-hit ball over six innings for the win, striking out 10 and allowing one earned run.

Ryan Perez's return a highlight, but Judson swept in doubleheader
Chicago Tribune‎ - 18 April 2015

It was only one inning, and just 12 pitches at that, but ambidextrous pro prospect Ryan Perez showed Saturday that he's back.
Perez proved to be a highlight for host Judson University, and possibly the only one, as the mistake-prone Eagles were swept by Cardinal Stritch 5-1 and 8-5 just after they had finally gotten a foothold on first place in the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference's North Division.
"I felt pretty good, and I'm excited to finally be back left-handed and helping the team out," Perez said after he struck out two batters looking and got another on a weak pop to short right field in the top of the ninth inning of Game 2. "More than anything I think I just need to get back into pitching shape."

Ryan Perez cleared to throw from both sides for Judson

Chicago Tribune‎ - 9 April 2015

Ambidextrous pitcher Ryan Perez is closer to pitching full time again for Judson University — with both arms.
Perez, MVP of the all-star game in the prestigious amateur Cape Cod League last summer, has often been mentioned as a potential Major League Baseball draft pick in June. However, he has been able to throw only 7 1/3 innings all year, and that came right-handed due to a strained left triceps.
This week, Perez was given medical clearance to begin throwing again left-handed, and it may not be long until he can resume his role as part of the starting staff's 1-2 pitching punch with Andrew Bergmann.

Ryan Perez was on the DL in early 2015 due to strained triceps muscles

New infield helps Judson get more reps, sweep St. Xavier

by Gene Chamberlain, Elgin Courier-News

The big problem in northern Illinois is usually waiting for infields to dry out in spring, but Judson didn't have to do that this year because of the FieldTurf infield now in place at Hoffer Field courtesy of the Hoffer Foundation.

The artificial surface took very little getting used to, said pitcher Andrew Bergmann from Hanover Park, who got the win in Game 1 Saturday with an eight-hit, 11-strikeout performance.
"The artificial mound was a little slippery at first, but we've made the adjustment without a problem," he said. ...

Pitching has been a problem because of health. Ambidextrous ace pitcher Ryan Perez, considered a potential pro draft pick, won't be back on the mound until April 14 due to a strained triceps.

2015 MLB Draft Rankings, Way-Too-Early Edition

by Kiley McDaniel | FanGraphs - September 11, 2014 

Interesting Talents With Top 5 Round Upside
Ryan Perez, BHP, Judson (IL): This switch pitcher from a tiny college in Illinois isn’t just a sideshow. Perez is better from the left side, where he’s 90-93 with a plus slider at his best, and both pitches are a tick or two lower from the right side.  He has solid command, but some scouts only saw average stuff at times and wonder if he can go in the top 5 rounds since they haven’t seen a changeup. either.

Cape Cod League Top 30 Prospects

By Aaron Fitt | Baseball America‎ - Aug 29, 2014

27. Ryan Perez, lhp/rhp, Hyannis (Jr., Judson, Ill.)
Perez came out of nowhere and took the Cape Cod League by storm, posting a 1.98 ERA and a 39-13 strikeout-walk mark in 27 innings. He struck out three straight batters in the league all-star game—two of them with his left arm, and one with his right. He sat at 90-91 mph from both sides in that appearance.

“That was the first time I’d ever seen anything like that—the same stuff from both sides in the same inning,” an NL crosschecker said. “I had to look up where Judson was—I’d never heard of it. He’s a prospect.”
Read more

Is ambidextrous Perez baseball's future?

Twenty-year-old college junior dazzles in Cape Cod League

8/19/2014 mlb.com
An almost unbelievable, largely unexpected summer behind him, Ryan Perez couldn't help himself. When the ambidextrous 20-year-old considered his baseball future, and specifically how he might one day fit onto the pitching staff of a Major League team, he was bursting with excitement.
"It's really, sort of, endless possibilities," said Perez, who at the time was driving across the Midwest on his way home from the Cape Cod League. "I have starting experience. I have closing. I can switch [from left-handed to right-handed, or vice versa] during innings. I can start and close my own game. Anything you can think of, I've done it, and I've had success with it. It just depends on what they're looking for."

One awesome All-Star Game

by Ted Pappas | Aug 1, 2014

Perez, who was named the West MVP, pitched a perfect three up, three down frame, striking out the side from both sides of the rubber, clocking a 90-91 throw from the right, and a 93 from the left. He didn’t stop there, as the ambidextrous hurler also lobbed a nasty breaking slurve (sliding curve) that broke in on the hitter at 80 mph.
Perez came into the game with a pedestrian ERA of 2.05 across 26.1 innings pitched, albeit with an impressive 38 strikeouts. His electric inning not only clinched the MVP award, but also drew quite a bit of attention at the League’s biggest outing.

Coach Mike Kinnison is ambidextrous

Mike Kinnison

Delta State head baseball coach Mike Kinnison can throw with both right and left hands in batting practice.

Throwing from both arms proves beneficial for Kinnison

17 Jun 2015 Written by Andy Collier
Being ambidextrous is a unique trait for any human being.
Not everyone can do things effectively with both hands. In baseball, there are several hitters that can hit well from either side of the plate, but not many can throw a ball effectively from both the right and left arm.
Delta State head baseball coach Mike Kinnison is one of those individuals that can throw from either hand.
Kinnison's abilities have always made an impression on his former coach and Boston Red Sox Hall of Famer Dave "BooFerriss, who is also ambidextrous.

Coach's Corner with Mike Kinnison - YouTube