Saturday, May 31, 2014

Angel Macias ambidextrous pitcher

Angel Macias, ambidextrous pitcher - threw a perfect
game in the 1957 Little League World Series

Ángel Macías Barba
Monterrey, Mexico
Born: September 2, 1944 in Aguascalientes Mexico
Height: 5' 10",  Weight: 149 lb.
Position: LHP/RHP
Bats: Both
Throws: Both (Ambidextrous)

Ambidextrous pitcher Angel Macias is well known for throwing a perfect game in the 1957 Little League World Series -- right-handed. The compelling story of the '57 Monterrey team was made into two feature films, a 1960 picture in Mexico called Los Pequeños Gigantes (The Little Giants) and a 2008 film in the United States called The Perfect Game.

On return to Mexico, the mayor of Monterrey gave the entire Little League team scholarships to high school and college. Macias attended high school, but did not attend college -- opting instead to sign with the Los Angeles Angles. 

Macias played as an outfielder for two seasons in the Angles organization and advanced to Class A California League. He returned to Mexico to play pro baseball, and ended his career playing for the Monterrey Sultanes in 1974. baseball-reference.com )

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All Mexico is hailing ambidextrous pitcher
Kentucky New Era - May 30, 1960

Could one of the world's finest baseball players be a mere boy of 15?


Millions of Mexicans -- from the Yucatan to Baja California, and especially in booming,  industrial Monterrey -- fervently believe that the 115 pound son of a Monterrey factory worker will perhaps even on day be better known that Babe Ruth.

As a pitcher, Macias is nearly perfect. In addition to being ambidextrous -- pitching as well with right or left arm -- Macias has lost only two games in more than 100 Little, Pony and Colt league contests in which he has served as either right hander or left hander.

He has tossed 11 no-hitters and two perfect games, on in Little league world series competition.

Unlike most baseball prodigies, Macias' pitching success has not been based on speed as much as it has on brain power. He has an assortment of curves and sliders, a good fast ball, excellent change of pace, and control, which he attributes to his rock throwing childhood.

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Angel Macias pitched a perfect game in the 1957 Little League World Series

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Switch Pitchers - College Recruiting Profiles


Profiles of the top ambidextrous pitchers 


Class of 2015

Henry Knight (2015) - Seattle, WA

Positions: LHP/RHP, IF
Bats: Both, Throws: Both
Pitches: 4-seam fastball, 2-seam fastball, changeup, curveball, cutter, splitter

Henry Knight, ambidextrous pitcher, Seattle

As a junior at Franklin High School in Seattle, Henry Knight is a starting infielder and switch pitcher. He served as a closer – right-handed – recording a 0.00 ERA with no walks. 

During the season, Knight picked up a save for the team and threw a complete 7-inning game – throwing left- and right-handed. By spotting pitches and changing speeds, he chalked up a 12:1 K/BB ratio.

In the summer, he posted a 0.875 ERA as a relief pitcher and closer for the top-ranked Columbia City Reds team.
In 2013, Knight switch pitched 11 innings in one summer game, averaging 11 pitches per inning, and tallied 94 strikes – in 90 degree heat.
Tyler Davis - a starting pitcher at the University of Washington - with a 11-2 record in 2014 - gave Knight tips on how to throw a circle changeup and cutter. Watch Henry Knight working on six pitches in the bullpen video.




Henry Knight - beRecruited

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Class of 2014

Alexander Trautner (2014) - Danville, CA

Positions: LHP/RHP
Bats: Both, Throws: Both
Pitches: 4-seam fastball, 2-seam fastball, curveball, changeup

College: Creighton University

A 6'3" switch pitcher from Northern California, Alexander Trautner throws a fastball, curveball and change-up from either side. Right-handed he reaches 87 mph and left-handed he throws 83 mph. 




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Class of 2013

Aubrey McCarty (2013) - Coquitt County High School, Doerun, GA

Positions: LHP/RHP, 1B
Bats: Both, Throws: Both
Pitches: fastball, curveball, changeup, cutter

College Team: Vanderbilt University
MLB Draft: SF Giants 2013

Aubrey McCarty is a switch hitter and both hand pitcher who can throw up to 92 mph right-handed and 85 mph left-handed. McCarty throws a fastball, curveball and changeup. At 6'3", McCarty also plays the corner infield right-handed. He plays baseball for Vanderbilt University.



