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Someone smarter than me, recently pointed out to me this:  Pitchers with more breaking stuff and work low in the zone get more contact but keep the pitch count down.  Pitchers who like to throw the fastball up in the zone get lots of foul tips and typically run the pitch counts up. There is a place for both, depends on their role and the situation.  Got to figure out what works for them and where they feel confident.

wareagle posted:

Someone smarter than me, recently pointed out to me this:  Pitchers with more breaking stuff and work low in the zone get more contact but keep the pitch count down.  Pitchers who like to throw the fastball up in the zone get lots of foul tips and typically run the pitch counts up. There is a place for both, depends on their role and the situation.  Got to figure out what works for them and where they feel confident.

Why not do both?

Go44dad posted:
wareagle posted:

Someone smarter than me, recently pointed out to me this:  Pitchers with more breaking stuff and work low in the zone get more contact but keep the pitch count down.  Pitchers who like to throw the fastball up in the zone get lots of foul tips and typically run the pitch counts up. There is a place for both, depends on their role and the situation.  Got to figure out what works for them and where they feel confident.

Why not do both?

Doesn't spin rate dictate a lot of the effectiveness on where a pitcher should work? 

CTbballDad posted:

Wow, good timing.  My son has a very long stride and does not lock his front leg.  Helps him live at the bottom of the zone, but with all the DH plane talk, I've thought about changing his mechanics.  Guess I'll pass...

A long stride is good, but if he doesn't straighten his stride leg (and come up & over it) as he delivers the pitch he will stall behind the front knee and will never achieve maximum velocity. Doesn't mean that he cant be effective but he will never throw as hard as he can. The point being made in the twitter quotes about extension being very important is dead on - and a good cue for that is to think about accelerating the arm toward the target. Perceived (reaction) velo is more important than actual velo. But to say  that DH plane is bullsh*t is nonsense. Extension (and perceived velo) & DH plane aren't mutually exclusive.  You want both.  Most pitchers lose their downhill plane by collapsing their post leg as they initiate their move to the plate - which kills momentum and results in a pitcher that is 6'-2" tall turning his effective height into 5' something.  Then you get a flatter pitch that's thrown at less than maximum velocity - and its much easier to hit.  Why would you want that?!

adbono posted:
CTbballDad posted:

Wow, good timing.  My son has a very long stride and does not lock his front leg.  Helps him live at the bottom of the zone, but with all the DH plane talk, I've thought about changing his mechanics.  Guess I'll pass...

A long stride is good, but if he doesn't straighten his stride leg (and come up & over it) as he delivers the pitch he will stall behind the front knee and will never achieve maximum velocity. Doesn't mean that he cant be effective but he will never throw as hard as he can. The point being made in the twitter quotes about extension being very important is dead on - and a good cue for that is to think about accelerating the arm toward the target. Perceived (reaction) velo is more important than actual velo. But to say  that DH plane is bullsh*t is nonsense. Extension (and perceived velo) & DH plane aren't mutually exclusive.  You want both.  Most pitchers lose their downhill plane by collapsing their post leg as they initiate their move to the plate - which kills momentum and results in a pitcher that is 6'-2" tall turning his effective height into 5' something.  Then you get a flatter pitch that's thrown at less than maximum velocity - and its much easier to hit.  Why would you want that?!

Would you consider this collapsing?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IevyK6Fu0Og

adbono posted:
CTbballDad posted:

Wow, good timing.  My son has a very long stride and does not lock his front leg.  Helps him live at the bottom of the zone, but with all the DH plane talk, I've thought about changing his mechanics.  Guess I'll pass...

A long stride is good, but if he doesn't straighten his stride leg (and come up & over it) as he delivers the pitch he will stall behind the front knee and will never achieve maximum velocity. Doesn't mean that he cant be effective but he will never throw as hard as he can. The point being made in the twitter quotes about extension being very important is dead on - and a good cue for that is to think about accelerating the arm toward the target. Perceived (reaction) velo is more important than actual velo. But to say  that DH plane is bullsh*t is nonsense. Extension (and perceived velo) & DH plane aren't mutually exclusive.  You want both.  Most pitchers lose their downhill plane by collapsing their post leg as they initiate their move to the plate - which kills momentum and results in a pitcher that is 6'-2" tall turning his effective height into 5' something.  Then you get a flatter pitch that's thrown at less than maximum velocity - and its much easier to hit.  Why would you want that?!

Adbono is right on concerning stride length.  Through the years, son's pitching coach has been adamant on keeping the stride only as long as his body/core strength will allow with him still being able to get on top of the ball.  At 14/15 yo it was about 85% of his height.  16/17 started getting closer to 100%.  Stride to far without the core strength ball get's flat, spin drops, outfielders get a workout.

