Is a pitcher's "command" the same tool as his "control?" Often times I hear ppl say 'he has good control and command" and it's lead me to believe that they somehow differ. If so, what's the difference exactly?

Or are they just two different words describing the same tool?
"He threw the ball as far from the bat and as close to the plate as possible." Casey Stengel about Satchel Paige
Original Post
Okay i guess that makes sense. So command is basically control with a lot more fine tuning to the player's control? Why would scouts grade pitchers on both then? Why not just grade them on their command only?

Can you have a pitcher with above average command but below avg. control? Similary, can you have poor command and great control?

And what exactly in this case then would the term 'effectively wild' mean? Does this mean good control (in the strike zone) but horrible command (pitch can end up anywhere in the strikezone)?

Yeah obviosuly this is a bit confusing for me. Maybe a sort of scouting or a player example would be good. Not sure who though.
We don't see this in young pitchers too often, only the exceptional. A young high school or college pitcher may be able to hit the strike zone all day, but can he hit his spots when he wants to or needs to.
When a guy has command, he can pretty much put the ball where he wants.
As said here, control first, then command.
Control is the ability to throw accurately.
Command is the ability to throw accurately with good stuff.
In other words the ability to throw strikes without getting hit hard.

A pitcher can have good control without having good results.

A pitcher with good command will most always dominate because he also has good life and movement on his pitches.

A pitcher with an 80 mph “straight” fastball and a “early breaking round house” curve ball can throw strikes and locate the ball all day. He has great control and sometimes that can work, but despite succress he will never be described as having great command!

The higher the level the more the above holds true. There are a few exceptions!
Hahaha, just pokin' some fun there.



So it appears that we have two different sides here. The first group of replyers say that command is more like pin-point location, as if command is the same term for plus plus control.
The other half say that control is what gives you pin-point, while command means you can make a curveball curve how much you want, you can make it go 12-6 sharpley, or make it 1-7 with more flatness.


I have reasons to doubt both opinions, but i wanna hear what you guys think is the right def'n.
I think the two words get used in different ways to describe a pitcher. Example:

Player 1) What do you know about the pitcher were facing today.

Player 2) I heard he is a control pitcher.

The word command would not work in the above sentence.

Another example:

Player 1) He's got great command of his curveball today, it's breaking sharp and late.

The word command is used to describe the quality of the pitch, not how accurately the pitcher is throwing it.

Just a couple of examples of the subtle differences of the two words. Of course, there are times when either word could be used effectively to get your point across.
When someone talks about command… It includes Control.
When someone talks about control… It may or may not include Command.

You can not have great command without good control. You can have good control without great command.

It’s kind of like the pitcher who gives up 12 hits but no walks vs the pitcher who gave up no hits and no walks! Both had great control, but only one had great command of the strike zone that day.

Obviously different folks use the words to mean different things. To me it's kind of like you know it when you see it. I think control is being able to consistently throw it where you want / hit spots. It's not just throwing strikes. Command kind of implies being in charge and being consistent. If I am commanding my slider, it is breaking every time and is located. If I don't have command of my slider, every third or fourth one may hang a little and be in the middle of the plate   

Wow, a revived 13 y.o. thread !   

I agree it is used differently by different folks.  I usually think of it in the same context that PGStaff states.  To further expand - control is being able to locate your pitches.  Command is executing the right "when" and "where" to locate effectively.

My college freshman just did a speech in class about this very subject.  I argued when he started that they were the same.  But after research and talking to scouts and coaches it became clear there was a difference.  Control is being able to throw strikes, no matter where they are as long as they go over the plate.  Command is putting the ball exactly where you want whether it is over the plate or outside, inside, low, or high.  It is the exact location of your desire.  During the discovery, most believe you can have command of a pitch (fastball or curveball or slider or changeup) and not other pitches.  You may have control of some pitches and command of others.  The truly elite (freaks) have command of all pitches in any situation or count.  From pitching coaches, the ultimate goal is to figure out what pitches you have command of and use them and what pitches you have control of and know when to use them and what pitches you have neither command or control of and work on them or stay away from them.  It makes sense to me now.  You can't miss the kids who have command versus control.  My middle son had control of a couple of pitches but my youngest has command of most, most of the time.  The command of a pitch can also make up for the lack of velocity.  My middle son had high velo control in high school but not command.  My youngest has good velo command but not the high velo.  They kinda equal out.  Then the question comes. 

Would you rather have a pitcher with high velo control or good velo command?

A popular saying by coaches is is "if it is 95 down the middle big leaguers will hit it a long way.

This is correct but only somewhat. People act like big leaguers would hit 700 with 50% homers on pitches in the middle quadrant but if you look at chapman and pitches right down the pipe the league hits about .350. Sure if he just threw there he wouldn't be a big league pitcher as a .350 ba against is bad but this still means 65% of the time big leaguers will make an out on those pitches and in fact those 80 grade fastball types do still get swings and misses on pitches down the pipe.

Of course they can't throw down the pipe every time but if you have a plus plus fastball and a good secondary you can get away with some fat pitches as long you throw the ball regularly in the box and don't fall behind too often.

Strategy is very important for solid control, bad command pitchers. If you have stuff and somewhat control throw first pitch strikes, even if it is middle middle. Most hitters are still primed to get deep into the count especially against good stuff guys and reluctant to swing first pitch. Also the velo protects the fat pitch somewhat plus the bad  command will mean often the aimed down the pipe pitch will still hit more towards the corner.

If you are ahead 0-1 this gives you some room to play to maybe throw a get me over hanger or a more outside fastball.

Of course if guys are very aggressive and succesful first pitch you might need to change strategy some. But worst that can happen is falling behind a lot, if you throw strikes early you can get with a lot more, even down the pipe heaters are much more dangerous when hitters are protecting against the curve with 2 strikes. 

I'm in the camp of:

Control = being able to throw strikes consistently

Command = being able to throw to a particular spot in the strike zone

Effectively wild = throwing all over the place, but still getting outs. I think most hitters will look for a certain pitch in a certain location in certain situations. With an effectively wild pitcher, you can throw all that out the window. Usually, this guy's stuff is just sick. Hard fast ball, wicked slider, deep curve ball, crazy change. But neither the pitcher nor the hitter knows where it's going to be. Makes it difficult to square up the ball.

PitchingFan posted:

My college freshman just did a speech in class about this very subject.  I argued when he started that they were the same.  But after research and talking to scouts and coaches it became clear there was a difference.  Control is being able to throw strikes, no matter where they are as long as they go over the plate.  Command is putting the ball exactly where you want whether it is over the plate or outside, inside, low, or high.  It is the exact location of your desire.  During the discovery, most believe you can have command of a pitch (fastball or curveball or slider or changeup) and not other pitches.  You may have control of some pitches and command of others.  The truly elite (freaks) have command of all pitches in any situation or count.  From pitching coaches, the ultimate goal is to figure out what pitches you have command of and use them and what pitches you have control of and know when to use them and what pitches you have neither command or control of and work on them or stay away from them.  It makes sense to me now.  You can't miss the kids who have command versus control.  My middle son had control of a couple of pitches but my youngest has command of most, most of the time.  The command of a pitch can also make up for the lack of velocity.  My middle son had high velo control in high school but not command.  My youngest has good velo command but not the high velo.  They kinda equal out.  Then the question comes. 

Would you rather have a pitcher with high velo control or good velo command?

All that was well said. My son found the 90 mark early in his junior year of high school, and opposite of the velo is king trend nowadays, he used his senior year to gain command of the offspeed stuff that he was already in control of. His final high school game as a senior was a 7 inning complete game 76 pitch 9 strikeouts 2 hit 1 walk outing in a 1-0 state semifinal game. The opposing pitcher matched him with 8 strikeouts 2 hits and a walk. A 1 hour 13 minute 7 innng high school game is a truly beautiful thing to watch. Lots of control, learning to command. Velo is fantastic, but if you can pair it up with command I will take the good velo command. 95 still gets taken deep when it’s a pitchers “mistake”

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