Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Rangers starters pitch batting practice

"to build stamina".  Like a quarter miler runs series of 880s and 660s and 440s to build stamina. Throwing off a mound also specifically conditions leg muscles.

Nolan Ryan also wants pitchers to be mentally tougher + throw more strikes, two traits which are somewhat intertwined. 

I say throwing batting practice also helps in this mentally tough/throw strikes areas.  Consider:  

1.  Pitchers watching some number (40? 60? 80?) of their pitches be hit are watching the exact pitch location of the batted pitches, and are monitoring how and where each pitch into each pitch location is batted.  Thus, each batting practice session amounts to an intensive exercise in exactly where hitters do and do not want pitches to be thrown.*  A valuable exercise, even for a professional pitcher.  Inches make a difference in pitch location.  

2. Pitchers see batters mishitting fat pitches.  They see professional batters, in perfect conditions, who have perfectly timed their batting practice offerings: out and out mishit some percentage of fat pitches.  This has to give pitchers confidence, in the regular season, to go ahead the throw the fastball even when a batter knows it is coming.  The pitchers have seen too many batting practice mishits to do otherwise.  No more curves and sliders on 3-2 counts.  Just bring it, and trust your luck and your fielders.  

Hopefully, regular season 3-2 counts will occur less often.  Pitchers will bring it from the first pitch, and will not waste pitches being cute.  Babe Ruth is dead.  Or, at minimum, if you're a Rangers pitcher:  Babe Ruth is heavily tatooed and patrolling RF for you at the moment.

Watch Neftali Feliz throwing to Justin Smoak, and see if you don't agree with my thoughts:

*Some of the greatest pitchers - such as Catfish Hunter and Greg Maddux - were great observers of body language and great thinkers. They noticed when batters were trying to pull pitches vs when batters were merely trying to make solid contact. They adjusted during games, and even during at bats, to foil opposing batters' plans.

Pitching batting practice can only help pitchers' understanding of hitters' body language, if only pitchers are willing to keep their eyes open and clear.


emjay said...

Just out of curiousity nephew, where did you find the words mishitting and/or mishit. How about just missing or miss? Somehow I want to put a hyphen between the i and the s.

gcotharn said...

Well, I could use a good editor on approx 100% of my posts, and I could use a good den mother to monitor your scatological instincts in the comments...

In this specific instance, I used "mishit" correctly, as I was speaking of hitting a ball less than excellently, i.e. popping up or hitting a harmless fly ball.

It is unusual, in batting practice, for professional hitter to completely miss on a swing. In fact, I imagine if a hitter completely whiffs a BP pitch he will subject to some ribbing from his teammates. Some of the ribbing might get scatological...

gcotharn said...

Now I can't look at "mishit" w/o wanting to add your hyphen. The word is ruined forever for me. Oh well.

It reminds of a blogger, Ann Althouse, whose web address is:

I'm incapable of innocently looking at her web address.

gcotharn said...

without mentally removing an "n"

emjay said...

Now that's funny!!!