Saturday, July 30, 2016

Top High School Switch Pitchers 2018

Henry Knight switch pitcher
Henry Knight throws 6 pitches for strikes from both sides

Switch Pitchers - Class of 2018

A few very talented players have the ability to pitch with either arm in high school baseball games. Switch pitchers are extremely rare, since it takes coordination, dedication and a lot of practice. 

Check out the list of ambidextrous high school baseball players from the class of 2018. Two players have already committed to top D1 programs.


Kristofer ArmstrongThe Benjamin SchoolJupiter, Florida
Armstrong is both a switch pitcher and a switch hitter. A natural right-hander, he started throwing left-handed when he was 9 years old. He plays shortstop and throws 87 mph right-handed. His father, Jack Armstrong, was a professional pitcher for seven years. 
College Commitment: Florida

Anthony Seigler,  Cartersville HS, Cartersville, Georgia
Seigler is an infielder, catcher and pitcher who throws in the high 80s. Switch pitcher on varsity as a freshman, including pitching in a double-header. Also a rare switch hitter.
College Commitment: Auburn

Roland Ryan, Knoxville West HS, Tennessee
Ryan won two games in a day, one throwing left-handed and the other right-handed. The 6'3" 210 lb pitcher has more movement from the left side, but more velocity on the right.

Andrew Wilhite, Stillman Valley HS, Illinois
Wilhite is an ambidextrous thrower who mainly pitches right-handed. Only pitches with one arm in a game. Plays shortstop and hits left-handed.


Saturday, July 16, 2016

Pitch Counts in High School

Most states have rules on the total number of innings that a high school pitcher can throw in one week. In Kansas, a kid is allowed to throw 12 innings during a 48-hour span.

A good high school pitcher might average 15 pitches per inning.

12 innings x 15 pitches/inning = 180 pitches

That's a lot of pitches in a short time - especially for a young arm. But is the inning limit the best formula to protect a young pitcher's arm?

Extended Innings ...

The big problem that I see is with the long innings, where a kid throws 20+ pitches. 
The pitcher starts loosing control, looses velocity, rolls their eyes, takes long walks around the mound and shows general signs of fatigue. And the 30 pitch innings are really tough on the arm. Most kids don't have the strength and conditioning to handle this type of load. 

Plus, there is the mental fatigue of long stints on the mound. It's hard to face a big hitter twice in one inning - with the bases loaded - after the entire team batted around. 

I have seen HS kids throw 75+ pitches in only 3 innings. Not good.

Baseball tournaments are a special problem where players throw extra innings and don't get enough rest between outings.

Some pitchers recover faster than others, especially if the follow a good warmup and post throwing routine (like used at Driveline Baseball).

Pitcher and Catcher ...

I have seen HS pitchers who threw several innings, then they switched positions with the catcher in the same game. Yikes! Give the kid a rest.

Some catchers also pitch in relief for the team. This is a lot of throwing – without rest and recovery – in between pitching, so maybe they should just stick to one position.

Quick Estimate ...
Around 100 pitches would be plenty for most HS pitchers in a 7-inning game. 
7 innings * 15 pitches/inning = 105 pitches

How about using a closer for the last inning of the game?

A starter who goes 6 innings, would throw about 90 pitches.
6 innings * 15 pitches/inning = 90 pitches

Each pitcher is unique, so it's hard to set a specific limit on pitch counts. Guidelines could be helpful, since some coaches only focus on winning and not the health of players.

I think it's important to track the number of pitches thrown each inning. Avoid the 25+ pitch innings that can cause arm strain.

Rotate Pitchers

Coaches tend to rely on a handful of pitchers during the season. But, there are other guys on the team who are would love to pitch a few innings. Why not give them a chance.

JULY 13, 2016
Pitch counts replacing innings thrown as new standard for high school baseball

Friday, July 1, 2016

What does pitchability mean?

