I don’t believe being a two way in high school is a big deal. The catcher, shortstop and center fielder going on to college ball are likely have big arms relative to high school. Only ten percent of high school players go on to college ball. Against most high school lineups a quality high school pitcher only has to get by three or four hitters who can really hurt him. 

When you get to travel ball providing college exposure you should make up your mind. You don’t want to diminish both talents trying to do both. You want to optimize one talent.

RJM posted:

I don’t believe being a two way in high school is a big deal. The catcher, shortstop and center fielder going on to college ball are likely have big arms relative to high school. Only ten percent of high school players go on to college ball. Against most high school lineups a quality high school pitcher only has to get by three or four hitters who can really hurt him. 

When you get to travel ball providing college exposure you should make up your mind. You don’t want to diminish both talents trying to do both. You want to optimize one talent.

That is kind of my point of my OP.  Why should a HS coach make a kid be a PO -  if he is good enough to hit and play other positions, especially if only 10% of HS kids go onto college? Why not let the kid(s) pitch, play a position and hit and have fun? Especially if HS is the end of the road. Now, if the kid is on the team to pitch only because he has nothing else to offer, that is a totally different topic - and that should be made clear by the HS coach from the beginning. My 2 cents on that.

Now, for a kid that is serious about going to college, if he knows he is PO material only, then that is a conversation and decision for the player and parents to have, along with any appropriate coaches/trainers.  I completely agree with mastering your strengths to put one in the best position for advancement as possible.  I was an outside hitter in HS volleyball, but I loved playing the setter position.  My coach let me play that position every once and a while in games and let me practice it because she knew it made volleyball fun for me.  But, my JO coach said "no-no" and I was strictly an outside hitter and only focused on that when I was with my JO team.  That is what got me to college.  That is what I feel travel/showcase teams are for - not necessarily HS.  Again - just my 2 scents. 

 

This all depends on your team. Our hs team is as competitive as a summer team.  There are quite a few like that in our state.     We have a kid throwing 90 who will probably ride the bench this year.  My son committed to a P5 after a sophomore year riding the bench.  If a team isn’t really strong it’s probably easy to be a two way but that is not the case in a lot of the baseball hotbed states.

Last edited by baseballhs

Most HS coaches I've seen would have pitchers hit. But I know there is a difference between a DH/P  and a P who plays another position. I am surprised coach is limiting things and agree with Shoveit4Ks--are the other players better. For the OP, some HS players select a travel/showcase/Legion team where they can display other tools, play other positions.  If your son wants to be a 2-way players in college (and showcases really well) there are schools that will welcome it.  Probably more common at schools with smaller rosters.

Son had a college teammate who was one of the leagues top closers(good fastball, slider occasional 93MPH, and power hitters. He got hurt his senior year, and is now a graduate student at a P5 with his 4th year of eligibility. He's pitched in relief, 1B,DH and currently (it's early) has team's highest BA.

Around here, there are lots of two way players for the smaller schools, where they need every player they can get. At the bigger, more competitive schools with multiple future college players, not so much. My eldest SS/CF had the arm, but only pitched a handful of games as a reliever, and got to hate it, because it was usually in an emergency situation with little to no warning. He threw pretty hard for a non P(round 85), and his arm started to hurt, so it affected him in practice the next day, and beyond. He also hated seeing balls drop in the OF when he was pitching that he thought he could've gotten to. Another MIF friend in the same situation messed his arm up so bad he had trouble hitting, which was really bad because he was a bopper. 

Once they get to be big boys, with the big boy velo, you can't be messing around. Proper warmup, and rest between starts is essential. If you are a starting P/SS then one out of every 4 games at a minimum you will be missing from the MIF, and chances are that will throw the D out of whack. If you are smart, you also should be resting your arm properly between starts, which might mean missing another start at SS. That REALLY messes up the D. To me, the only position that is semi- ok is 1B, as the stress on the arm is minimal. DH, of course, is fine. 

   Every year i see it. Dad's bragging about how their son can play both ways, and how he has a rubber arm. I used to do it. Here's the thing...they usually don't tell you about the pain till it's bad. They might whisper among themselves, but don't tell coaches, or parents. Next thing you know, the kid is in a sling,  out for the season.

