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Hello everyone,

Been lurking for a while and just got up the nerve to ask for some advice. To give you a little background, I have a 2020 that started playing baseball about 3 years ago. At the time he was the chubby kid, not much talent but if he wanted it, his mom and I were going to support him. He was about 5'6" and weighed 200. He is an A student as well. He had never pitched before and because of his age during the upcoming season he was expected to pitch. We decided to seek out a pitching coach and a local ex major league pitcher was recommended. Fast forward 3 years and our chubby son is now a 6'2" 185lb 14 year old. He has been with the same pitching instructor for 3 years now and the improvement has been nothing short of astonishing. 2015 was his first year as member of a traveling team. It was a wonderful experience for him. He was 13 on a 14U team. He was chosen for the team because of his pitching potential and they would have him for 2 years on the same team to help him develop. We couldn't be happier. He has been blessed with a wonderful pitching instructor and coach. Both have taken a personal interest in his development. Currently he plays first, third and pitches. He is above average at first and has a lot of work to do at third. His bat is average.  

Now to my question.....

He loves to pitch and this is what he wants to do. He understands that to be a part of a team he has to play other positions and he does enjoy playing the infield, but nothing compares to pitching. I have been told by 2 HS coaches that they would love to have an incoming freshmen with his size and mechanics. This has also been echoed by a couple DII pitchers that have watched him pitch and were very impressed.

Is he too young to only want to pitch or is he too young to only pitch?

Thanks in advance for any feedback.

 

 

 

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JMO but from my experience players should not be pitcher only until they reach varsity in HS.

Why the rush? Mine was one of the top middle school pitchers entering HS.  He passed up most of his freshman year to play varsity and remained as a utility guy. When not pitching he played other positions.  But during summer after that year he was a pitcher only on any travel team and HS team until senior year.

At 12 or so my son thought he would like to be a PO.  He wasn't having the success batting that he wanted and was frustrated.  But, his team had 11 players so a PO wasn't an option(and we wouldn't have supported it at 12 anyway).  So, he worked on his batting and by freshman year he had a pretty good bat.  Now he is a sophomore playing varsity as a primary pitcher but will also play in the field as well.  Because his bat is too good to put on the bench.  Do you think his desire to PO is in any way because he feels like he isn't good enough in other areas? 

This is what I have seen.  At his age, a lot of travel teams want PO's, or kids who mostly pitch, but the orgs themselves do not work pitchers in practice like they are pitchers only.  The put them through positional fielding and batting practice.  If a PO, pitcher specific conditioning, bullpens, long toss, pitcher drills come outside of the org's practice.  So just something to consider in how your son's travel team is set up.

I remember these words of wisdom..."there's only so many bullets in the holster". Since your son has seen such good progress with a pitching coach, have you considered that he may have the same or better success with a hitting coach? He's average now (as are most 14 yr olds)...a few hitting lessons could take him to above...or exceptional...or...? And, there's not quite the risk of overuse/injury/pressure. And, playing multiple positions, developing as a hitter...provides more options in recruiting down the road. As far as fielding positions, if he's pitching, then going to 3rd, he may be throwing hard pretty frequently to attempt that out at 1st. Another fielding position would help "reserve some of the bullets". 

Unless he's extremely efficient, I wouldn't consider pitcher only during the 14-17/18 time frame...too many variables come into play...most importantly injury & overuse...and physical/mental development/strength/other skill sets...Also, pitching only can cause stress on other areas...like shoulder, hips, lower spine. Agree with Go44dad on training techniques!

When considering pitch counts, it's important to include warm ups, too. See ASMI.org for current counts by age, by State...a must education!

 

Last edited by baseballmom

Im of the mindset that he should continue as a two way player at this point.  Things may change once he makes the V team at HS but until then leave all your options open.  I am going to use my 2017 as an example...

Up until this past off season he was a 2 way player.  P, IB and some OF.  Going into the off season his HS coach mentioned that next (this just started) season he most likely would be primarily a P on Varsity and play some 1B in the JV games (if he wanted to play a position).  His travel program has talked with him about his options in college and have stated that his best chance is as a P, but he should still work on his position play, "just in case".  

Our travel program has a pretty aggressive off season program and my son concentrated on Pitcher workouts, assuming he is going to be a PO heading into the season.  He did attended 1 position player skill workout a week.  Most of our programs off season work is strength and conditioning but they do sprinkle some skills in.  He also worked out with his hitting coach 1 day a week plus hit off the tee at home in the garage all winter.  All, "just in case".

