I'm afraid this question will sound silly but I am curious so here goes.

The question is about a 2-seam vs. 4-seam fastball thrown by a D3 college pitcher who will be a junior for the 07 draft and senior for 08. He is probably a very long shot to ever be drafted but is still working and hoping. As others say here in the forums, he also has a Plan B.

He uses 3 pitches in games: fastball, curve, and changeup. Almost all of the fastballs he throws are 2-seam and he gets very good movement, but his 4-seam is a little faster. The 2-seam is most effective in getting batters out, so he relies on it the most.

Here is the question:

In his junior year or senior year he hopes to do well enough to be noticed by scouts who sometimes come to watch a few of the opposing pitchers in his conference. If the scouts are at games with their radar guns, would it be better for a 6'4" RHP to just stick to his 87-88 mph 2-seam fastball with a lot of movement if that is what gets the hitters out? Or would it be important for him to mix in a 4-seam fastball that might touch 90 or 91, even if the 4-seam is very straight?

Of course he is working on his strength and velocity & hopes to get both FBs up over 90 mph. He is thin and getting a little stronger & faster every year so far. His biggest priority is to get hitters out for his team, but if the scouts have to see a few 90's to have any interest maybe he should work more on mixing the 4-seam in.

I would be curious to hear any thoughts on this. He does not get much advice from his college pitching coach.
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Original Post
I can give you a number of reasons why I think you should NOT go where you are going.

1. I don’t think a player should allow the draft to modify how he plays his game.

2. A parent should be their son’s biggest fan and support their efforts and not be an assistant coach.

3. Trying to figure out the draft is impossible in itself but to think you can influence that mystical process by simply changing the grip on a fastball is --- a very long shot.

4. Unlike the college selection process, you need to ALLOW the draft to happen and not try to MAKE it happen.

5. While I applaud your son for having a plan “B” your plan “A” should be to take pictures, clip newspaper articles, and enjoy the moment instead of focusing on whether your son’s two seam fastball is good enough to get him into professional baseball.

I apologize for being harsh to you because it is quite obvious that you, like me and every other parent wants their son to move on to the next level of baseball. But after many years of following my son as he moves on through the “next levels” it become evident that the “next levels” will always be there and they will ultimately win. When he hits that one level that he cannot conquer, I don’t want to blame a batting average or the velocity of his fastball or the poptime on his throwdowns to second base. I don't want him to end his career with that "If only" hanging over his head. I don’t want to “blame” anything. I just want to thank him for the best years of my life.
Fungo
quote:
I just want to thank him for the best years of my life.



We've had some good years, haven't we, Fungo?

Justamom, I will tell you a secret.

Scouts like skinny 6'4" RHP's that are juniors, throwing 87-88,

They sometimes turn into 6'4" RHP pitchers that weigh 220 lbs and throw 93-95.


Go to MLB.com and find draft central, then do a search on Pitchers.

I bet you can find some that sound just like your son..........
Last edited by FormerObserver
JustAMom2,
Fungo and FO are giving you great suggestions and I would offer one more: major league scouts really don't care if you can get guys out at the DIII level, they are trying to project if you can get them out at the professional level.
A few years back, several scouts and cross checkers showed up at a midweek game in TX. between two very good DIII teams. The top pitcher for one went 9 innings, gave up 3 hits and struck out 19. None of the scouts even asked his name, but he did not throw 87-88 either.
Your son should work as hard as he can, get as strong as he can, enjoy every inning of every game with his teammates, and play the game to the best of his ability. As a DIII player, you really don't control any aspect of getting drafted, the process controls you. All you can do is compete and play and know it only takes one scout to "project" that will be successful professionally.
Last edited by infielddad
Gentlemen, I think we are being a little unrealistic.

Of the scouts I have been around, they pretty much all talk about "velocity isn't everything" and "size isn't everything". Yet all these same guys' eyes light up when a tall kid hits 90 mph. And suddenly those moderating statements about velocity and size have dissipated with the breeze.

90 mph isn't necessary to be a successful pitcher. We all know that. But for a RHP it probably is close to necessary to get the opportunity to show he can be a successful pitcher in the pros.

And I'm not sure this mom is trying to be an assistant coach. Rather, she could just be trying to get information to feed her son, so that he can make a decision. There really isn't enough information to make a conclusion one way or the other. Can we give her the benefit of the doubt?

Well placed four seams can also be good pitches. What is wrong with the boy working on this?

He doesn't need to totally rely on either the two seam or the four seam.

JMHO
Texan & Infield are on the money. We have all seen the guys who throw 90+ and can't hit the zone. Scouts do go after velocity. I have seen my son go to MLB camps ahd if he isn't hitting atleast 84 they show no interest. When he is at 83-84 they are all over him. Now that is far from 90 but with the tall skinny frame and mound presence he has garnered some interest. If he dosen't add 5-6mph he has a very slom chance of being signed.
Your son should mix in the 4 seam to get that extra couple MPH. It will not compromise his ability to get batters out if he mixes it in properly. I am surprised he doesn't use it already.
Thank you for all of the answers already. I like your honesty & it doesn't sound harsh. Where else could a mom ask a baseball question and get helpful answers right away from 5 people including a few whose sons play professionally?