I'm a dad, not a coach.  That's enough mechanics for me.  Adbono can take it farther, or explain better.

d-mac posted:
adbono posted:
CTbballDad posted:

Wow, good timing.  My son has a very long stride and does not lock his front leg.  Helps him live at the bottom of the zone, but with all the DH plane talk, I've thought about changing his mechanics.  Guess I'll pass...

A long stride is good, but if he doesn't straighten his stride leg (and come up & over it) as he delivers the pitch he will stall behind the front knee and will never achieve maximum velocity. Doesn't mean that he cant be effective but he will never throw as hard as he can. The point being made in the twitter quotes about extension being very important is dead on - and a good cue for that is to think about accelerating the arm toward the target. Perceived (reaction) velo is more important than actual velo. But to say  that DH plane is bullsh*t is nonsense. Extension (and perceived velo) & DH plane aren't mutually exclusive.  You want both.  Most pitchers lose their downhill plane by collapsing their post leg as they initiate their move to the plate - which kills momentum and results in a pitcher that is 6'-2" tall turning his effective height into 5' something.  Then you get a flatter pitch that's thrown at less than maximum velocity - and its much easier to hit.  Why would you want that?!

Would you consider this collapsing?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IevyK6Fu0Og

send me a PM if you want to get into this 

adbono posted:
d-mac posted:
adbono posted:
CTbballDad posted:

Wow, good timing.  My son has a very long stride and does not lock his front leg.  Helps him live at the bottom of the zone, but with all the DH plane talk, I've thought about changing his mechanics.  Guess I'll pass...

A long stride is good, but if he doesn't straighten his stride leg (and come up & over it) as he delivers the pitch he will stall behind the front knee and will never achieve maximum velocity. Doesn't mean that he cant be effective but he will never throw as hard as he can. The point being made in the twitter quotes about extension being very important is dead on - and a good cue for that is to think about accelerating the arm toward the target. Perceived (reaction) velo is more important than actual velo. But to say  that DH plane is bullsh*t is nonsense. Extension (and perceived velo) & DH plane aren't mutually exclusive.  You want both.  Most pitchers lose their downhill plane by collapsing their post leg as they initiate their move to the plate - which kills momentum and results in a pitcher that is 6'-2" tall turning his effective height into 5' something.  Then you get a flatter pitch that's thrown at less than maximum velocity - and its much easier to hit.  Why would you want that?!

Would you consider this collapsing?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IevyK6Fu0Og

send me a PM if you want to get into this 

Just asking you a question from your post.  I consider collapsing when the knee moves inward via the old coaching cue of take your knee to your target.  What Kenley is doing is what 99% of MLB pitchers do and it is not collapsing, in my opinion.

Last edited by d-mac

More than one way...   movement is key though.  I'm certainly not buying that downhill plane is totally BS.  But, there are still more variables involved. 

Kyle and gang are certainly more qualified than I am and I'm not backing this up with any science or analytics but, IMO...  There are tall P's with a downhill approach but their spin and release result in a slight tail that negates some of the downhill efforts, making them quite hittable.  There are shorter P's who have a natural over-the-top motion and their release and spin result in added downward movement.  These guys can be very tough to hit.  Any type of significant movement from the initial perceived track will tend to make for an effective FB.  I do know that, as a hitter, it was always tough to step in the box and feel confident about putting a good swing on a hard pitch that had good downward plane and movement - just didn't stay in the path of the bat long.

I get that people believe that downhill plane is useful, or that it makes intuitive sense to them that it should be useful . . . but all of this stuff -- for downhill plane and lots of other baseball beliefs -- is going to end up in the data, one way or the other. If downhill plane is useful, it'll be proven to be useful. And if it's not, it'll be proven not to be useful. And our beliefs or intuition won't have anything to do with it.

I believe in the data as well. for a high school / college pitcher who needs to get outs I believe in

pitching ahead in the count

down in the zone

quickly in between pitches

throwing your best pitches after a fielding error when the team needs you the most...

if and when you get to some point in time the "data" is relevant then use it. my guess based on the name 2019Dad his son, and also the vast majority of players most of us reference here, are not in a position of where they have enough data to be overly reliable or that they are advanced enough players, or that the competition they are playing is advanced enough said data to help or hurt him!

MLB data doesn't apply apples to apples to HS level ball, or even most of college ball.

Just my opinion.

old_school posted:

quickly in between pitches

 

^^This

I was just watching one of my fav vids i have of son at NC State in 2017. He came in the game early in relief and we were down. He got behind and a cather's interference call and hit and guys were on with no outs. I think it was the 7th inning. He was facing the heart of the order and they have been smashing the whole game. He struck out the side, busted all three of them inside and in the middle of the 3 batters old Elliott Avent called time and slowly walked to his guy who was 2nd up and talked with him for what seemed like an hour, working to slow Ryley down. What a shrewd coach. I chuckle thinking about it and appreciate what he was doing. We lost but that effort was one of the best from RC all season.

Sorry for the threadjack. 

