Friday, January 13, 2012

Things to Know About Low and High Baseball Throwing

Both low pitches and high pitches can be effective in baseball. When a pitcher is a hard thrower who can exceed speeds of 93 mph on the radar gun, it is difficult for many hitters to get their bat squarely on a high fastball. A pitcher who throws the ball low in the hitting zone also can be effective by forcing batters to hit ground balls that fielders can turn into outs.
Benefits of High Pitch
A high pitch that has explosive velocity can overpower most hitters. Batters are able to drop their hands to trigger their swing and catch up to low fastballs, but when the batter uses that trigger mechanism, it can be almost impossible to get their hands high enough to hit that overpowering fastball hard. Instead of making one move down with the hands, the batter is forced to make two moves -- down and up -- and that gives the pitcher the advantage.
Negatives of High Pitch
Most pitchers will use a high pitch to intimidate the batter, but if the pitcher loses velocity as a game moves along, the hitter can time the pitch and hit it hard. Instead of swinging and missing or swinging and hitting a pop up, the hitter will hit the ball on a line and drive it to the far reaches of the outfield or over the fence. In addition, umpires tend to call pitches that are above the midsection balls, and pitchers who tend to throw the ball high might be subject to more spells of wildness than low-ball pitches.
Benefits of Low Pitch
Low-ball pitchers are more interested in pitching to contact and getting ground ball outs from batters. They work more quickly than power pitchers and that keeps the fielders alert when the game is on the line. Low-ball pitchers tend to have better control and won't give up as many home runs as high ball pitchers. Low-ball pitchers must work the ball around the strike zone, moving the ball inside and out. When they vary the positioning and pace on the ball, it is difficult to square the ball up on the barrel of the bat and hit it hard.
Negatives of Low Pitch
There will be times in a game when a pitcher will face a situation with a runner on third base and less than two out that a strikeout is vital. The low ball pitcher might not have the velocity to get that strikeout pitch when he needs it. Additionally, left-handed batters often are in their comfort zone when they are facing a low fastball because they can get their hands low and drive that pitch for extra base hits on a regular basis. Low-ball pitchers who lose their command -- the ability to put the ball exactly where they want within the strike zone -- might get hit hard and knocked out of the game.

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