Fingers off the seams???

The major league ball is so, so much less textured than an amateur ball. That's a big reason pitchers use rosin/sunscreen (if they aren't cheating and just want a grip) or pine tar / firm grip (if they are cheating).

Feel a brand-new, poorly-rubbed minor league or major league ball. It feels like warm ice in your hand.

So, here is my take on command - it either comes or it doesn't. I don't teach command; I teach consistency and velocity. In my experience, command comes with repetition once mechanics are cemented to the greatest degree possible. The more you screw around with mechanics, the longer it's going to take to maximize command. I used to try and teach command by targeting and focus - trying to pitch to smaller and smaller spots. Others try to get command out of their pitchers by tempering velocity. I really don't think either method works. In the past few years, as I continually increase my focus on underweight/overweight programs, I believe I'm seeing much better results in improved command that accompanies increased velocity. I think a lot of this has to do with proprioception work. 

My best example is always Randy Johnson. You may remember that early in his career, he was about as wild as it gets in the majors. He was also constantly screwing around with his mechanics. Once he got that down, his accuracy greatly improved. 

Kyle Boddy posted:

The major league ball is so, so much less textured than an amateur ball. That's a big reason pitchers use rosin/sunscreen (if they aren't cheating and just want a grip) or pine tar / firm grip (if they are cheating).

Feel a brand-new, poorly-rubbed minor league or major league ball. It feels like warm ice in your hand.

Anything interesting or unique you have run across with MLB/MiLB pitchers to improve grip?  Heard something once about using a nail file on the fingertips themsleves.  Suppose this might work for a single outing or two, but might build up some callouses longer term.  

Any strategies as it relates to weather?  Daily moisturizing?  Fluid intake?  Perspiration issues?  Gloves (thinking hand model stuff here)?  Manicures?  Always assumed MLB teams had a manicurist in staff, but think someone corrected me on that one.  Maybe this won't be of any real value, but I have to believe there are some funny stories out there.

The spin rate thing is something I paid minimal attention to until last summer when my kid was at the PG Jr. Nationals. He's always thrown a "heavy" fastball. I couldn't help but notice his fastball spin rate at that event maxed out at 1157 rpm. His changeup, by comparison (which actually sucks) was at 1667 rpm and his curve at 1172. These numbers seemed awfully low when comparing him to other pitchers and my first instinct was to research ways I might improve those numbers. However, my research led me to 1) question the validity of such a slow spin rate on an 88mph fastball and 2) decide that, if the numbers were indeed valid, I wouldn't want to mess with them. It might actually explain his extraordinary swing and miss rate at events where a high 80's fastball should be rather hittable.

justbaseball posted:
roothog66 posted:
Dominik85 posted:

2 or 4 seam? I think a low spin 4 seamer is never good.

however I would not try to tinker with that yet and Focus on developing command and Velo.

So, a serious question because, after 35 years of coaching I still don't have an answer; how do you "develop" command?

It is a good/serious question.  I don't know the answer really - our older son tells me that he ultimately moved into a reliever role in pro ball because he didn't have the same command that starters have.  Why couldn't he be trained to have more of it?

But a clue to the 'develop' part that may be worth something?  Our younger son, who has such good command that at times he has been coached in pro ball to throw pitches more out of the zone on purpose at times.  In his HS program (different from older son's and one of the best), nearly every bullpen came with a command and control "game."  PC would award points, hamburgers, milk shakes, whatever....to the pitchers for winning a 'game' of locating their pitches.  The program in general had high rewards for locating pitches in practices and games.  Pretty much a mindset, embedded in his brain.

Don't know if that is largely responsible?  Or maybe its just a skill not everyone has?  But I gotta believe that four HS years had more than a little impact on his command.

I think generally teams want every pitcher to be a starter but at some point they want to see results. If you are a power arm and you are 22 with 4 minor league years they might prefer that he becomes a good reliever instead of waiting more years for something that might never come. But if you are 19 and in your second  year they probably give you more chances.

I also read that small market teams often give more chances to Start because they cant buy SP while big market and contending teams might prefer quick help from the pen. 

2017LHPscrewball posted:
Kyle Boddy posted:

The major league ball is so, so much less textured than an amateur ball. That's a big reason pitchers use rosin/sunscreen (if they aren't cheating and just want a grip) or pine tar / firm grip (if they are cheating).

Feel a brand-new, poorly-rubbed minor league or major league ball. It feels like warm ice in your hand.

Anything interesting or unique you have run across with MLB/MiLB pitchers to improve grip?  Heard something once about using a nail file on the fingertips themsleves.  Suppose this might work for a single outing or two, but might build up some callouses longer term.  

Any strategies as it relates to weather?  Daily moisturizing?  Fluid intake?  Perspiration issues?  Gloves (thinking hand model stuff here)?  Manicures?  Always assumed MLB teams had a manicurist in staff, but think someone corrected me on that one.  Maybe this won't be of any real value, but I have to believe there are some funny stories out there.

Not really. Usual pine tar and substances stuff on the hands. Nothing too crazy.