 

As far as colleges, I know this. Many coaches promise a kid that he will get a chance to be a two way. Very few coaches actually let a player be a two way. Exceptions are small colleges(usually HA D3's) that are not known for their baseball. They are usually desperate for anyone who can touch 80 and throw a strike. Those schools also play less games, so there is more time to rest.

   

Last edited by 57special

Fordham has a pretty successful 2 way player that's a senior now. I believe he's done it his entire 4 year career there.

As my son was coming up through the ranks (a HS senior now) it seemed that the top players were valued more for their pitching than anything else.  It was easy for a number of them to slowly become POs without really making a conscience decision about it.  My son had to stop pitching at 14U due to a chronic elbow problem, I now think that was a blessing in disguise as his hitting really took off once he could focus on it.

Son’s HS team currently has two 2-way 2020 players committed to D1 (one is a P5). Both have been 2-way starters since sophomore year. Also have a 2018 alumni who is a 2-way at P5, Fri or Sat starter. Team isn’t shallow, the guys are just that good, and coach recognizes it.  

Just down the road from us we have three 2022s playing V in a top-25 nationally ranked program (deservedly or not) who are all 2-way players. As above, team isn’t shallow. 

So this takes the question in a slightly different directly (but not really from the OP):  which do kids prefer to do, pitch or hit/field?  Not "which is going to get them to the next level," but "which would they rather do if just given the choice"?   Understanding that they are not always given the choice in hs.

anotherparent posted:

So this takes the question in a slightly different directly (but not really from the OP):  which do kids prefer to do, pitch or hit/field?  Not "which is going to get them to the next level," but "which would they rather do if just given the choice"?   Understanding that they are not always given the choice in hs.

All pitchers want to hit any chance they get. Lots of position players have no interest in ever getting on the mound. I pitched only because that’s the only way I could play in college. So my experience is that given the choice kids would rather hit and play a position. That way you are every game instead of every 4th or 5th game. 

I can only speak on behalf of mine but his preference is to play where he's most needed to the team and what gets him on the field.   His High School coaches utilize him at SS, 3B, and 2B and he pitches depending on what the rotation and lineup are for that day.  

Most if not all "2 way players" grew up being "the guy" at least locally. They usually don't want to be told they can't play every day, so they fight against being a pitcher.  

adbono posted:

All pitchers want to hit any chance they get. Lots of position players have no interest in ever getting on the mound. I pitched only because that’s the only way I could play in college. So my experience is that given the choice kids would rather hit and play a position. That way you are every game instead of every 4th or 5th game. 

Definitely agree.  My son's HS team has several D1 committed position players who used to be good pitchers at 14/15...none of them want any part of it now.

ReluctantO'sFan posted:

Most if not all "2 way players" grew up being "the guy" at least locally. They usually don't want to be told they can't play every day, so they fight against being a pitcher.  

So true!! My kid loves to play everyday!!! It doesn't matter where coach puts him - 3rd, SS, CF, pitching...he just wants to play.  He truly LOVES the game.  But, he knows as he gets older, his arm (if he continues on the path he is on) is what will take him to the next level.  

BaseballMOM05 posted:
ReluctantO'sFan posted:

Most if not all "2 way players" grew up being "the guy" at least locally. They usually don't want to be told they can't play every day, so they fight against being a pitcher.  

So true!! My kid loves to play everyday!!! It doesn't matter where coach puts him - 3rd, SS, CF, pitching...he just wants to play.  He truly LOVES the game.  But, he knows as he gets older, his arm (if he continues on the path he is on) is what will take him to the next level.  

Had a chance to read back through this a little, and I just wanted to be clear. I'm NOT saying that your son shouldn't be a 2-way player. Sounds like at his HS, they need him to do that. I would tell him to keep having fun playing around the diamond (baseball is a game after all, and at its core is FUN). Keep us updated on his success, and I'll be rooting for him. Just don't be surprised (or think it is the end of the world) if he will need to dedicate himself to one craft as the level of competition increases. 

Why can't a pitcher be both a pitcher and a position player?......If the kid is better than the other players at certain position why would a coach not play him? Really. 

