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Hi All: My son is getting ready to go to Showball at the end of this week. They start with a 1-1 count and the games are controlled. Any advice on how he should attack hitters? Should he just pitch like a real game or go in with a plan on showcasing his pitches? He needs to hit a velo number and showcase all his pitches. My thinking was go aggressive with fastball first batter, then fastball/change batter two and then breaking ball after batter two or some mix. I guess the strategy I'm thinking of is let it fly to hit the velo number first when amped (first few batters) and fresh and move on from there...any thoughts or experiences to share would be great... I also don't want to put too much in his head, so there's that, too.

 

Original Post

I say this knowing your profile says you were a college P.  I also say this knowing that others may be inclined to advise differently.  He should pitch to his strengths and stay within himself.  (of course, hopefully, one of his strengths is velo ).  He should maintain composure no matter what happens, like any good P will do.  He should show all his good pitches but in the right counts/situations.

Some will say ya gotta let it fly.  I am a firm believer in having the thought process that you are there because you are a good pitcher.  You are the best version of yourself when you maintain the same preparation, approach and execution that you always do.  I also believe that most P's have their best velo when they pitch within themselves.  If a P is so inclined, the game/count situation will trigger when to reach back for a little extra (again, staying with what he usually does).  

If it's like most showcases, he most likely won't throw more than a couple innings, so it's not like he is going to tire later to the point where his velo would drop.  The only thing that is different is the 1-1 count.  So, I would maybe put even a little more premium on getting ahead with the first pitch - make sure it is a pitch that can be thrown for a strike, either with good location or good life/movement.

All this said, I am not naive to the the fact that many P's will reach back with a few early to make sure they get that good top velo reading.  Nothing wrong with picking a spot or two to let it fly but, overall, be the good pitcher that you are.

Yes, they are looking for velo.  Yes, they are looking for good secondary stuff.  But those are just the conversation starters.  They really want to see those plus pitchability, competitiveness and composure.

Last edited by cabbagedad

It took a fair amount of convincing to have my son switch strategy from "Game Mode" to "Showcase Mode".  My guy just does not like to give up walks and pounds the zone.  He loves the 1-1 because he just fools over-aggressive hitters on off speed.  So for a long time he'd come out of a showcase with 0ER's and 7k's and wonder why he wasn't getting the love.  At certain point I just advised him, "these coaches gotta know you can just flat out hurl" and he finally got it and made the adjustment to let a few fly early.  But pitchers are creatures of habit so it can be tough to get them to adjust. 

We only did a couple of showcases, but at both of them the coaches behind the screen sometimes called pitches. It wasn't constant, but it seemed pretty routine. There are lots of people on this board with more expertise and experience, but it does seem like these showcases are not about outcomes. I'm sure if you're a pitcher and you give up a bunch of bombs that will hurt you, but coaches seem to be focused much more on mechanics and movement then situational wins or losses.

May be off topic (apologies) but thought of a couple questions in regards to catching showcase games. For situations where you may not be catching with your normal team. Thought it was fitting here, talking about pitching strategy.

Does the catcher normally call the pitches like in other games? (they would need to speak to the pitcher to see what pitches they have in all these cases)

Do they work with the pitcher to determine what they want to throw? Sample: Son was helping out a team where the coach allowed the pitcher to choose his own pitches. He would give the signal for the pitch he thought should be thrown and if the pitcher didn’t agree, he would run through the signals for the other pitches the pitcher had (mixing the sequence each time), until he received the yes head shake. Same as normal pitch shake offs.

Should he work out a signal, like taping the face mask before the sign to let the pitcher know it is a pitch one of the coaches sitting behind him said he wanted to see. So the pitcher throws that pitch?

Or does he just let the pitcher throw whatever he wants, and expect anything.

Or would the pitcher prefer something else?

@TxballDad posted:

May be off topic (apologies) but thought of a couple questions in regards to catching showcase games. For situations where you may not be catching with your normal team. Thought it was fitting here, talking about pitching strategy.

Does the catcher normally call the pitches like in other games? (they would need to speak to the pitcher to see what pitches they have in all these cases)

Do they work with the pitcher to determine what they want to throw? Sample: Son was helping out a team where the coach allowed the pitcher to choose his own pitches. He would give the signal for the pitch he thought should be thrown and if the pitcher didn’t agree, he would run through the signals for the other pitches the pitcher had (mixing the sequence each time), until he received the yes head shake. Same as normal pitch shake offs.

Should he work out a signal, like taping the face mask before the sign to let the pitcher know it is a pitch one of the coaches sitting behind him said he wanted to see. So the pitcher throws that pitch?

Or does he just let the pitcher throw whatever he wants, and expect anything.

Or would the pitcher prefer something else?

Unless someone involved in the showcase is calling the pitches the pitcher should be able to call his own. Catcher should talk to pitcher beforehand to discuss signs. In game situation C puts down a sign and P shakes until he gets the one he wants. P is the one being evaluated, and is the one responsible for the result, so it should be up to him what pitch to throw - and he should understand his strengths enough to know what to throw when. C is being evaluated mostly on how he catches & throws and needs to focus on that. Besides all that, the next HS catcher I meet that understands how to call pitches for a pitcher he just met will be the first one. 

adbono, 

Got it, that is why I asked.

Catcher would only have a general idea, based on what the pitcher tells him he has, how his warm up pitches go (hopefully showed all his pitches in warm up) and batter setup (unless he has seen the hitter before, like watched his BP or prior inning).

It should be the pitchers decision on what to throw. 

So go with these two: 

Talk with the pitcher to determine what they have or want to throw.  He should run through the signals for the pitches the pitcher has (mixing the sequence each time), until he received the yes head shake. Same as normal pitch shake offs.

Work out a signal, like taping the face mask before the sign to let the pitcher know it is a pitch one of the coaches sitting behind him said he wanted to see. So the pitcher throws that pitch.

Thanks

 

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