Fast forward to this past weekend.  HS coach stops him before practice.  Tells him to head over to position player workout instead of pitchers workout.  Also explains to him that unless he is scheduled to throw a bullpen he wants him working out with the position players.  Coach goes on to explain that his is very deep in pitching this year (as compared to most years) and that my son is about 4 deep on the roster.  He is sitting behind a D1 MLB factory school commit, a D1 Big 10 commit and another player with D1 potential who has decided to play college football instead.  In addition to those 3 PO's they are carrying another 6 or 7 POs as well.  At least 3, if not 4 will eventually commit at some level sometime over their HS career.  Going into the season he thought my son would be the number 4 starter or his primary closer, but as he is so deep in pitching he has the luxury of moving some kids around.  He has a hole at 1B that needs to be filled and wants my son to play there as his primary position.  He still wants him throwing and plans on using him in middle relief, or to close, throughout the season, but he has a real need at 1B (long story). 

What I am getting at with this long story, is as you move into HS you have no idea what the needs of the team are going to be.  If you specialize into a PO too early you may close some opportunities for yourself as you move forward.  Yes, at some point, you may need to specialize but if you have the ability to play as a two way player I would consider delaying the decision to specialize as much as possible.  Now if not specializing is hurting the player then yes, specialize.  But again wait as long as possible to make that decision.

BTW, got to give props to the son.  My wife ran into the coach after practice this weekend (she works in the same district, and they get along well).  He mentions to the wife that he was really impressed with my son and his attitude this year.  He is looking to him becoming a leader and hopes others will pick up on his work ethic and attitude.  My son basically looked at him when he explained the switch and said "yes sir, whatever needs to be done for the team".  Coach also mentioned that he talked with another player who gave him a completely different attitude and lost out on the chance to start another position as he was only concerned about himself.

 

 

Last edited by joes87
LivingtheDream posted:

At 12 or so my son thought he would like to be a PO.  He wasn't having the success batting that he wanted and was frustrated.  But, his team had 11 players so a PO wasn't an option(and we wouldn't have supported it at 12 anyway).  So, he worked on his batting and by freshman year he had a pretty good bat.  Now he is a sophomore playing varsity as a primary pitcher but will also play in the field as well.  Because his bat is too good to put on the bench.  Do you think his desire to PO is in any way because he feels like he isn't good enough in other areas? 

Yes..... He has not had the success at the plate as he's had on the mound. It's not that his hitting is that bad, I think it has more to do with his pitching is very good and his hitting doesn't compare.

 

joes87 posted:

Im of the mindset that he should continue as a two way player at this point.  Things may change once he makes the V team at HS but until then leave all your options open.  I am going to use my 2017 as an example...

Up until this past off season he was a 2 way player.  P, IB and some OF.  Going into the off season his HS coach mentioned that next (this just started) season he most likely would be primarily a P on Varsity and play some 1B in the JV games (if he wanted to play a position).  His travel program has talked with him about his options in college and have stated that his best chance is as a P, but he should still work on his position play, "just in case".  

Our travel program has a pretty aggressive off season program and my son concentrated on Pitcher workouts, assuming he is going to be a PO heading into the season.  He did attended 1 position player skill workout a week.  Most of our programs off season work is strength and conditioning but they do sprinkle some skills in.  He also worked out with his hitting coach 1 day a week plus hit off the tee at home in the garage all winter.  All, "just in case".

Fast forward to this past weekend.  HS coach stops him before practice.  Tells him to head over to position player workout instead of pitchers workout.  Also explains to him that unless he is scheduled to throw a bullpen he wants him working out with the position players.  Coach goes on to explain that his is very deep in pitching this year (as compared to most years) and that my son is about 4 deep on the roster.  He is sitting behind a D1 MLB factory school commit, a D1 Big 10 commit and another player with D1 potential who has decided to play college football instead.  In addition to those 3 PO's they are carrying another 6 or 7 POs as well.  At least 3, if not 4 will eventually commit at some level sometime over their HS career.  Going into the season he thought my son would be the number 4 starter or his primary closer, but as he is so deep in pitching he has the luxury of moving some kids around.  He has a hole at 1B that needs to be filled and wants my son to play there as his primary position.  He still wants him throwing and plans on using him in middle relief, or to close, throughout the season, but he has a real need at 1B (long story). 

