Saturday, April 27, 2013

Ambidextrous college pitchers

Todd Cason - St. Leo college ambidextrous pitcher
Has there ever been an ambidextrous pitcher in college baseball?

Yes, there have been a few switch pitchers in college baseball.


The best know switch pitcher is Pat Venditte, who played for Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. After a successful college career, Venditte was drafted as a pitcher by the New York Yankees. He is now playing in the minor leagues.

A few switch pitchers played for Division I colleges. Two successful ambidextrous pitchers played for Harvard University.


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List of College Switch Pitchers >>


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About Ambidextrous Pitchers

An ambidextrous pitcher has the ability to consistently throw strikes with either arm in baseball games. Most of the successful ambidextrous pitchers, start out as switch hitters.

Throwing with both arms is not a natural talent – like many people believe. It's a learned skill to throw both-handed. Ambidextrous pitching requires quality instruction, patience, and a lot of hard work.
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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Henry Knight - Switch Pitching Highlights


Henry "H" Knight is having fun as a switch pitcher for Franklin High School
Henry Knight pitching for the Quakers


2014 baseball season 

In 2014, ambidextrous baseball player Henry Knight  was a starting infielder and a relief pitcher for the Columbia City Reds 16U team – in the Mickey Mantle league. He led the team in hitting and on-base-percentage, using a wood bat.
The Reds placed 3rd in the state tournament.

Knight also plays summer ball with the BBB 18U team of the American Legion League in the Seattle area. As an infielder and leadoff hitter, he helped the BBB team win their first tournament over the NW Timberjacks.

As a junior, Knight switch pitched in several games for Franklin HS - with no earned runs - chalking up a 0.00 ERA with a 12:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

If the offseason, Knight trains at Driveline Baseball in Puyallup and the K Center in Seattle.

2013 baseball season 

I
n 2013, Henry Knight  was the starting shortstop and served as a relief pitcher for the Columbia City Reds 15U team – in the Puget Sound Baseball League. As a switch hitter, he led the team with a .677 OBP during the regular season.

As a sophomore, "H" was a starter on varsity for the Franklin Quakers in Seattle. This was his second year playing varsity. Last year, he switch pitched in nine games as a freshman. 

Earned Honorable Mention - Metro League.

Here are some highlights of the 2013 high school season.


Pre-Season Jamboree - SS, LHP/RHP, & Catcher

Henry started out playing shortstop in the two games series. In game one, he pitched lefty and righty in relief – throwing 69% strikes – using a two-seam fastball and change-up. Pitching lefty he got hitters to pop out to second base and throwing righty he induced ground outs to shortstop.

Coach Moody had "H" play catcher – calling pitches – in the second game of the jamboree. A few fans were surprised to see him behind the plate, but playing catcher was his primary position until he was 13-years-old. He switch hit during the series,  and laid down a nice bunt along the first base line.




Double Duty - Pitcher & Catcher 
Henry Knight catching for Franklin High School
In the first regular season game against Renton HS, Henry took the hill on a wet day as a left-handed pitcher -- throwing two scoreless innings and chalking up four Ks. Then he moved behind the plate to call pitches for three innings as a right-handed catcher. 

Batting second in the order, as a switch hitter, he was on base 4-for-5 times -- finishing with two singles, a walk, and HBP. He had two RBIs and added three runs to give the Quakers their first win. 

During the doubleheader against Nathan Hale HS, Henry was the starting catcher for game one, then moved to shortstop for game two and finished as the right-handed closer. He switch hit during the series, ending the first week with a .429 BA and .600 OBP.




Playing Middle Infield - 2B, SS, & RHP
#3 Playing infield for the Quakers

Started at second base against Bainbridge HS and turned a double play in the first inning for the Quakers. Moved to shortstop later in the game and made all the routine plays. He came in as the closer right-handed, pitching to contact three up and three down -- on eight pitches (seven strikes).



Switch Pitching in 10-0 shutout  
March 22, 2013
It's amazing to think that spring has arrived  especially with the hail and snow. 

On Friday, Henry Knight was the starting switch pitcher for the Franklin vs Rainier Beach  game in south Seattle. The cold spring day began with snow and rain, so Rainier field was a mess, but still playable. Fortunately, the sun came out in the afternoon just in time for fans to watch the rival game. 

As a lefty, Henry relied on his two-seam fastball for a one-two-three first inning.