I thought that a college pitcher would have to hit 90 or scouts would ignore him. The two things "baseball" people comment about are his build (he looks like a pro pitcher minus about 30 pounds) and the movement on his fastball.

The part about scouts not caring if a pitcher can get the batters out in D3 is interesting. There are some short stocky pitchers on his team (older) who get outs more reliably in conference D3 games. My son has been up and down (really good or really bad) but he got to start against the 2 bigger schools they played in non-conference and did well. We noticed after this draft that he pitched against two hitters who were drafted and they had a .000 batting average against him.

I was just curious & talk is cheap. He is not worrying about what might happen in a few years but working on getting stronger & better and being the best pitcher on his team next year. We only talked about the draft for a few minutes because of the players he pitched against who just got drafted. He probably won't think about it again for many months & probably wouldn't sign if he got drafted in a late round after junior year because he loves his team and wants a degree.

~~~~~Ann
Last edited by MN-Mom
There are a lot a right handed pitchers who get drafted and who do not throw 90. On the other hand, there aren't too many righties who get drafted who are below 87. Scouts regularly told my son's college coach that a very good DIII right handed pitcher, and I mean very good, would have to be 87.
I was just reading a message board this morning about a righty playing with Fungo's son who is having a very nice season in the MWL and he is 87-88 mph. With your son being 6'4" and currently at 87-88, he has enough size and velocity to get looks.
If your son has talked about the draft, it is likely something he wants. Having him work hard, develop all his pitches and get stronger and better is exactly the support he needs.
The main point I would make is he should not adjust his approach to pitching based on the presence or absence of scouts. At a DIII, you almost always know when a scout is there. As hard as it sounds, and as much as he might want to ultimately get drafted and have the chance to play professionally, that cannot be the reason he makes choices of how he pitches in game situations, IMO.
He can use the 4 seam during warmups to show his speed.

and when the game warrants he can throw it. an 0-2 count is a good time to waste a pitch and use the 4 seam.

at least light it once for them to see your top speed.
Last edited by baseballtoday
JustAMom, it sounds like you and I have something in common. My son is a rising junior and is in the process of transferring from an NAIA school to DI or DII. He's 6-4 but still has a lot of weight to gain. He's about 90 top end on his 4 seam and middle 80s with his 2 seam. He appears to be "projectable" to some extent but who knows whether he'll continue increase velocity or not. He's good enough to be attracting the interest of several colleges, but has a long way to go before pro ball enters the picture (if ever).

Like Fungo, I'm just trying to enjoy the ride as long as it lasts.
We should take a poll: How many 6'4" college RHP's wondering what it would take to get drafted? Big Grin (Bizazz, mine is also a 6'4" rising junior.)

I'm surprised at infielddad's reply saying that high 80s college RHP's are sometimes drafted, though I know he DOES know what he is talking about. But I would have thought 90 mph was a prerequisite, along with a lot of other factors.
Really good comments and advice from all. Lets go back to what Fungo said. Do not let the draft dictate what the pitchers arsenal will be
Now about pitching.
If your kid can throw both a 2 and 4 seam FB and can control it, then each pitch has a place and a situation.
If the 2 seamer has any sink at all, its a great pitch when behind in the count and can induce ground balls. 4 seamer with some movement on the plane can be very helpful in situations where a K or pop up would be ideal.
Control of the pitches is paramount.
Why not have a 4 pitch arsenal if he can throw it.
But, do nothing else unless its to improve the pitchers game plan and the chance for team success.
If he gets'em out, and throws 90ish, the scouts will notice.
As for the lefty question, the son of justamom is a jr in college.
Your boy is just entering college. There will be differences.
There is also a great need in the college and pro ranks for lefties that make quality pitches, hide the ball well and get people out. Velocity will always excite the scouts, but a quality lefty can get away with a couple of mph less than a righty as has been noted in recent drafts.
The lefty must get people out with regularity if he has less velocity, maybe he has a big time curve or a great change. He will probably learn a lot in college, which will help determine his future.
Homebuilder,

My son is a rising Jr. HS LHP so I've done a lot of research on this. A Diamondbacks scout at a college camp said he is required to write up any fastball 84+ (Stalker) but that will not get you drafted. I suggest you look at the draft itself to see what's out there. Have you checked out the draft itself? Here's the website:

http://mlb.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/mlb/events/draft/y2006/tracker/search.jsp

On this site you can watch video of the drafted kids and see their radar results. Fascinating stuff! Generally, if LHP he had better be 87+ for the lower rounds, 89+ for the mid-to-upper rounds.. with "stuff". If RHP 90+ for the lower rounds and 92+ for the mid-to-upper rounds with "stuff".
Last edited by Bum
quote:
Originally posted by MN-Mom:
We should take a poll: How many 6'4" college RHP's wondering what it would take to get drafted? Big Grin (Bizazz, mine is also a 6'4" rising junior.)

I'm surprised at infielddad's reply saying that high 80s college RHP's are sometimes drafted, though I know he DOES know what he is talking about. But I would have thought 90 mph was a prerequisite, along with a lot of other factors.


