FanPost

Confessions of an Old School contact hitter Pt2: It's the pitch recognition stupid!



    The most controversial thing that Ted Williams taught was pitch recognition. Ted had a fighter pilot's phenomenal vision.  Able to pick out another aircraft out against the backround of sky from up to twenty miles away; he could pick up the grip on the ball from the point the pitch crosses behind the pitcher's head. Most people are not blessed with vision that acute. Many people can get sense of the kind of grip on the ball at the release point. Like everything else it takes practice.

    You have to have some knowledge of pitchers and pitching. Every pitcher ever borne has his spcific limitations and quirks to his delivery. Certain physical events have to occur to direct each pitch to where the pitcher wants it. Can he deliver all of his pitches from the center of the rubber? Is he starting from one side of the rubber to deliver certain pitches to certain locations? What are his average and maximum breaks on his pitches and what is he doing to minimize and exaggerate his breaks? How much Pronation of the wrist are you seeing? Is the arm slot higher or lower? What pitches are in his repertoire? Is he throwing rising or sinking fastballs or both? Is there a reduction of arm velocity? Is his leg kick more exaggerated?  Is his stride shortened or exaggerated?

    Most people can pickup some of these nuances, but maybe not all. Some pitchers are very good at deception and some downright cheat to achieve it. For example Sid Fernandez used to wear oversized white T-shirts with the sleeves cut in back to make his fastballs hard to pick up . Tiant had some exaggerated kicking and flailing to embellish his deception. When you saw Seaver's right knee dirty you seldom saw his hand cross behind his head on his breaking pitches. Koufax crossed his body slightly more to slow his arm speed down to change velocity. It also created an illusion of the ball coming out of his body.  Drysdale used to tilt a little more on his four seam fastball to keep it down in the zone. Otherwise he threw it too high. That was part of his classic climbing the ladder, and probably how he'd have pitched to Tulo

    It would take a book to get it all down. It takes a lot of study. Grips on the ball are hard to read but the subtleties can be observed with practice. Does one finger appear flat and the other raised? Is the grip offset to the seams? you can get an impression if you train yourself to look. To go over every pitch would take more time than I have today.

    The point I'm getting at is the Rockies seem to be lacking in this theory. Some are much better than others. Tulo maybe able to hit high pitches better than most. He's still popping up too much from pitchers climbing the ladder and getting him to swing under the ball. Stewart's problems with inside pitches and swinging at pitches out of the zone are well documented. CDI appears to see too small a zone at times. Even smaller than the umpire's. Then again they said that about Ted Williams too.

    With the advent of the technology we see in Devices such as Wii; it should be possible to teach this even easier than in the past. By slowing down actual pitchers and raising the resolution digitally you should be able to train to pick up all the nuances and gradually increase to actual game speed. Hitters should gain an advantage by learning what to see.

Eat. Drink. Be Merry. But the above FanPost does not necessarily reflect the attitudes, opinions, or views of Purple Row's staff (unless, of course, it's written by the staff [and even then, it still might not]).

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Join Purple Row

You must be a member of Purple Row to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Purple Row. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker