Monday, July 16, 2012

From Starting pitcher to closer

As a switch pitcher, sometimes you have to go with whatever it takes to help support your team.

This is especially the case for pitchers on select or tournament teams.  A few players will be the starters, other middle relief pitchers and one or two might be the closer.

What is the role of a switch pitcher in tournament play?

Starter 

If you consistently throw first pitch strikes, and put the ball in play, then you might grab a spot as a starter. Starters are expected to go three or more innings in youth leagues. High school starting pitchers often throw for five or more innings. The best pitchers can throw a complete game. It's important to rely on the fielders and put the ball in play. Many starting pitchers average 12 to 15 pitches per inning.

Middle Relief 

Can you handle pressure situations? Can you get batters to ground out to shortstop? Or hit an easy popup to center field? Then you might grab a spot as a relief pitcher.

Closer 

Can you throw strikes with runners on base? Can you change speeds? Can you challenge the big hitters with an inside fastball? Can you rely on your fielders to make the outs?

Many people think of the closer as throwing heat - the high cheese, and striking out the side. But that's not realistic in most youth teams. The hardest throwers often have the least control. Confidence is a key aspect of being a closer. Believe in your teammates, challenge the hitters, mix up the pitches, change speed, and you can be a closer.

What is the best pitch in baseball? 
Fastball, curveball, slider?
The best pitch in baseball is the first pitch strike (FPS)
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