Unless you are 95+++, getting drafted is not all about the Stalker.

I'll offer a little anecdotal evidence. My sons RHP college teammate was drafted 10th round Jr and 11th round Sr. year, when he turned pro. He is 6-1 170#. I sat behind the gun this summer watching him throw a near shutout in high A with the Lakeland Tigers. He was 84-87 topping at 89 that night. He keeps the ball down, moves it and his crooked stuff is very good, slider change. He pitched 155 innings and perhaps he is the exception, but he is there, doing well and thinks he will start at AA this year. Coach told his momma he will throw harder "when he gets an a$$". (fills out with man muscles) Smile

Fungo, he is a teammate of Clete Thomas, Josh's Aurburn Teammate.

Last June the Cajun Sunday starter got drafted by Oakland in the 11th round. He is 6-2 180# and works 88-90, but without the control or stuff of the Tiger prospect, since he didn't pitch till he got to college, but throws 3 pitches for strikes.

If the kid is 6-4, skinny, works in the high 80's and can "pitch", I would think he would get an opportunity. That said, justamom2 has gotten good advice. My son has learned and forgotton more about playing baseball well, than I could ever hope know, because of experience. Me telling him how to play now is like me telling Fungo how to write. Smile

Players develop and hone instincts how to play well, playing well being the goal. Manipulating your game to a goal other than playing well will result in not playing well, which I have seen college pitchers try to do. Scouts know this, especially if they have seen you play well before you try to impress them. It won't usually effect draft status but will hurt the team.

I have also seen college pitchers in the 90's not get drafted because the secondary pitches were either mediocre or they only had two pitches.

Pitchers need 3 pitches to play well. Scouts know pitchers need 3 pitches.

Instead of trying to pitch to the gun, I would hope a pitcher would make sure he had 3 good pitches he threw for strikes, so he could play well.

I remember a very successful scout saying he used the gun the first inning and then later in the game, but mostly he wanted to see if the kid could pitch.

As baseballtoday says, show it once or twice, then play the game, and play to win.
Last edited by Dad04
Back to the original question:

I consider the 2-seamer and the 4-seamer to be different pitches.

If your son can get to 90-91 with his 4-seamer, that's a valuable weapon to have in his arsenal. He should use it.

I wouldn't throw it down the middle or anything, but used in proper sequences and locations it is a pitch he will be able to use with great success.

He should definitely use both pitches regularly. This will help him both now and for whatever future he may have.
Getting back to the original question he should pitch to win , period. Of course you are going to mix in a four seam fastball here and there along with the 2 seamer. But not because you want the scouts to see that you can hit 90. But because you want to get guys out and help your team win the game you are pitching in. Straight 91 is not as impressive as a crooked 88.
Dad04,
There'a LHP on your son's team from Albuquerque that threw 88-91 in HS but went undrafted because he only had two pitches.
He must learned a third pitch by now, and I'm wondering how he's doing. I'm sure you know who I'm talking about.
Spizzlepop

Greg Wilborn is an awesome pitcher. His command is developing rapidly. He was inconsistant his first year but had a very good fall. We are all hoping he turns it on this spring. He's a great kid from a nice family.

My son told me over the holidays the scouts really "loved" Greg this fall.
Last edited by Dad04
Dad04,
Thanks for the update. I'll be interested to see how he does as he's filling a bigger role this year. Is he still working out of the pen?
SP,
The Cajuns have alot of pitching this year. Greg will likely get the opportunity to start mid-week games and maybe move into a weekend starting role, depending on how things shake out the first month. He is competing with two very good juco transfer juniors who have already been drafted. If he does well early, he will probably start. If not, it's the pen for middle relief. The team website is supposed to be up in another month nad you can follow him there. The football team went 4-1 last fall and all the increased internet traffic crashed www.ragincajuns.com. Only in Louisiana. True story. Big Grin

Cajun Preview
Last edited by Dad04
quote:
Originally posted by Midlo Dad:
Back to the original question:

I consider the 2-seamer and the 4-seamer to be different pitches.

If your son can get to 90-91 with his 4-seamer, that's a valuable weapon to have in his arsenal. He should use it.

I wouldn't throw it down the middle or anything, but used in proper sequences and locations it is a pitch he will be able to use with great success.

He should definitely use both pitches regularly. This will help him both now and for whatever future he may have.


I'm far from being qualified as a pitching coach, but I agree with what Milo Dad says.

I would think there would be opportunities to use the 4 seam based on count and situation and hitter as well as purpose and the next pitch.

But I would not change my sequence on any given day based on a scout being at the game...it might make for a short day
Which pitch can depend on the umpire too. My son is a LHP who throws mostly a 2-seam fastball. It moves down and away from right handed pitchers. He is very adept at cutting the front edge off the plate for strikes. Unfortunately, the umps aren't always as adept as seeing that pitch as a strike. He had to learn to throw the 4-seam for a strike in the same location without the sink to get the strike called. A ball thrown with late movement is better than a faster, flatter pitch. Batters have a tougher time adjusting to the pitch.

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