Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Moyer's Pep Talk at Notre Dame

MLB Pitcher Jamie Moyer talks with the Irish baseball team.
Work hard, get better every day and keep a notebook to document your progress.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Left-Handed Pickoff Move

This three-part video series covers the pickoff move to first base by a left-handed pitcher.

Part 1 "Mistakes"

Part 2 "The Move"

Part 3 -"The Throw"

(Source: Pinkman Baseball)

Article published in Collegiate Baseball News.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Keep your head quiet

Writer Eric Liu learns how to throw a change-up from Bryan Price, former pitching coach for the Seattle Mariners. One key suggestion about pitching is to "keep your head quiet."

The timing of this lesson, it turns out, was rather apt. All my life, I've been the equivalent of a fastball pitcher—trying to use blazing speed and brute force to wow the people I face. Lately I've been realizing that it would help if I knew how to change speeds from time to time, to be less predictable.

We got to work. My first few attempts at a change-up were wobbly. I had no control, no feel for the pitch in my fingertips. Worse, I began to think about how I had no feel. I began to think how ridiculous I must look, a clueless amateur. Bryan could see a dozen things wrong with my delivery: arm slot too low, hips not turned enough, follow-through too unbalanced, and on and on. But he chose to home in on one thing only: "Keep your head quiet," he said.

This meant making sure I held my head steady and square as I pitched, so my eyes would remain fixed on the target. It also meant not overloading my brain with anxiety and data. A quiet head in the psychological sense is hard to achieve. Bryan got me there by emphasizing a quiet head in the physical sense. By worrying only about keeping my gaze steady and my skull centered, I stopped overthinking.

source:How I Learned to Pitch by Eric Liu - Jan 13, 2005

Liu, author of Guiding Lights, a book about mentoring, has traveled the nation seeking out mentors in a number of widely different fields.

Unbelievably Believable

After winning the Heisman Trophy, Robert Griffin III said:

This is unbelievably believable. 
It's unbelievable because in the moment we're all amazed when great things happen. 
But it's believable because great things don't happen without hard work.

Remember -
Great things don't happen without hard work.

Work hard and have fun during the off-season.


Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fastball Speed: Windup vs Stretch

Is there a difference in velocity when pitching from the Windup or Stretch?
I ran across this interesting article that answers the question.

Does the stretch cost a pitcher fastball speed?

Posted by Mike Fast  - The Hardball Times

It's often said that the stretch costs a pitcher 2-3 miles an hour off his fastball, and (considering how easy that is to check) I'll assume that's roughly accurate. (Rob Neyer)
It is very easy to check, and it turns out that it's not accurate at all. A pitcher's fastball speed turns out to be almost identical with runners on base as compared to his average fastball speed with the bases empty. If anything, the average starting pitcher throws about 0.1 mph harder with runners on base.

Read the article on The Hardball Times


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Justin Verlander wins AL Most Valuable Player

Justin Verlander predicts the debate is over for a few years. Pitchers can now win the Most Valuable Player.

"I think this set a precedent," the Detroit Tigers ace said Monday after becoming the first starting pitcher in a quarter century voted MVP. "I'm happy that the voters acknowledged that, that we do have a major impact in this game and we can be extremely valuable to our team and its success."

After winning the AL's pitching triple crown by going 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts, Verlander received 13 of 28 first-place votes and 280 points from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. He became the first pitcher voted MVP since Oakland's Dennis Eckersley in 1992 and the first starting pitcher since Boston's Roger Clemens in 1986.

November 21, 2011 - 
Verlander wins AL MVP, 1st starter in 25 years by Ronald Blum, AP Sports Writer

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Ed Tseng Exclusive Pat Venditte Interview

Ed Tseng interviews Yankee minor league pitcher, Pat Venditte, the only ambidextrous pitcher (switch-pitcher) in professional baseball.

Ed Tseng asks the million dollar question:

Do you think that anyone can be a switch pitcher, be ambidextrous, with the right training and strategy?