"H" Pitching Righty at Rainier Field
The first batter hit a weak grounder – like a bunt – to the first base side. Henry quickly removed his six-finger glove, fielded the rolling ball barehanded, and threw the runner out – right-handed!

Henry then struck out the next two batters – throwing left-handed.

In the second inning he gave up two weak hits, so two runners were on base with only one out. Henry decided to switch sides and throw right-handed -– to prevent runners from advancing on the novice catcher. Like a veteran pitcher, he retired the next two batters.

"Did you see that? He started out throwing lefty, then he switched to throw righty. I've never seen anything like that  an ambidextrous pitcher,"  commented the field umpire.

In the third inning Henry went back to pitching lefty and had two more strikeouts, plus a grounder that he fielded for the third out.

The switch pitching totally surprised the umpires and fans. It was fun to watch and listen to the comments. "It's a gift" one dad said.

Over three innings, Henry struck out six batters – five throwing lefty and one righty – to earn his first win for the Franklin Quakers.



Four Innings of Relief Pitching
March 29, Rainier Field

On a sunny Friday, Henry started the Franklin game vs Chief Sealth at shortstop -- making all the routine plays for three innings. Then, he pitched in relief, right-handed, to finish out the seven inning game. Henry struck out five batters -- throwing 78% strikes. One senior hitter was 6'4" 280 lbs with a full beard! The circle change kept the seniors off-balance – pulling the ball, grounding out, or swinging out of their shoes.


"H" pitching left-handed
Two Innings of Relief as RHP
April 30, Lower Woodland Field

The typical Seattle day went through three seasons – winter in the frosty morning, then fall with cool rain in the mid-morning, and finally spring when the sun came out before game time.  

Henry started at second base for the first three innings, then moved to the mound, right-handed, in the fourth inning facing the hard-hitting Bishop Blanchet team. 

He struck out two batters – throwing 74% strikes – using a two-seamer and nasty change-up. Over the two innings there was one unearned run scored while facing the heart of the order. 

Henry said he would have pitched lefty-handed, but did not have enough time to warmup, since he was the leadoff hitter in the fifth inning. He went 2 for 3 at the plate – driving in two runs on a line drive up the middle. It turned out to be a beautiful day for "H".


Sequential Pitching as LHP/RHP
May 3, Rainier Field

In the final game of the 2013 season "H" had plenty of time to warmup between innings, so he came in as a lefty pitcher one inning, then switched to throw righty the next inning. He had a great outing on the mound – throwing 90% strikes low in the zone to induce batters to ground out. 

Using a two seamer and change-up, he only threw 19 pitches over two innings – striking out three batters – to seal the shutout for the Quakers. He picked up his second win, tallying a 2-0 record for season.

Switch Pitching Stats

By mid-season, Henry Knight had a 0.00 ERA with a 1-0 record as a switch pitcher for the Franklin Quakers. Over five games of relief pitching, he recorded 15 SO, 1 BB, and gave up 5 hits in 11 innings. 

Henry is the starting shortstop for the Quakers, so he fills in as a relief pitcher for the team when needed to get the outs. With runners on base, he pitches right-handed in relief since it does not take him long to warmup. Pitching from the stretch, he recorded a 3.23 ERA right-handed.  Not bad, considering that he faced several highly recruited players on top-ranked teams.

By the end of the season, he chalked up 22 strikeouts and only 2 walks in 22 innings of pitching, with a 0.78 ERA left-handed.

Henry finished the 2013 season with a 11:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio (22K/2BB).


Henry Knight swipes another base for the Quakers. 

Switch Hitting Streak 

Henry had a 9-game hitting streak during the baseball season. 

He continues to practice switch hitting – tee work, soft toss, hitting small wiffle balls and live pitching. He works on bunting both ways to prepare for laying down a sac bunt during tournament play.

The extra batting practice has paid off in games. Batting second in the order – facing Metro league's best pitchers  – Henry chalked up 19 hits, 16 RBIs and 14 runs scored in 19 games, with a .525 OBP. Right-handed he hit .448 as a sophomore playing varsity.