What I am getting at with this long story, is as you move into HS you have no idea what the needs of the team are going to be.  If you specialize into a PO too early you may close some opportunities for yourself as you move forward.  Yes, at some point, you may need to specialize but if you have the ability to play as a two way player I would consider delaying the decision to specialize as much as possible.  Now if not specializing is hurting the player then yes, specialize.  But again wait as long as possible to make that decision.

BTW, got to give props to the son.  My wife ran into the coach after practice this weekend (she works in the same district, and they get along well).  He mentions to the wife that he was really impressed with my son and his attitude this year.  He is looking to him becoming a leader and hopes others will pick up on his work ethic and attitude.  My son basically looked at him when he explained the switch and said "yes sir, whatever needs to be done for the team".  Coach also mentioned that he talked with another player who gave him a completely different attitude and lost out on the chance to start another position as he was only concerned about himself.

 

 

Thanks for sharing...

He should do what makes him happy.  But my approach would be to let the game tell you when it's time to be a PO.  When the coach stops putting you in the line up then it's time to be a PO!  In the meantime he can of course direct his efforts to improve more in the pitching area.  Kind of what my son will do with basketball. Simply doesn't have any more hours in the day to give basketball a max effort. So he will play in high school for fun til the coach cuts him.  If he plays four years great.  If he sits the bench by varsity also fine.  If he gets cut at some point he will sit in the stands and support his classmates.  Life is all about choices.  You make yours then the coaches have to make theirs. 

I also have a 2020 and I have to say I am confused by your post.  Does your kid love baseball or not?  It's all well and good to have a preference for a favorite position but playing on a team is suppose to entail the whole concept of "Yes sir, wherever you need me to play". 

We all gravitate to what we are good at, but your son will have more baseball options open to him if he can broaden his knowledge base.  If he loves the game and wants to continue he should learn all that he can and become good at all that he can so he can be a more well rounded baseball player.  What if his pitching plateau's?   He's a 6'2 8th grader...he might be done growing, he might have peaked already and what he throws now is the highest he will ever throw...if he loves the game he needs to become proficient at more than just pitching to keep his options open.  When multiple coaches agree he is a PO THEN he will be a PO, but until then just be happy to play.

My son only became a PO when he became part of a team in which his bat simply wasn't as good as the rest of the lineup. This is summer ball. In high school, he will likely be hitting middle of the lineup. It doesn't bother him and we haven't spent a lot of time on hitting over the past couple of years, simply because it has been obvious for awhile that any opportunities to play beyond high school are tied firmly to pitching. the point is, I guess, that he didn't choose when to become a PO, the game did. 

roothog66 posted:

My son only became a PO when he became part of a team in which his bat simply wasn't as good as the rest of the lineup. This is summer ball. In high school, he will likely be hitting middle of the lineup. It doesn't bother him and we haven't spent a lot of time on hitting over the past couple of years, simply because it has been obvious for awhile that any opportunities to play beyond high school are tied firmly to pitching. the point is, I guess, that he didn't choose when to become a PO, the game did. 

+1

CaCO3Girl posted:

I also have a 2020 and I have to say I am confused by your post.  Does your kid love baseball or not?  It's all well and good to have a preference for a favorite position but playing on a team is suppose to entail the whole concept of "Yes sir, wherever you need me to play". 

We all gravitate to what we are good at, but your son will have more baseball options open to him if he can broaden his knowledge base.  If he loves the game and wants to continue he should learn all that he can and become good at all that he can so he can be a more well rounded baseball player.  What if his pitching plateau's?   He's a 6'2 8th grader...he might be done growing, he might have peaked already and what he throws now is the highest he will ever throw...if he loves the game he needs to become proficient at more than just pitching to keep his options open.  When multiple coaches agree he is a PO THEN he will be a PO, but until then just be happy to play.

Thanks for the response

At that age, he still has a lot to learn about the game. Scenarios, plays, defensive strategies, etc. Do you think he will learn at the same rate watching from the bench as he would being a part of the action during each game? I know a couple kids your son's age who might do ok with that task, but the vast majority would not. My 2018 LHP son learned so much about baseball between 7th and 9th grade that I can't imagine him taking this route. I guess I would just be thinking about his overall game development and knowledge and weighing that heavily before I made that type of decision. In my mind, the best way to learn is to play.

Good luck!

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