The pitchability of a player involves all of the following:
  • He can throw any pitch anytime which makes him unpredictable.
  • The batters in the other line-up that he should get out, he gets out.
  • He doesn’t let their best hitters beat them.  He’s not afraid to walk or pitch around them.
  • He minimizes fastball counts by getting ahead and staying ahead.
  • He can throw strikes on both sides of the plate.
  • He makes his best pitches when it counts the most.  Anyone can throw a good breaking pitch on the black when they are facing the eight hitter with nobody on and his team is up 6-0.  Can he hit the black with the bases loaded and the third hitter is up with the winning run on second?
  • He consistently repeats his delivery.
  • He throws just as well from the stretch as he does from the wind-up.
  • He works quick but doesn’t rush.
  • He is consistently around the knees with all his pitches.


Switch-pitcher Carter Kieboom selected in the 2016 MLB Draft

Kieboom selected in the 2016 MLB Draft
28 Washington Nationals
3B Carter Kieboom, Walton High School (GA)
The Clemson commit is said to have good power and hit tools to go with a strong arm from third base (he's actually been a shortstop in high school but he profiles as a third baseman in the pros). There are some good bloodlines here, as Kieboom's brother (Spencer) plays in the Nationals system and yet another brother is playing for the University of Georgia. Carter is known as one of the best pure high school hitters in the draft, especially being singled out for his maturity at such a young age. Oh, and this is an awesome baseball name, no?

Nats go against recent history with early 2016 draft picks
By Noah Frank | @NoahFrankWTOP, June 10, 2016
“Very good tools, from above average to solid average, Kline said. “[He’s] going to be a really good big leaguer.”
The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder from Walton High School in Marietta, Georgia batted a solid, if not overwhelming .366 as a senior, but notched an excellent .504 on-base percentage. He hit five homers and stole seven bases, decent numbers in a short high school season that could easily double or even triple in a full season of pro ball. That makes Kieboom something of the anti-Giolito or Fedde, a safe, reliable pick with a higher floor and lower ceiling.
Interestingly, Kieboom also pitched from both sides of the plate in high school, much like history-making hurler Pat Venditte, whom we profiled last season upon his arrival in the Major Leagues. Unfortunately for the ambidextrous pitching enthusiasts among us, it doesn’t appear that we’ll have the chance to see him continue to do so as a professional.

Baseball tryouts: Tips for making the team

Are you getting ready for a baseball tryout?

Here are some helpful tips from baseball coaches on making a good first impression.

- practice hitting, throwing and fielding, a least two weeks before the tryout
- be prepared, have everything ready the day before the tryout
- dress like a baseball player (baseball pants, jersey, cap, cleats)
- wear a shirt with your name on the back
- plan to learn something new
- show up 30 minutes early
- relax and have fun

Coaches are looking for skilled players, with a positive attitude - who are coachable

- listen carefully, be coachable
- introduce yourself to the coaches, shake their hands
- pay attention and look the coach in the eye
- ask and answer questions
- focus on the skill
- have a positive attitude
- hustle everywhere

Bonus Points
- be a leader
- support your teammates
- show your love of the game

- talk with the catcher before you pitch
- make sure to warmup first
- take your time and use good mechanics
- make adjustments
- change speed and location
- follow through and finish the pitch
- keep the ball low in the strike zone
- first pitch strike

- have a plan before you step in the batter's box
- wait for a good pitch to hit
- trust your swing
- focus on hitting line drives
- 65% of pitches are on the outer half - hit to the opposite field
- make solid contact - don't swing for the fences
- run the bases hard

- make the routine plays
- move on every hit
- stay focused
- talk on every play - communication is important

- footwork is very important
- be ready and in position to make the play
- call the fly ball by yelling - "ball, ball, ball"
- set your feet, make a good throw, follow through
- take your time to make accurate throws
- backup other fielders
- chase after missed balls
- show you can play multiple positions

Mental Game
- set goals for the season
- don't think too much
- try not to over react when you strikeout or make an error
- stay positive 

Make a Good Impression
- set yourself apart 
- do something to make a good lasting impression
- help the coaches carry equipment
- volunteer to fill a spot in the field
- hustle - run fast on and off the field

- listen carefully
- look the coach in the eye when they are speaking
- shake the coaches hand and thank them after the tryout
- let the coaches know why you want to join the team
- talk with players on the team, see what they like and don't like about the team

Recommended Reading

Is your son or daughter looking for a new select baseball or softball team? Here are some tips to get your kid on the team he or she wants.

Making Your High School Team
A seven part series on how to give yourself the best opportunity. Tips and information by high school coaches from across the country.