Absolutely, if you start young enough you can train yourself to do anything. It takes a lot of time 
but those breaks are where it comes in ... if you can prove people wrong, then you can continue to do it.and it also takes some breaks. You need those breaks in there. There are going to be a lot of people may try to deter it, but those breaks are where it comes in ... if you can prove people wrong, then you can continue to do it. 
- Pat Venditte

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Justin Verlander wins AL Cy Young Award in 2011

Justin Verlander was the unanimous choice for the AL Cy Young Award in 2011.

Verlander, a right-handed pitcher for the Detroit Tiger's, went 24-5 with a 2.40 ERA and 250 strikeouts.
(source: Associated Press)

Justin Verlander captures third Tiger Cy Young in unanimous fashion - Detroit Free Press

Justin Verlander Stats - ESPN

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Aroldis Chapman throws 105 MPH

It's been said that hitting a baseball is the toughest task in professional sports. Hitting a 100+ MPH fastball off of Reds Aroldis Chapman is nearly impossible. 

Pitching expert Tom House and the Sport Science team explain Chapman's mechanics that enable him to throw 105 MPH. His 7.5 ft stride and quick release gives the hitter a very short time to react to the fastball. 

Aroldis Chapman, the 6' 4" left-handed pitcher, is know as the "Cuban Missile."

The Fastest Pitcher is Baseball History - Baseball Almanac

Aroldis Chapman Statistics and History -

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Interview with Trenton Switch Pitcher Pat Venditte's Matthew Stucko catches up with Yankees Minor Leaguer Pat Venditte, who discusses pitching with both arms and his offseason plans. (video 04:50)

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Drew Vettleson - 2011 Princeton Rays

Drew Vettleson caps steady 2011 performance with impressive stats and two awards
Vettleson proved in his first minor league season that he has the ability to hit for a high average as he finished with a .282 batting average after being above .300 for the greater part of the campaign. He ended the 2011 season in Princeton with 13 doubles, 4 triples and 7 homers in 234 at-bats. (
Read More

Minor League Team: Princeton Rays
Full Name: Drew G. Vettleson
Born: 07/19/1991
Birthplace: Bremerton, WA
Height: 6' 1"
Weight: 185
Bats: L
Throws: R
Position: OF

2011 Stats:
AVG: .282
HR: 7
RBI: 40
SB: 20

Bowling Green Hot Rods
Class A Midwest League 
Ranked by Baseball America as best hitter for average in the Tampa Bay Rays system entering 2012

2012 Stats:
AVG: .289
HR: 10
RBI: 54
SB: 17

Monday, October 10, 2011

What is a perfect game in baseball?

"A no-hitter in which no opposing player reaches first base, either by a base hit, base on balls, hit batter, or fielding error; i.e., the pitcher or pitchers retire all twenty-seven opposing batters in order."
Paul Dickson in The New Baseball Dictionary (1999)

Perfect Games by Pitchers - Baseball Almanac

Perfect Games ( 20 pitchers have tossed perfect games in Major League history.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Pat Venditte Stats

Pat Venditte is an ambidextrous pitcher drafted by the New York Yankees in the 20th round of the 2008 MLB June Amateur Draft. Venditte has been switch pitching, with success, in the minor leagues for the past four seasons.

In 2011, Venditte pitched for the Trenton Thunder, Class AA in the Eastern League. The Thunder team is affiliated with the New York Yankees.

Minors Pitching Stats

After four seasons in the minors, Venditte has a combined record of 13-11 (.542)
with a 2.28 ERA in 173 games.

2011 Season

Pat Venditte went 3-7 (.300) with a 3.40 ERA pitching for the Thunder in 2011.

2012 Season

In 2012, Venditte spent a lot of time on the Disabled List - recovering from a torn labrum in his right shoulder.

Pat Venditte - Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (Triple-A International League)
1-1 record, 2.77 ERA in 7 games, over 13 innings.

