Hitter's who really learn how to face different types of pitchers prepare themselves to make adjustments to at-bats late in the game as well as against pitchers who can make rapid adjustments on the mound to keep hitters off balance.
There are four types of pitchers that hitters should be aware of:
- The Power Pitcher
- The Deceptive Pitcher (Unorthodox)
- Control Pitcher
- Backward Pitcher
Sidenote: We have a way for you ti simulate live at-bats against all kinds of pitchers, and you can face them at home! If you'd like to learn more about how players are sharpening their pitch-selection skills and timing, you can check out our vision training platform here.
These pitchers come in all shapes and sizes. They will showcase different strengths, weaknesses, tendencies, approaches, and roles.
The four types of pitchers above can appear as a:
- Mid-Relief, Set-up, specialist
Lastly - these pitchers can by either:
That leaves us with 32 different variations of pitchers that we can possibly face on the mound.
As the hitter, our job is to know what type of pitcher we're facing and what our approach should be based on their skill set.
Below are quick breakdowns and descriptions of each pitcher-types as well as what to expect while in the batter's box.
The Conventional Starter
The conventional starter has your basic stuff. Fastball and a good reliable secondary pitch. Could be a curveball that they bury in the dirt as their out pitch or a 2-2 pitch to contact for a routine ground ball. They could also throw a slider that they throw off of their fastball, or a changeup they use to keep the hitters off balance and susceptible to the fastball on the inner half of the plate.
The conventional starter works fast, establishes the fastball on the corners, and works hard to get the first pitch strike while avoiding two-strike hits.
They work ahead, work fast and they keep their defense in the ballgame.
The Power Pitcher
With the Power Pitcher, expect to see high velocity. High-level prospects and Starters will have effortless effort while Mid-Relievers and Closers will tend to be max-effort.
Fly ball pitchers are common since Power Pitchers rely on their velocity to get away with the fastball up in the zone.
They're not afraid to throw inside.
Lastly - A Power Pitcher tries to establish the off-speed to make the fastball more effective.
The Deceptive Pitcher (Unorthodox)
A common characteristic of The Deceptive Pitch is a three-quarter or side-arm release point.
They can mix up the tempo and rhythm of their windup as well as hide the ball behind their body until just after delivery.
Also - a deceptive pitcher will tend to have more movement on the pitch by utilizing a two-seam or cutter.
Deceptive Pitchers are known to throw a "heavy ball" since hard contact percentages go down as hitters tend to pick up the ball later in the zone or while struggling with adjusting to the movement of the pitch.
The Control Pitcher
The Control Pitcher tends to rely less on velocity though may use it as an "out-pitch" on the inner half of the plate when ahead in the count.
Typically, a Control Pitcher starts an at-bat and game by establishing the outside fastball to make their lower velocity FB-middle-in more effective.
When you see pitchers who have lower velocity jamming hitters and breaking bats, it's because they're efficient with the fastball away, first.
The two best pitches of a Control Pitcher are:
- Strike One
- The Defense
A Control Pitcher works fast to keep their defense on their toes while also pitching-to-contact to get hitters to chase out of the zone.
The Backward Pitcher
A Backward Pitcher can have all of the same characteristics of a Power, Deceptive or Control Pitcher.
The key difference is, a Backward Pitcher isn't afraid to throw a curve ball or breaking ball when the hitter has count leverage.
2-0 change-ups, 1-0 curveballs, 3-1 sliders are common when a Backward Pitcher can establish the secondary pitch for strikes.
As hitters, it's important that you're watching the pitcher while they're facing your teammates to make a decision on what adjustments you need to make.
Another common situation with a Backward Pitcher is the 2-2 count curveball pitch to contact.
Similar to the Control Pitcher, the Backwards Pitcher's two best pitches are strike one and their defense.
The Crafty Lefty
The crafty lefty is a thumper. They do not throw hard, but you cannot underestimate the guy who knows how to locate and throw off of their off-speed pitch. Their best pitch is their defense. They have no issues pitching to contact, getting you to roll over on a middle away fastball or get-em-over curveball to let their defense do the heavy lifting.