Read More

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Bunting 101 - Learn how to bunt

"Double DutyRadcliffe was a star Negro League pitcher and catcher.
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Photos courtesy of Linda Knight and Jerry Johnson
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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Matt Boyd, Oregon State LHP is ambidextrous

Matthew Boyd
Matt Boyd LHP
 @mattboyd31
Born February 2, 1991 in Bellevue, WA
Hometown: Mercer Island, WA

High School: Eastside Catholic 2009

College: Oregon State University (OSU)

MLB First-Year Player Draft
Boyd was drafted in the 13th round of the 2012 MLB First-Year Player Draft by Cincinnati but did not sign.


Following his senior year at OSU, LHP Matt Boyd was drafted in the 6th round (175th overall) of the  2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft by Toronto. Read more

Matt Boyd is now in the big leagues with the Toronto Blue Jays.


Height/Weight: 6' 3", 215 lb

Position: Pitcher
Throws: Left (throws a football right-handed)
Velocity: 95 mph 

Other sports: football, hockey


Matt Boyd is a left-handed pitcher with the Toronto Blue Jays. A natural right-hander, he started throwing a baseball left-handed when he was five years old. 

Boyd was a starting left-handed pitcher for the Oregon State Beavers in the PAC 12, with a 7-2 record in 2013.

"Boyd arrived at Oregon State as a pitcher-first baseman who hit .464 and had an 0.84 ERA with 91 strikeouts in 58 innings as a prep senior."




Matt Boyd makes his MLB debut in 2015



Big leagues can wait as Boyd makes pitch for NCAA title
OSU's versatile lefty focuses on his game, not MLB offers
Portland Tribune, April 4, 2013

Oregon State senior Matt Boyd, a former hockey player and first baseman-outfielder, has developed into a top starter. He does some things right-handed, but pitches left-handed.


Kurt Boyd is responsible for Boyd, who is ambidextrous, throwing the baseball left-handed.
“I throw a football right-handed,” he says. “I eat and write right-handed. I bat left-handed and play hockey left-handed. Dad made me throw the baseball left-handed when I was about 5.
“If I really wanted to work at it, I’d like to think I could pitch right-handed. But it’s worked out pretty well the way it is.”
Casey says Boyd has big-league potential.
“Absolutely, whether as a starter or setup guy,” the OSU skipper says. “He is going to continue to get strength and develop. Four-pitch guys are hard to find. He touched 94, 95 (mph) at the Cape last year. The velocity is in there. He’s a guy who can pitch in the major leagues.”

Follow Matt Boyd @mattboyd31

Matt Boyd Bio - OREGON STATE


Matt Boyd Baseball Profile | Perfect Game USA




OSU baseballMatt Boyd selected by Reds in MLB Draft's 13th ...






Oregon State's Matt Boyd named to pitcher of the year watch list



Everyday Champion: Matt Boyd - Oregon State University Athletics




Note: Matt Boyd is not a switch pitcher, but is ambidextrous. He throws a baseball left-handed and a football right-handed.

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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Masanori Murakami - First Japanese pitcher in the MLB

Masanori "Mashi" Murakami
Masanori Murakami - Left-handed pitcher
Born: May 6,1944 in Otsuki, Japan

MLB Team: 

Signed by the San Francisco Giants as an amateur free agent in 1964.
San Franscisco Giants (1964-1965)

Position: Pitcher
Bats: Left
Throws: Left 
Height/Weight: 6' 0", 180 lb.


On September 1, 1964, pitcher Masanori Murakami became the first Japanese man to play in U.S. baseball's major leagues (MLB). Murakami pitched a scoreless eighth inning for the San Francisco Giants in a 4-1 loss to the New York Mets.

In 1964, the Hawks sent Murakami to the United States to pitch in the minor leagues for the San Francisco Giants as part of an exchange program. Murakami’s left-handed sidearm delivery proved an asset in the United States, where deceptive pitching still isn’t as common as in Japan.


1965 - The Japanese community of San Francisco holds Masanori Murakami Day at Candlestick Park to honor the first Japanese player to have reached the American major leagues. Ordinarily a reliever, Murakami makes his first major league start as the Giants outslug the Phillies 15-9. 


Sept 1, 1964 - First Japanese player make MLB debut (history.com)


Masanori Murakami - Japanese stats - JapaneseBallPlayers

Masanori Murakami Baseball Stats by Baseball Almanac

Masanori Murakami, the first Japanese player playing in the MLB

Masanori Murakami Statistics and History - Baseball-Reference.com


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Note: Masanori Murakami was left-handed, and not ambidextrous
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Saturday, April 13, 2013

Ambidextrous Pitchers in the Negro Leagues

The Negro Leagues produced some of the greatest players of all-time. Read about two ambidextrous switch pitchers who played in the Negro Leagues.