2013 Season

Switch-pitcher Pat Venditte will be out until the middle of next season after having surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder. (source:

Pat Venditte Minor League Statistics -

Rawlings Ambidextrous Baseball Glove Prototype

After Googling for ambidextrous baseball gloves, I ran across an eBay auction for a one-of-a-kind Rawlings Ambidextrous Baseball Glove Prototype.

This prototype looks like a glove design that my son came up with when he was ten.
Make a glove that has two webs.

Of course, there is problem with this design - Where do the fingers go?

From the backside, it looks like the middle fingers might go into finger loops on the outside of the glove.

Glove description from the seller:

RARE Rawlings prototype HOH DOUBLE WEB baseball glove

My uncle was the glove supervisor at Rawlings for over 40 years,  he saved a few prototypes.  This one is the last of his collection and the Holy Grail.....  This prototype was made with two webs.  Very unusual and one of a kind!  It was displayed at the Missouri Rawlings Headquarters years ago.  Please check my 100% positive feedback before you bid,  I listed two other prototypes tonight,  this is the only glove that I'm going to put a reserve on, and if it doesn't sell, it may go to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

thanks, Terry
(Springfield, Missouri)

Learn more

Best baseball movie ever

Since the movie "Moneyball" was released this year people are asking:

What is the best baseball movie ever made?

The Seattle Times recently published a survey on the topic:

Readers' choice: And the best baseball movie ever is ...

"Field of Dreams" edged runner-up "The Natural" and No. 3 "Bull Durham" in voting this week for the best baseball movie ever. "Moneyball" was a distant ninth in our Take 2 poll.

1."Field of Dreams"
2. "The Natural" 
3. "Bull Durham"
4. "Major League"
5. "The Bad News Bears"
6. "The Pride of the Yankees"
7. "A League of their Own"
8. "Eight Men Out"
9. "Moneyball" 
10. "Bang the Drum Slowly"
(source: The Seattle Times)

What are your favorite baseball movies?

Friday, September 16, 2011

Baseball Bullpen App

Are you looking for an inexpensive mobile app to track pitch counts or record bullpen sessions?

Baseball Bullpen is an intuitive utility for coaches, parents, players, scouts, and fans to easily track and improve a pitcher's performance. 
(source: Hachisoft Corporation)

Learn more

$1.99 at the App Store

I watched a short iPad demo of the Baseball Bullpen app that looked interesting. I don't think the speed indicator would be very accurate (depending on your reaction time), but the pitch type and location tracking would be handy.

View the Baseball Bullpen demo by Paul Reddick

Ryan Perez - Ambidextrous Pitcher Video

Ambidextrous Pitcher Ryan Perez

Ryan Perez throws consistently, right or left-handed, in the 86-88 mph range. Ryan is a natural right-hander who learned to throw with both hands when he was three years old.

Video of Ryan Perez, pitching right and left-handed in the Chicago White Sox Area Code game. He uses a special six-finger glove from Akadema.

Monday, September 12, 2011

How fast does Ryan Perez throw?

Ryan plays with a special mitt that he can wear on either hand. It was his dad who taught Ryan how to use both hands as a toddler. This past spring, Ryan went 9-1, with a 1.56 ERA. He has a full arsenal of pitches and is the first high school pitcher to be clocked over 90 mph with both arms.
“The fastball, the changeup, the curve and the slider on both sides, and he has the velocity. The velocity was surprising. I didn’t think he would touch 90 at this age, but he been gunned on scouts and colleges on 90 both ways,” his father said.
Pitching with both arms has its advantages, but what a lot of people don’t realize is that he has to put in double the work and needs to practice fielding from both sides. On top of that, he‘s also a switch hitter.

Source: Switch Pitcher Hoping to Take Both Arms to Big Leagues
Megan Mawicke, CBS Chicago
July 13, 2011

Two Arms Better Than One - Interview with ambidextrous pitcher Ryan Perez

Ryan Perez has become a spectacle for fans and scouts to witness at Westminster Christian, a school of 350 students in Chicago's suburbs. Perez can throw a fastball, changeup, cutter and curveball with both arms, and he's been clocked at 90 mph right-handed and 87 mph left-handed.

