Much has been made of recent Japanese imports to Major League Baseball, and for good reason. A vast majority sport a mid-high 90’s fastball with impeccable command. While some of these pitchers haven’t worked out (Kei Igawa immediately springs to mind), others have had amazing success but most share one common theme: Health. Japanese pitchers have had an astonishing track record of durability and longevity over the years (maybe there’s something to the 7 day rotation, but that’s an article for another time). With American-born pitchers struggling to maintain arm health, many coaches, scientists/researchers, and “professionals” have been in search of a solution. My response? Head East. Far East.
By: Alex Shapiro
On Sunday nights around 9 PM, I look forward to getting on Twitter. In fact, there are times where I set an alarm on my phone to remind me to do so. I probably sound like most teenagers in America as they are on social media quite frequently, as am I, but something in particular about getting on Twitter at this time allows me to become involved in an event that enhances my ability to do something I am very passionate about and love to do: coach baseball. What might I ever be talking about that involves coaching baseball, 9 o’clock on Sunday nights, and Twitter? The answer to that question is described by a hashtag: #PitchingChat.
The Shenandoah Valley is a great place to live with a great history. You are never too far from a Civil War landmark, an exciting festival or thriving small businesses. Things in the Valley tend to move a little slower and seem a bit more relaxed. The times may change and the people may come and go, but the history remains. One tradition in the Valley is the greatest game ever played: baseball. From amateur to professional, baseball fans in the Shenandoah Valley have always had their choice of baseball games to watch and teams of which to root. The Shenandoah Valley and baseball have become intertwined throughout history. There have been at least twenty semi-professional baseball leagues in the Shenandoah Valley since the game of baseball was invented. This is proof that the people of the Shenandoah Valley love this game. I chose to expand on the two most well-known and local leagues: The Valley Baseball League and the Rockingham County Baseball League. These two leagues represent the Shenandoah Valley and all of its history and perseverance through tough times.
It’s a bit shorter than I’d like. Wouldn’t upload if much longer than 4 minutes. May try later. Let me know what you think! http://ubersense.com/ZicTsNFf
Controlling the running game is a vital aspect to pitching. I’m sure most of you have several pickoff moves, ranging from the checking throw over to your best move. The issue most pitchers have is when to use each pickoff move. There is no definitive answer as it depends on the flow of the game. Obviously you wouldn’t use your best move in the 1st inning or with a base runner you know isn’t going anywhere. I suggest using your best move when it’s needed most. You really only get one shot, better use it wisely. Another strategy to consider is to repeatedly throw over. Throwing over several times in a row not only will make the runner think twice about stealing, but also gets him leaning back to the base expecting the throw. That little lean can create a double play and/or preventing the runner from taking an extra base. As a pitcher, if you can mix up the amount of time you hold the ball while being set, keep a pickoff move in the runner’s head, and be quick to the plate, you will give your catcher a chance to throw out a potential base stealer and control the running game. I hope this post helps with any of you struggling in this department. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to me here or on twitter at @PitchMechanics