Sunday, July 26, 2015

How rare are ambidextrous pitchers?

Henry Knight switch pitcher
Henry Knight, switch pitcher, had a 12:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio in high school

Ambidextrous pitchers are extremely rare in high school baseball.

One in A Million

In the USA, the chance of meeting a high school ambidextrous pitcher is 1 in a million.* 

For comparison...

What are the odds of getting struck by lightning?
The odds of becoming a lightning victim in the U.S. in any one year is 1 in 700,000. The odds of being struck in your lifetime is 1 in 3,000. (source:

How many switch pitchers are playing high school baseball?

It's tricky to come up with an exact number of high school switch pitchers in the USA, but based on news reports in the past five years I came up with a rough estimate.

The ratio is about ...

1 ambidextrous pitcher per 22,500 HS players

Note: This estimate is based on verified information from reliable sources, including news channels, newspapers, coaches,  recruiting networks, Perfect Game, and HS Baseball Web

How many switch pitchers per class?

In 2015, there were only 6 switch pitchers out of ~135,000 players in the senior class.
(NCAA - number of High School Baseball Players)

There are usually 5 to 7 switch pitchers in entire USA per graduating class.
List of Switch Pitchers >>

Is there a switch pitcher in the MLB?

Pat Venditte is the only switch pitcher in major league baseball. Venditte was called up to the big leagues on June 5, 2015 and made his stellar debut with the Oakland Athletics vs Boston Red Sox.

In 2015, he regularly threw both ways as a relief pitcher for the Nashville Sounds (AAA - Athletics organization).

Ryan Perez, a college switch pitcher, was drafted in 2015 by the Cleveland Indians. Perez who throws 90+ mph with both arms, is now pitching in the minors leagues.

How many switch pitchers are in college baseball?

A few switch pitchers throw in college - Aubrey McCarty (Vanderbilt), Alex Trautner (Creighton), Marcus Garcia (Sierra College) and Ryan Perez (Judson). 

What is a switch pitcher?

A switch pitcher, also know as an ambidextrous pitcher,  has the ability to throw multiple innings with either arm in baseball games. They have the ability to switch throwing arms between batters, to gain an advantage (left-on-left or right-on-right), but often stick with throwing from one side during an inning.

When do kids start throwing with both arms?

Switch pitchers are rarely naturally ambidextrous. Switch pitching is a skill that is developed with lots of practice. Ambidextrous pitchers often start throwing with both arms when they are young.

Pat Venditte, who switch pitches in the minor leagues, started throwing both ways when he was only 3 years old.

Henry Knight, a successful high school pitcher, started throwing with his non-dominant arm at age 9, and switch pitching in games when he was 10 years old.

Ambidextrous Glove

Typically, high school switch pitchers use a six-fingered glove, with two thumb slots, that can be worn on either hand.


More information

Chances of a switch pitcher playing in college

Sounds Ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte has the rarest of MLB skills

Estimated probability of competing in college baseball (


US Census 2010 (*out of all high school age students)

1 comment:

  1. Great blog. My son is ambidextrous. I didn't realize it is that rare. I found this because I was looking for a ambidextrous glove for him, especially for when he is playing center field. He is 9 and playing club ball here in Phoenix. He plays on the 9u Arizona Grizzlies.


    Kevin Danzeisen