Double Duty Greene - Switch Pitcher

Ulysses Grant Greene was an ambidextrous pitcher for the Indianapolis Clowns in the late 1950s. In 1959,  Two-Way Greene compiled a record of 23 victories.

"A sensation with the Indianapolis Clowns, the six-foot, 165-pounder from Tobaccoville, N. C., often pitches as a lefty, then comes back the next day as a right-hander." (Jet, 1958)


Read more



Larry Kimbrough - Switch hitter and switch pitcher


Larry Kimbrough was a star pitcher in the old Negro Baseball League and a member of the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame. In 1997, School Boy was inducted into the Negro Baseball Hall of Fame in Kansas City. 

As the result of a childhood injury, Larry Kimbrough became both a switch hitter and and switch pitcher, and he carried those abilities all the way to the only major leagues available to a black ballplayer in the early 1940s: the Negro leagues. With his unique talents, he played everwhere: pitcher, infield, outfield, and even catcher on the sandlots after his professional career was over. (The Negro Leagues Revisited)

Read more


Switch Pitchers in the Negro Leagues by Gary Ashwill


Top 5 Negro League Pitchers of All Time | Bleacher Report

Negro Leagues Baseball Museum


Negro Leagues Baseball History - Baseball-Reference.com


Negro League Baseball Players Association



The generic label, THE NEGRO LEAGUES, refers to various affiliations of professional black baseball players, extending fom the late nineteenth century to the Jackie Robinson era.
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Friday, April 12, 2013

Ryan Perez - Switch Pitcher News 2013

Ryan Perez - Switch Pitcher News 2014 >>



Ryan Perez - Judson University

News articles about Ryan Perez - a college ambidextrous pitcher from Illinois.

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2013 Pitching Stats

4.04 ERA, 6-4 record in 19 games (8 games started) 
64.2 IP, 79 SO, 35 BB, .273 BA


46-17 (.730) - Judson Eagles 2013 Record
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August 14, 2013

W.VA. CLAIMS SECOND STRAIGHT TITLE WITH WALK-OFF WIN IN 11TH INNING



Griffin Moore’s two-out single in the bottom of the 11th inning scored Potter from second base, giving the Miners a 4-3 win over the Quincy Gems and their second consecutive Prospect League Championship.

Perez got stronger as the game went on but could not get out of the fifth, leaving after allowing a leadoff double to Light. The ambidextrous Perez threw 75 pitches, striking out six and walking none.



Miners can win series tonight

Kregeloh HR backs Perez in win over Paints; series shifts to Epling Stadium


By Gary Fauber, register-herald.com | August 7, 2013

Pat Kregeloh is swinging a hot bat, and West Virginia’s pitching is as strong as ever.

Tonight could be a big one at Linda K. Epling Stadium.

Ryan Perez threw eight shutout innings, Kregeloh homered for the third time in four games and the Miners beat Chillicothe 1-0 Tuesday to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series at Chillicothe’s VA Memorial Stadium.

Perez, 2-0 in the regular season, turned in his best performance since joining the team July 19. The ambidextrous pitcher who has thrown lefty all season limited Chillicothe to two hits in his longest outing. He struck out seven and worked around five walks.

Read more

From left or right, Perez feels normal
Ambidextrous pitcher back from injury, ready to go for Miners
By Gary Fauber, register-herald.com | July 10, 2013

BECKLEY — When Ryan Perez was a three-year-old boy growing up in Illinois, he would throw rocks in the pond in his backyard.

Just normal kid stuff.

But there was something altogether abnormal about an otherwise simple act of boyhood.

“To a kid, that’s cool. (But) every time I would pick up a rock right-handed, he would switch it,” Perez said, smiling as he demonstrated how his dad would take the rock from his right hand and place it in his left.

Perez is the youngest of three brothers, none of them naturally left-handed. Lefties are a valued commodity in baseball, prompting Perez’s dad to start the experiment.

“That’s how it started,” he said.

College baseball: Judson University eyeing more success


It’s on the mound where the Eagles hope to take their biggest step forward.
Lipp (8-1, 2.15 ERA) and Swank (7-2, 3.72) will anchor a rotation that will get a boost from newcomer Ryan Perez, a freshman out of Westminster Christian.