Will posted:

Why can't a pitcher be both a pitcher and a position player?......If the kid is better than the other players at certain position why would a coach not play him? Really. 

??? C'mon, that's like saying the sky is blue ??? not really the direction of the thread or did I miss something ???

adbono posted:
anotherparent posted:

...which do kids prefer to do, pitch or hit/field?  Not "which is going to get them to the next level," but "which would they rather do if just given the choice"?   Understanding that they are not always given the choice in hs.

All pitchers want to hit any chance they get. Lots of position players have no interest in ever getting on the mound. I pitched only because that’s the only way I could play in college. So my experience is that given the choice kids would rather hit and play a position. That way you are every game instead of every 4th or 5th game. 

Interesting question, anotherparent.  Agree with Adbono... I think this is most typical.  Over many years of coaching HS ball, I have had VERY few come into the program as freshmen thinking they JUST wanted to pitch.  I would take it a step further and say all kids want to hit/field and many want to do both.  But thinking it through, there are certainly some who see their strength as P, have more success there, thrive there and feel they have a bigger impact on the game so they  prefer being on the mound over in the box or playing another position.

Usually, it is some point during their HS years that it becomes apparent that they may have to choose PO if they are to earn PT and/or advance to the next level.

I think most college coaches would love to have a roster full of 2-way guys.  More bang for your scholarship buck, more options, and if a kid gets hurt or fails in one role, the team might still get production out of him in the other.

But the reality is, it's hard enough to get onto a college roster in one role.  While there are definitely guys who can handle multiple roles, they are rare beasts.  The higher the level of baseball, the harder it becomes to be both.

That's especially so given that the weight lifting regimes are markedly different for pitchers vs. hitters.  A guy who bulks up his upper body for hitting power may put himself at risk of a labrum tear if he also pitches.  Conversely, a guy following the pitching regimen might be diminished in his development of power, which gets to be a big deal when the kid who was a stud hitter in HS finds that his 380' fly ball to CF is no longer a HR, but rather, the proverbial "can of corn."

As for high school ball:  I don't know of any HS team that's as strong as a college team, plus the rosters are typically only half the size (roughly 17-18 players vs. 35).  That means you don't have to be quite as far up the ladder to play in both roles. 

But the idea that a HS coach would play someone both ways just to let them have fun?  I don't know any HS coach who feels like he's got a rec league team on his hands.  Usually, HS coaches fall into one of two camps:  The guys who play the best players period, and the guys who modify that to give seniors an edge in playing time.  I think if you go into HS ball thinking, this is just for funsies, let my kid play -- you're going to find yourself quite disappointed, and maybe land in hot water if you let those feelings come out of your mouth.

Last edited by Midlo Dad

This makes me think of the recent ESPN profile of Michael Vick.  They had a quote from Bobby Bowden after his FSU team managed to outscore Va. Tech (with Vick) to win the bowl that (that year) determined the national championship.  Bowden, in his post-game presser, lavished praise on Vick, and also offered, "That's what your quarterback of the future is going to look like."

Except, not.  Why?  Because Michael Vick is a genetic freak of nature.  You can't just say, I want more of those.  That's like saying, I wish I could find a bunch of diamonds just laying around in my backyard.

I've been following MLB for nearly 50 years now, and so far, there's been exactly one Shohei Ohatani.  And a few pitchers who could swing it, but not so much that they played the field when not pitching.

Even Babe Ruth gave up pitching when he became an everyday OF.  And he was an elite MLB pitcher.  And he didn't face the universal competition for playing time that you have now -- no African Americans, no Japanese, and no huge minor league system pumping out hundreds of new rivals for playing time every year.

So, no pitchers who hated hitting and fielding?  For sure I've known some who were bad at it (really slow, couldn't hit, couldn't field...), but good at pitching.

I'm not saying anything about what a high-school (or travel, or college) coach should do, I just wondered about how players feel about it.  Obviously the best players will play, often in HS the same player is the best 2-ways.

Also, obviously it has to be "fun" to some extent, otherwise how hard will he work, and thus how far will he go?  Have you known any 2-ways who hated pitching?  That seems unlikely. 

