Pitchers Looks and Control Runners May 31 2015, 0 Comments

Controlling the Running Game, we talk about varying looks. Varying looks can be thought of as varying your timing to the plate with runners on base, not necessarily how many times you look at a runner, although that can be considered an element as well.

Pitchers can come up with a number of ways to vary their looks on the mound. To accomplish this, as the pitcher comes set and prepares to deliver the pitch, we can hold the ball for either a count of "1 one thousand, 2 one thousand" or 3-4 "one thousands" or even longer if you wanted to (although someone is likely to call time), while mixing up how many times we physically look at the runner. This is done most often with runners at first or second. Holding the ball for 3-4 "one thousands" can really disrupt the timing of a base runner and also serve to stiffen his legs creating a poor reaction state for the runner. Holding the ball for 3-4 "one thousands" is also a great time to pick, especially with a player on first who is looking to run. At first base this is crucial as we want to limit the jump the runner gets on a straight steal or on contact, thus making scoring position harder to achieve and double plays easier to turn.

Varying your looks with a runner at second is important because if we can limit the jump, the runner will be less likely to steal third or score on a single. We deal with a lot of athletes looking to play at the next level and as you move on in your career, the demand to hold runners and limit runs increases. The truth is, if you can’t hold runners you just won’t be able to pitch in collegiate baseball or other high levels of baseball.

Ryan Armstrong, Head Pitching Coach