Last edited by Shoveit4Ks

Well, I see "downhill plane" lauded in baseball left and right. Just by way of example, here are scout notes from a PG event: https://www.perfectgame.org/ar...w.aspx?article=14580

  • ". . . created good downhill plane from an over-the-top arm slot"
  • "The arm action was short and compact with an over-the-top arm slot. The slot created good downhill plane on the fastball"
  • ". . . but he was able to make and adjustment and get back to working on top of the ball which allowed for downhill plane"

Downhill plane is one of those things repeated in baseball circles like a mantra. What Boddy and the others are saying is it is meaningless -- it's not correlated with better pitching. Though the data that's relevant isn't data for an individual pitcher, it's the overall data across all pitchers.

And I don't disagree with any of your four keys to pitching, Old School.

2019, I read the tweets but I don't see an explanation of why/how it would be meaningless.  Can you explain it to me?  

In my simple mind... we all know that a pitch thrown from a regulation mound at velocities and spin rates that are currently being achieved cannot actually go uphill.  So, the options are something close to flat or something more downhill.  With consideration to the strike zone and typical size of most hitters, if a P keeps the ball in the lower half of the strike zone and has a plane that is noticeably downhill, a hitter will have more difficulty putting a good swing on that pitch that keeps the barrel on plane for any length of time as compared to doing so on a pitch  that has a flatter plane.  Yes, he can match his swing plane to the pitch but it requires him to first get the barrel further below the ball before getting it on that steeper plane.  So, timing and execution are more difficult.  Add in perception of the hitter and it only compounds the level of difficulty.  

What am I missing?  I am always genuinely open to learning.

Teaching Elder is likely right in the majors. What that third tweet says is:

"downhill plane", as measured by either release height or vertical release angle, has very little correlation to hitter contact rate for fastballs."

I suspect it's always been overvalued because it SEEMS to make sense -- and Cabbage, you did a good job of explaining the logic. But, I dunno, would Chris Sale or Randy Johnson be harder to hit if they threw over the top? I doubt it. 

Teach, I agree that swings generally have adjusted (slightly up/launch angle, etc.) and that somewhat negates the effects of a DP provided that pitch location is in the mid to upper range of the zone.  But the hands start somewhere near the shoulders and the hands have to take the barrel below the ball before it can get on plane.  When that all has to happen in time to square up a FB, it is difficult for most hitters to get there when the ball is relatively down in the zone and more so when it has DP.  So, DP is still quite effective, IMO.  I also agree with you that with the current swing adjustments, working up in the zone (selectively and with adequate velo) is also effective, more so than when the swing plane is more level.  I just don't buy that this makes DP complete BS, as one of the tweets states.  I know you aren't stating that as your opinion either... just tying this in to the OP.  I don't read many of the scout evaluations so i don't know if the use of the term is overused - I'm sure that is possible.  

2019, love the Sale/Johnson references... so, actually, if those two threw more over the top, they would be Chapman, which ain't bad either, right?    I know, he's not really a DP guy either.  This goes back to the first thing I said in my first post in this thread... "more than one way".  Movement is key.  A lower arm angle can have the same effect in reverse... to a hitter, that Sale/Johnson FB actually looks like it rises.  Also very difficult to hit.   In all three of these instances though, a seven foot wingspan, supreme velo and decent movement are pretty big factors.  

I don't doubt that there is little correlation to FB contact rate but I would be surprised if there was no correlation to higher GB rate for guys who both have DP and use it properly (staying down in the zone with it most often).  A good DP guy will be like a good sinker guy in the sense that he will get lots of GB's, not necessarily lots of swing-and-miss.  But still very effective and not BS.

 

Btw I did some research and even with the modern swing high pitches still yield higher launch angles than low pitches (20 vs about 5 degrees in mlb) however it seems that high pitches generate more misses and weak contacts- especially pop ups.

It also depends on the hitter, there are still many hitters in mlb who need the ball middle to up to elevate (like yelich for example) while others are very good at "golfing" the low ball (like trout or cespedes). 

Good stuff D.  And, yes, high spin-rate pitchers are supposed to be the guys who can flourish better up in the zone.  In fact, they were saying that down in the zone hurts those guys because the ball stays a little flatter and more hittable.   That made sense to me, and I have wondered about it in regard to my own son.  He is no power pitcher, but has always had an ability to consistently thrive waist high, while often getting tagged on good pitches down in the zone.  When I say consistently, I don't mean he could elevate at times and blow a guy away.  I mean pitch after pitch at the waist, and guys had trouble catching up to low 80s stuff.  Pop ups, foul balls, swings and misses.  Pretty weird when guys going to Ole Miss, and Miss. State and Arkansas are doing it.  

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not saying my kid is the stuff.  He ended up D3.  Threw three innings against Team Elite two summers ago, and they hit three bombs off of him during that time.  So... 

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