Switch pitcher Aubrey McCarty plays for Vanderbilt University. The 2014 Commodores were ranked in the top 10 of  Division I teams and played in the College World Series.

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Articles
(velocity and grades are very important for future college players) 

Learn about ambidextrous pitchers who played in college. ................................................................................



Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Videos of a switch pitcher throwing Curveballs

Switch pitcher Henry Knight throwing curveballs with both hands. 
Watch the arc of the curveball in slow motion.


Right-handed Curveballs


Knight throwing curveballs right-handed during a bullpen session. 

Last year he added the curveball to his repertoire – throwing curves for strikes with both arms.


Left-handed Curveballs


Knight throwing curveballs left-handed. Watch the pitches in slow motion to see the big arc of the curveball.


Popular nicknames for the curveball include "the bender", "the hook," "Uncle Charlie," "yakker," and "Public Enemy No. 1."

Note about the curveball:
Young players tend to fall in love with the curveball and overuse the pitch in games. I suggest that young players focus on proper throwing mechanics first - including throwing a fastball for strikes - before learning to throw a curveball.

Henry Knight learned the curveball grip when he was in high school and waited until he was 16 before throwing curves in games. As a result, both arms are healthy.
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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Switch Hitting News Articles


Why are Switch Hitters Rare?
Find out what coaches say about the decline in switch hitters >>


Batting average of a switch hitter

What is the highest batting average of a switch hitter in professional baseball?
Find the answer here >>


Ro Coleman - switch hitter, Vanderbilt


Plenty of switch-hitters still getting the job done
By Doug Miller / MLB.com June 23, 2014
There's a common thought going around baseball that switch-hitting is a bit of a lost art. Granted, there's no Mickey Mantle or Pete Rose or even a Ripper Collins out there in today's game, but there are plenty of players still getting it done from both sides of the plate.
Read more


Why has Right-Handed Power Become so Rare?
by Dave Cameron | FOX Sports, Dec 3, 2014
Right-handed power. It's the buzzword -- or perhaps the buzzphrase -- of the offseason. Every day, we wake up to news of another team throwing big money at a free agent because he has some history of strong offensive performances and he bats from the right side of the plate. Read more


Switch Hitting: Actually Worth It?
by Andrew Bryzgornia | TwikieTown, May 23, 2014
In lieu of Aaron Hicks giving up switch hitting, I look to see if his switch hitting peers show that it's really worth sticking with batting from both sides of the plate.  Read more


ON THE ORIGIN OF THE SWITCH-HITTING SPECIES

by Alex Speier | Baseball ProGUESTus  May 17, 2013
Evolution resulted in handedness rather than widespread ambidexterity because it is efficient. The brain trains one hand or one side of the body to execute a task and execute it well.
Repeating that process for the other hand? In many tasks, that would represent a waste.
“Once you start getting into tasks that can be done discreetly by one hand or the other, it makes sense to focus on the one hand and train your brain to interact with your arm in one specific manner. It just simplifies and increases the efficiency of doing that task,” said Dr. Neil Roach, a biological anthropologist at George Washington University. “If you just think about throwing, you have essentially the same arm controlled by the same brain on both sides. But your ability to throw incredibly quickly and do other things such as swing a bat with the same precision is really affected by your muscle memory.

Pennington is Baylor's lone switch-hitting pupil

By Nathan Humphreys, MLD.com, March 22, 2013
Much like throwing a screwball or eating sunflower seeds without using your hands, switch-hitting is one of the more arcane skills in baseball. A dark art that counts alliterated mystics Frankie Frisch and Mickey Mantle among its masters.
Switch-hitting is an art form in today's game. Only about 8 percent of players currently on Major League Spring Training rosters are switch-hitters.
For those few who do hit from both sides of the plate, there are two key advantages. It minimizes the effectiveness of same-handed pitching matchups and it helps limit the effectiveness of nasty breaking balls. But it only works if everything is in sync. The difficulty of dialing in two different swings is one reason why the D-back's only switch-hitter, shortstop Cliff Pennington, describes switch-hitting as both a blessing and a curse.