Pitching Velocity
Right-handed: 91-92 mph
Left-handed:   87-88 mph

by Scott Powers,
May 23, 2011

How fast does Pat Venditte throw?

In a recent interview with Matt Leon, Pat Venditte said that his velocity is better from the right side.

Steve Boyle for ESPN Magazine

Right-handed: 88-90 mph

Left-handed:   81-85 mph

It takes him less time to warmup left-handed - throwing sidearm. He states that locating 2 to 3 pitches with a consistent delivery is the key to his success as a switch-pitcher.


Pat Venditte Interview - 2011

Trenton’s Venditte An Effective Switch…Pitcher

August 4, 2011
Pat Venditte was a 20th round draft pick of the Yankees back in 2008, out of Creighton. Now 26-years-old, Venditte is one of the top relievers for their Double-A team, the Thunder. And he is ambidextrous, having become an effective reliever with both his left and right arms.
A natural right-hander, Venditte has pitched in 41 games this season, compiling a 2.82 ERA. In 73 1/3 innings, he has allowed just 61 hits while striking out 71. This success is nothing new. In four pro seasons, he has compiled a 2.03 ERA.

Listen to Matt Leon’s interesting interview with Pat Venditte 

source: CBS Philly

Monday, May 23, 2011

High School Switch Pitcher Ryan Perez Throws 90 mph

Ambidextrous pitcher, Ryan Perez, from Westminster Christian is dominating on the mound.

Ryan Perez has become a spectacle for fans and scouts to witness at Westminster Christian, a school of 350 students in Chicago's suburbs. Perez can throw a fastball, changeup, cutter and curveball with both arms, and he's been clocked at 90 mph right-handed and 87 mph left-handed.
Perez's two arms have been no match for the local competition this season. He has a 9-1 record with a 1.56 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 63 innings this season. He's pitched predominately left-handed (44 innings) because he also plays at shortstop and third base right-handed when he's not on the mound. 
(source: Scott Powers,
Read article ..

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Trenton switch-pitcher Pat Venditte takes on the Squirrels

Pat Venditte, 25, is professional baseball's only ambidextrous pitcher. When right-handed batters step up to the plate, Venditte throws right-handed. When lefties are at bat, then Venditte pitches left-handed, mainly throwing sliders.

What happens when he faces a switch-hitter such as Flores, as was the case in the sixth inning Thursday?

Baseball created a rule to address the situation. Venditte is required to declare which arm he will use before the switch-hitter enters the batter's box. As Flores approached the plate, Venditte raised his right arm, indicating he would pitch right-handed.

"Whatever he wants. Doesn't matter to me," said Flores, who batted left-handed and struck out.

Trenton's Venditte shows Richmond his switch-pitching ability
By JOHN O'CONNOR, Richmond Times-Dispatch
Published: April 29, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Switch pitcher Ryan Perez has a chance to dominate

 Chicago teen can switch hit and pitch

High school pitcher Ryan Perez is a southpaw and a righty, too. The Chicago-area junior can throw strikes with either arm. Major colleges are interested in him. But Ryan isn't sure what the fuss is about. He says he's been throwing with both arms of all of his life. 

He hopes to become the first switch pitcher in the major leagues in two decades. But Ryan isn't just a switch pitcher. He's also a switch hitter, with .418 average for Westminster Christian School in Elgin, Illinois. (Source: AP, May 2011)


2) Ryan Perez – P, Westminster Christian, 2012 
Switch pitcher that has a chance to dominate with both throwing arms. FB was 87-88 topping 91 right handed and sat 84 left handed topping out at 86. CH was straight, 79, RH while 76 with fade LH. RH breaking ball was tight with late break at 67. 

