Thursday, March 5, 2015

Top High School Switch Pitchers 2015

Switch Pitcher Henry Knight, 12:1 strike-to-walk ratio

Ambidextrous Pitchers - Class of 2015

The Class of 2015 has only a handful of switch pitchers, but they are very talented – with the skills to play multiple positions. One ambidextrous fielder has played every position for the varsity team. 

Most of these pitchers are naturally left-handed, but wanted to field other positions when they were young, so they started throwing right-handed. Plus, most ambidextrous players are solid hitters, which is becoming a trademark of this unique group.

Two switch pitchers have already signed to play in college. 

One standout ambidextrous pitcher caught the attention of two dozen coaches, but he decided to focus on studying computer science.  All of these student-athletes plan to attend universities.

This list highlights the top ambidextrous high school baseball players from the class of 2015. Sorted by last name.

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Cole Critchfield (2015) - Star Valley High School, Afton, Wyoming

Cole Critchfield is a 6'2" athlete who plays basketball and baseball. In the summer, he plays P, 1B, and OF for the Jackson Giants of the American Legion.  As a natural lefty, he hits left-handed and his primary position is first base. Velocity is 81-85 mph left-handed.


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Tyler Hopman (2015) - Old Bridge, New Jersey


Tyler Hopman
Tyler Hopman is a 6'5" switch pitcher who plays for Old Bridge High School Knights in New Jersey. In an interview, he said that he feels a lot stronger throwing lefty. Velocity is 82 mph left-handed. 

When not pitching, Hopman plays center field right-handed. He bats exclusively from the left side.


College commitment: Saint Peter's University, NJ

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Kurt Johnson (2015) - Royal High School, Simi Valley, California

Kurt Johnson
Simi Valley, California
Kurt Johnson is a 6'1" ambidextrous thrower who plays 1B and Pitcher. Johnson is listed as a BHP on Perfect Game, with an 80 mph fastball (2013). Threw a no-hitter as a freshman pitching five innings left-handed and the last two right-handed.


College commitment: Sacramento State as a LHP.


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Henry Knight (2015) - Franklin High School, Seattle, Washington

Henry Knight is a switch hitter and ambidextrous pitcher who has played every  position in high school. At 5'8", Knight is a quick infielder with an excellent glove - starting on varsity since his freshman year.

Knight also serves as a relief pitcher and closer – recording the best strikeout-to-walk ratio (12:1) in the Seattle Metro league. As a student of the game, he combines a mental approach to pitching with Perry Husband's theory of Effective Velocity to throw off the hitter's approach and timing.

As a switch hitter, he posted a 10-game hitting streak with a .640 OBP. In the past 4 years, he hit over .500 in summer ball – swinging a wood bat.

Henry Knight warming up to switch pitch in a summer game
During the summer, Knight played shortstop, second base, catcher and pitcher for the Columbia City Reds in Seattle. He posted a 0.875 ERA as a closer - helping the Reds team to a 3rd place finish in the Mickey Mantle state tournament.

Knight threw 94 strikes over 11 innings in a summer game as the starting switch pitcher. He held the hard-hitting Seattle Select team scoreless over the final nine innings in 90 degree heat.


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Brett Kolacki (2015) - Bremen High School, Midlothian, Illinois

Brett Kolacki
Kolacki is a 6'5" ambidextrous pitcher at Bremen High School.  As a junior, he posted 46 strikeouts in 46.2 IP. He plays OF/INF and bats right-handed. Kolacki is naturally left-handed, but throws about the same speed with both arms. Velocity is 80-83 mph left-handed.






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High School Switch Pitchers >>


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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Pat Venditte switch pitches in spring game

Oakland A's Ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte threw with both arms in a Cactus League opener against the SF Giants on March 3, 2015.


Venditte begins spring by recording an out with each arm

A's hurler shows off switch-pitching skills in Cactus opener

by Jane Lee / MLB.com


MESA AZ -- What has become a routine act for Pat Venditte is an astonishing sight for those watching him.


The A's switch-pitcher introduced himself to Cactus League on Tuesday, recording two outs against the Giants -- one with each arm -- as fans, and even teammates, ooed and aahed.


Read more and watch the video



A's switch pitcher Pat Venditte impresses again

By Susan Slusser, SF Gate, Thursday, March 5, 2015

Mesa, Ariz. - Along with starter Barry Zito, the A’s had their other unusual non-roster pitcher in action on Thursday.

Ambidextrous reliever Pat Venditte followed Zito, working the third inning, and he retired the top three men in the Cubs order, Dexter Fowler, Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro. ...

“He gets it done,” Carlin said. “He hits his spots. The slider is a good slider. (Switch pitching) is an interesting weapon. … It definitely has its advantages, I feel like more so than a switch hitter.”

Read more




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Aubrey McCarty makes debut for Vandy

Switch Pitcher McCarty throws in first college game

Aubrey McCarty
photo: Vandy Baseball
Vandy's Carson Fulmer strikes out 11 in 16-1 win

By Adam Sparks, asparks@tennessean.com
The Tennessean
Friday, 27 Feb 2015

Joey Abraham and Collin Snider pitched hitless seventh and eighth innings, respectively, and "switch pitcher" Aubrey McCarty, a freshman, made his debut.
McCarty throws right-handed to right-handed batters and lefty to left-handed hitters, a skill he picked up at 11 years old when he injured his right arm and tried throwing from the opposite side.
"It plays a mind game, especially if the other team doesn't know I can do it," McCarty said.
McCarty struck out two right-handed, walked a batter lefty and allowed an RBI triple righty before finishing off the last out.