Kyle Boddy posted:
2017LHPscrewball posted:
Kyle Boddy posted:

The major league ball is so, so much less textured than an amateur ball. That's a big reason pitchers use rosin/sunscreen (if they aren't cheating and just want a grip) or pine tar / firm grip (if they are cheating).

Feel a brand-new, poorly-rubbed minor league or major league ball. It feels like warm ice in your hand.

Anything interesting or unique you have run across with MLB/MiLB pitchers to improve grip?  Heard something once about using a nail file on the fingertips themsleves.  Suppose this might work for a single outing or two, but might build up some callouses longer term.  

Any strategies as it relates to weather?  Daily moisturizing?  Fluid intake?  Perspiration issues?  Gloves (thinking hand model stuff here)?  Manicures?  Always assumed MLB teams had a manicurist in staff, but think someone corrected me on that one.  Maybe this won't be of any real value, but I have to believe there are some funny stories out there.

Not really. Usual pine tar and substances stuff on the hands. Nothing too crazy.

Have you done actual measurements With Pine tar? Does it really help? 

I would think it would most definitely help if the pitcher has no tackiness to his fingertips and the ball sort of slides out of the fingertips as opposed to the ball getting that final bit of force applied at the tip of the fingertips.  There are lots of folks that think pine tar ought to be legal at times - probably if the umpire is going to let the pitcher go to his mouth, then it is probably cold enough to break out the pine tar.  The folks that promote pine tar during cold weather argue that it improves safety as fewer pitches "get away" from the pitcher.  Pine tar probably has limited added value on FB spin rate for some 15 yo with supple hands pitching in 85 degree weather.  

interesting rules on what the pitcher can (very little) and what they cannot do (long list) to the ball during a game.  The only legal thing they can do is "rub it with their bare hands".  The rule clearly states that you cannot apply licorice to the ball among other substances.  My understanding of "spit" is to either reduce spin (have the ball slide out of fingers) or, when heavily applied, make the ball unbalanced.

Looks like there is some research on the topic.  The abstract says the findings may be applicable in tool handle and work station surface design.  

An investigation of human palmar skin friction and the effects of materials, pinch force and moisture

Pages 317-325 | Received 12 May 1987, Accepted 25 Sep 1987, Published online: 31 May 2007

Root you and I have made almost identical posts on this thread!  Right down to having sons with low spin rate. Yes the high spin rate four seemer is sexier and will have higher swing and miss tate cause easier to adjust a bat down slightly in mid swing than up. But ground ball rate will be up and pitch counts down. We are experimenting with wrist large back on four seemer now - just four seemer. Not sure he will be able to do that for one pitch only but we will see. But while everybody else is out there looking for the hook grail - high rpm four seemer - we are sticking with the easier to manipulate low rpm two seemers and change up.  I am confident in three years time there will be colleges smart enough to pick up a pitcher because of low rpm. If not...  got to eat some more chicken wings and fatten up for football!

I used to throw my FB with my fingers across the railroad tracks, the way I saw Roger Clemens showed it on TV once, but I don't know anyone who uses that grip.  It improves my SR and helps me get further distance on the ball, but with 0-2mph decrease in velocity.  Some people pitch a softball FB with that grip as it reduces drag at low speeds.  At high speeds, the traditional 4 seam grip would also reduce drag and create lift at the same time.  

As for pine tar, that tiger stick looks like good stuff.  

Some Scouts say you can develope control but not command (of course control vs command is arbitrary but Scouts say control is throwing in or very near the strike Zone and command is hitting spots - kinda like fine Motor skills vs gross Motor skills like Lifting a dumbell vs painting an art work).

that basically means you often can teach a wild guy that is all over the place and misses by 3 feet all the time to throw the ball near the Zone rather consistently but you can't teach "painting the Corners" consistently.

I would say that being able to throw "near" the Zone is an important skill. of course you Need to throw strikes but if a guy consistently misses by 3-4 inches it can be bad in a given game with a tight ump but it is not as worrysome as a guy who misses by 2-3 feet all the time.

without control it is hard to survive as a pitcher, but guys with plus stuff can get away with mediocre command if they avoid too many walks (especially in the BP, as a starter that is tougher).

I believe when you say command it also encompasses making the ball do what you want it to do - run in on the fists, tail away from the lefty, sharp breaking ball etc. not only throwing strikes in the right area of the plate but making the ball do what you want it to do as well. 

Kyle Boddy posted:
Scott Munroe posted:

Kyle,

Is there a particular stat from the Trackman offerings that coaches are looking at? Besides Velo..

Haha, you know them too well.

Spin rate and direction are two major things, as well as total movement of pitches. I hired a very intelligent kid from UNC who is 18 years old and runs an 8 person analytics team for the baseball team. They chop up Trackman data like you wouldn't believe. They have a lot of input on the field and in recruiting. UNC is becoming the most statistically-advanced college baseball team in the nation. 

Is the spin efficiency (measured by Rapsodo, I think, not Trackman) a relevant item? I guess that correlates with movement, so maybe that is the right metric for them?

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