Ambidextrous pitcher Ryan Perez evaluated
by Tampa Bay Rays Minor League Pitching coordinator

Ryan Perez is a pitching coach’s dream prospect.
He throws a cutter, curveball, change-up and a fastball that tops out above 80 mph, and he is entering his sophomore year of high school at Westminster Christian in Elgin.
But what separates him from the other 15-year-old pitchers in the Continental Amateur Baseball Association World Series is his ability to throw those pitches with either arm, a rare switch-pitcher.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Pitching warmup routine

It's a good idea to establish a regular routine before pitching in a game. Get the advice of a pitching coach and follow it before pitching.

Pitchers on the local Koufax team start with this warmup sequence:

Run, stretch, throw,
then warmup pitching in the bullpen with a catcher
and work on the game plan

Go over signals and figure out which pitches are working that day

Make sure that the next pitcher in the rotation has time to warm up an inning before they go into the game.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Avoid overuse injuries

A warning on overuse injuries for youths

Personal Health: A look at how some school-age competitors develop serious overuse injuries, and what can be done to protect the young athletes.
The New York Times
Just as warming weather brings millions of young athletes back onto sports fields, a major athletics association has renewed this warning: Some school-age competitors who are inadequately prepared, or improperly coached, continue to develop serious overuse injuries. Read More
National Athletic Trainers’ Association Position Statement:
Prevention of Pediatric Overuse Injuries

"Proper training and conditioning, both before and during the season, may prevent overuse injuries," the athletic trainers' association said. The group recommended starting a fitness-improvement program at least two months before the sport's season begins.

Switch Pitching can help to prevent overuse injuries by alternating the use of throwing arms. For youth pitchers, throwing one inning left, then another right-handed can work well.

Slow pitching works against big hitters

Amazingly, slow pitching works well against big hitters. Slow pitching worked great for Jamie Moyer in the big  leagues, so it can also work well in youth leagues.

At a recent 13U tournament, the small guys locating slow pitches in the zone kept big hitters off balance and swinging early.

The big power pitchers over threw, hitting the backstop or bouncing the ball in front of the plate. No pitchers dominated the game, but the slow pitchers forced pop ups and easy ground balls to get hitters out without much effort.

Most hitters spend a lot of time practicing to hit the fast ball and don't spend much time working on hitting  slower pitches. In game situations, they slow down their swing trying to make contact with the slower pitch. Swinging a bat slowly will result in a weakly hit ground ball or popup for an easy out.

Remember to locate pitches in the strike zone. Work in some off speed pitches including the change-up. Rely on your fielders to make the outs. Keep moving the ball around the corners of the strike zone.

Throw low in the strikezone to induce grounders. Keep the hitter guessing by changing speed and location.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Learning Pitches

Start with developing a good fastball. Ball control and movement is more important than velocity. The aim is to keep batters off balance and mess with their timing. It's nice to be able to blow the ball past the hitter, but pitch location helps to get hitters out.

4 -seam fastball is the primary pitch (two fingers across the seams, thumb on bottom)
2-seam fastball uses the same arm motion and speed, but with a different grip (with the seams)

4-seam and 2-seam fastballs

The change-up uses the same arm motion of the fastball but the grip is with more fingers causing additional friction on the ball. Young kids often use the claw grip. Older kids tend to use a circle change.

Short video instruction talking about the basics of throwing a knuckleball.

Get a Grip

Four-Seam Grip

The basic baseball grip is the four-seam or across seam grip. The four-seam grip is used for throwing fastballs that will stay up longer and move in a straight path to the target. The more spin, the faster the ball cuts through the air.

Use the four-seam grip for infield throws to bases and cut-off throws from the outfield.

Two-Seam Grip

To get movement on your fastball, try a two-seam grip held with the fingers along the seams. The ball will drop and move when thrown well.

Claw Grip

Young players often use all of their fingers to hold and throw a baseball. Some players call this the three finger grip or box grip - used for the change-up by older players. These throws are slow, but more accurate for young players with small hands.