Switch hitters becoming rare in H.S. baseball

By Kyle Odegard Special to AFN, April 6, 2013

Maybe it’s inaccurate to say Riley Unroe was born to be a switch-hitter, but the evidence was pretty clear by age 2.
There are videos of the Desert Ridge senior shortstop all those years back in the family basement, swinging his miniature bat both left- and right-handed.
Unroe has carried it on to present day, but is one of the rare East Valley high school baseball players who still hits from each side of the plate. According to Perfect Game, he is the only Division I-college committed senior from Arizona who is a switch-hitter.
The Mountain Pointe duo of Cole Tucker and Jake Alexander are two of the more high-profile juniors who do so, but that list is also small.
Through the first 17 games of the season Alexander was hitting .500 and Tucker was at .415.

Chipper Jones best switch-hitter of his era: 
batting higher than .300 with good power, braves slugger challenges pitchers from both sides of the plate.  

Jones, a natural right-hander, became much more than a left-handed slap hitter, one-step closer to first base. The left side is his power side, with more opposite field pop. He hits a homer every 16 at-bats left-handed, every 22 at-bats right-handed.
Read more


Baseball's 25 Best Switch-Hitters of All Time
by Dan Tylicki, Bleacher ReportMarch 2, 2012 
In baseball, switch-hitters are a rare breed. Being able to bat from both sides of the plate makes it a lot easier for managers to put a player in a lineup, and they don't have to worry about facing left-handed or right-handed pitchers on a given day.

This select group of players makes up some of the best in the game's history, people who are known as all-time greats first and great switch-hitters second. 

MLB Notebook: Beltran in rare switch-hitting air

By Roger Schlueter June 16, 2012
In baseball's entire history through 2011, there have been 58 individual player seasons in which a switch-hitter qualified for the batting title and posted an OPS+ of at least 150. To no one's surprise, Mickey Mantle claims the most significant number of these seasons, with 11.
Lance Berkman owns the second most (six), and Chipper Jones and Eddie Murray are tied for the third most, with five apiece. After those four titans of switch-hitting, a pair of somewhat underrated ballplayers -- Ken Singleton and Reggie Smith -- check in with four and three seasons, respectively. Right behind Smith is Carlos Beltran, who posted his first 150 OPS+ season in 2006, when he had a 150 with 41 homers and 18 steals.

The Golden Age of Switch Hitters

Posted by Charles Mon, 23 Apr 2012

Looking for patterns in the handedness of hitters led to a surprising discovery. Major League Baseball (MLB) hosted a decade of high employment of switch hitters. This decade coincided with a decade-long low period in the employment of right-handed hitters. Since 1948, when our data starts, about 30 percent of full time MLB players hit exclusively left handed. This fluctuates year to year insignificantly.The remaining 70 percent has fluctuated a great deal between switch hitters and right-handed hitters.
Read more



Summer Instruction Series: Switch Hitting

By Lou Pavlovich, Jr, Editor/Collegiate Baseball

Rarely has college baseball seen the likes of Mark Teixeira. The All-American third baseman for Georgia Tech is living proof that work…gut-busting work…will get you where you want in life.
Considered one of the finest switch hitters in college baseball history, he put up staggering numbers in his first two seasons with the Yellow Jackets:
• In 2000, he hit .427 with 18 home runs, 21 doubles, 80 RBI along with a slugging percentage of .772. He collected 103 hits, scored 104 runs, had an on-base percentage of .547 and was extremely disciplined at the plate with 67 walks as he was named National Player of the Year by several outlets. His 67 walks (which included 17 intentional passes) led the Atlantic Coast Conference and was only nine shy of the ACC all-time record.
...

Switch Hitter - BR Bullpen
- list of the top switch hitters based on career stats
...

Monday, May 5, 2014

Switch Pitcher videos

Watch videos of ambidextrous pitchers on YouTube >>


Switch pitcher Henry Knight throwing a bullpen in Seattle.

Knight posted a 12:1 strikeout/walk ratio in high school



Henry Knight throwing a knuckleball and splitter



Henry Knight throwing curveballs left-handed to coach Ron Queen


Videos of switch pitchers on YouTube >>


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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Mariano Rivera Cutter


Watch a video on how Mariano Rivera threw his cutter

The closer Mariano Rivera has confounded hitters with mostly one pitch: his signature cutter.




Is there an ambidextrous pitcher who can throw a cutter?




How Mariano Rivera Dominates Hitters

This is a 3-D enabled version of a graphic originally published in 2010. Mariano Rivera is one of the most dominant closers in history. But what may be most remarkable is that he has done it by confounding hitters with mostly one pitch, his signature cutter.


Learn to Throw a Cutter like Marian Rivera >>

Tyler Davis teaches the cutter >>

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