(and, we could really detour this thread if we asked about AL vs NL and how professional pitchers feel!)

anotherparent posted:

So this takes the question in a slightly different directly (but not really from the OP):  which do kids prefer to do, pitch or hit/field?  Not "which is going to get them to the next level," but "which would they rather do if just given the choice"?   Understanding that they are not always given the choice in hs.

If a player has the ego of a top athlete he wants it all. Every sport has its “game on the line, give me the ball” moment. In baseball it’s on the mound. Yes, it could be a hitter. But it’s a one in nine shot. A hitter isn’t guaranteed getting to the plate with the winning run on second. 

As a player if I had to chose I wanted to be a position player. I couldn’t imagine not playing all the time. I hated sometimes sitting second games of doubleheaders. I also hated coming to the plate or be on the bases not at 100% from pitching. On a loaded with pitching Legion team (the best summer ball then) I told the coach I preferred to play outfield and pitch if needed. 

Maybe I influenced my son talking about my experiences. He also pitched for his high school team and played outfield. He told his 17u travel coach while outfield was the focus he was willing to eat some innings if needed. He enjoyed being on the mound when it happened. 

Will posted:

Why can't a pitcher be both a pitcher and a position player?......If the kid is better than the other players at certain position why would a coach not play him? Really. 

I agree.  But people don't like it if you go against the flow on this site lately.  I've never known a college or HS coach that would not play the best guy no matter what the label is on him.

My sons cared less if they played the field, but they wanted to hit.  Neither were ever made PO's in HS or travel/showcase ball because they hit it enough.  And as we say, if you can hit it you can play.

anotherparent posted:

... Have you known any 2-ways who hated pitching?  That seems unlikely. 

...

Well, I have had some pitchers come into the program that didn't really like pitching but had always done so because up until then, were pretty good at it.  I took those guys away from the mound in our program.  It was important to me that any guy that got the ball really wanted the ball.

Parents generally were not happy with that decision 

Last edited by cabbagedad
anotherparent posted:

So this takes the question in a slightly different directly (but not really from the OP):  which do kids prefer to do, pitch or hit/field?  Not "which is going to get them to the next level," but "which would they rather do if just given the choice"?   Understanding that they are not always given the choice in hs.

My kid has always told me "I don't want to be a pitcher, I want to play baseball". He's said that since 9 yrs old when people started to talk about his pitching. His HS coach was like "that kid is a pitcher", the kid was like "if you mean PO think again". He passed up chances to go to Jupiter because they wanted him as PO. He would still be at Nebraska if he'd agreed to PO.

"Have you known any 2-ways who hated pitching?  That seems unlikely. "

As a former pitcher, I can see why you'd think that.  But it turns out, we've had several in our program who had/have all sorts of pitching talent but just don't want to do it. 

As one example, we had one Va. Cardinals alum get very highly drafted as a position player/hitter in 2019 (3rd round).  He was low 90's off the bump without even trying hard, and he had a wipeout slider.  But he felt that pitching left his arm compromised for when he was in the field (SS in HS and still listed as a SS in MiLB), and he felt that showing as a pitcher undermined his desire to have scouts see him as an everyday player/hitter.

Based on the amount of money he got, it's hard to say he got it wrong!

I've seen other kids who want to bulk up for hitting power and who realize that this doesn't mesh with pitching. 

Over the years, I've even seen some kids who claim to have phantom elbow pain -- never so bad to keep them off their position, but bad enough that they "don't feel comfortable pitching."  It's something the kids learn -- coach may want you on the mound even if you don't want to be there, but no coach wants to risk hurting a player and so, never questions whether the pain actually exists. 

The last post really hit home. My son was attempting to pitch this year (he is a C). He suffered an arm injury that set him back 6 weeks. He has phantom pain and having trouble identifying arm soreness from pain, mainly due to fear and frustration as his velocity is at an all time low. A real challenge for him to trust the process

It's interesting because with reliever specialization and not only Ohtani but someone like Michael Lorenzen relieving and hitting, we're seeing more two-way players in the majors than we have in 100 years. I expect the trend to continue unless the rule changes (three-batter minimum) take it out. So those who find it fun to see people do it all at the MLB level, you've got a few guys to watch right now.

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