Even with an average or below aver fastball, if they have you thinking about the off-speed, it makes the FB look and feels more explosive.
Next thing you know, that 84 mph fastball is breaking bats.
Hitters have to learn how to drive the ball the other way if they want to avoid weak rollover groundballs against craft lefties.
This guy will change their tempo, windup, arm angles, arm stroke and speed to get your timing and rhythm off balance. It’s fun to watch, not so much fun to hit.
Specialty - LOOGY Pitchers
These pitcher types come in late in the game or in important situations to face left-handed hitters.
Specialty - RHOGY Pitchers
These pitcher types come in late in the game or in important situations to face right-handed hitters.
The Long reliever
If the starter gets knocked out or pulled early in the game, the long reliever is the guy tasked to save the day. Usually, the 5th starter who just got knocked out of rotation or has found a new gear as a pitcher who pitches a little each day, but every day always ready to compete and throw down.
The Setup guy - Mid reliever
This pitcher-type is tasked with passing the baton off to the closer. A hybrid of a mid-reliever LOOGY, or ROOGY.
This is the guy who you never thought would play past high school ball let alone the big leagues. This is the guy who never had amazing projection but somehow dominated. This is the guy whose best tool is their mindset. They throw strikes, aren’t afraid to throw middle in, and are an absolute dog on the mound.
No matter what kind of pitcher you’re facing, if they have a competitor in them, you’re in for a tough at-bat.
The Ground Ball Pitcher
Their best pitch is also their defense. High Velo fastball at the knees, two seams, sinkers and the split. They throw hard and they pitch to contact.
The Fly Ball Pitcher
They throw hard and up in the zone or soft with off-speed away. They are setting you up to either be late on the fastball, forcing you to hit the bottom half of the ball or early on the off-speed getting you to pull pitches you have no business pulling.
The Head hunter - this is the guy who will strategically earn your respect if they suspect you’re a bit to comfortable in the batter’s box. They will throw up and in or at the hip. All they need is the prospect of a HBP sitting in the back of your mind, during your at-bat.
Fear is a powerful agent, and they use it as a weapon.
Think Like The Pitcher
Stan Musial used to say that he could imagine what a pitcher was thinking so vividly in his own imagination that it felt like he could read the pitcher’s mind.
The reality is - good hitters think like pitchers by picking up on their tendencies.
Here are a few ways to implement this.
You can start by recognizing a pitcher's "out-pitch."
Ex: What do they throw with two strikes or with runners in scoring position?
Then, watch the pitcher when your teammates are battling in the box.
Their at-bats will give you clues to what he's throwing for strikes in key situations.
Pitchers are creators of habit.
They will tip pitches with tempo, glove angle, and toe taps if you watch long enough.
At one point in his career, Randy Johnson was getting Teed off with a 98 mph fastball and a devastating slider, but hitters were running into pitches as if they knew what was coming. Because They did.
And it wasn’t a trashcan they were using.
They had a reed on him.
Randy Johnson was tipping pitches.
Simplify Your Pitch Selection
As hitters, our job is to be on time by hunting & sitting on the right pitch.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel or out-think the pitcher.
Just pay attention.
Most pitchers want to get ahead. So you’ll often see fastballs down and away early in the count.
So Be aggressive early in the count.
Ultimately, you have to let the type of swing you take, and the pitches you swing at be dictated by the situation of the game.
The focus is to get a good pitch to hit.
Watch the pitcher. Hunt pitches. Don’t get cheated by the fastball.
These were pitcher types and how to face them.
Let me know below, your favorite pitcher to hit.
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Facing Different Applied Vision Baseball Pitcher Types
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How To Face Different Types Of Pitchers - CHECKLIST
Regardless of what type of pitcher you're facing, at the end of the day, you're #1 job is to Win The At-Bat any way you can.
- Attack the inner half of the ball
- Keep your finger on the Swing Trigger™
- Focus on the result you want with a controlled-aggressive swing
- Compete your tail off with a belief that you can beat the pitcher
How good you get at executing these four things in every, single at-bat will dictate how productive you are from one pitcher to the next.
Pitch Recognition App
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