Pitching 101, LHP vs. RHP

Dan Cevette
Director, New York

I get asked a lot of questions about baseball, mainly about Pitching. I was a Professional Baseball Pitcher for 11 years in three different MLB Organizations where I was able to fill my knowledge bank on pitching from some impressive instructors. John Farrell, Scott Radinsky, Charles Nagy, and Steve Belcher just to name a few, and I have also picked the brain of Giants Gold Glove Catcher Kurt Manwaring (1992) a time or two. It's the heart and soul of the game, let's get to it.

Pitching 101, LHP vs. RHP
A very common question I get a lot from players and parents is explaining the real difference between a LHP vs. a RHP. Almost everyone believes that left handed pitchers hold more value, but there's a whole lot more to the story than just that.

Left handed pitchers (LHP) are typically highly sought after because of their arm side movement (ball moves away from a right handed hitter) and the simple fact that there just is not that many of them around. With that said a southpaw still needs to be talented to get real looks, the old saying "If he's left handed with a pulse then we are interested" although funny is not accurate. Lefties do get a break on velocity as most scouts and recruiters allow for 3-4 mph of lesser velocity vs. a right handed pitcher (RHP). Of course other factors come into play, pitch ability, pitch mix, size, makeup and projection before important decisions are made.

Comparing the two
Size -
This is even, most recruiters look at size the same.
Fastball -
Advantage LHP, typically they get a 3-4 mph cushion over a RHP in most recruiting situations/Draft talks.
Changeup -
Although both are effective, Advantage LHP, because of the down and away action to a RHH.
Curveball - Advantage RHP, the majority of power curveballs come from RHP, plus its moving away from a RHH.
Running Game - Advantage LHP, facing the baserunner is a huge tactical advantage for any lefty.
- Advangtage RHP, simply because more put outs are to 1B and they are already opened up and facing 1B.

Pitching 101, Throwing Harder: Keys Every Pitcher Should Try
Want to throw the baseball harder? Tried all the gimmicks? Here's a few things I have done that have helped in the past. Give them a try.

* Increase Overall Body Strength - Adding total body strength will increase your fastball velocity normally 1-2 mph. (Remember to stretch before and after workouts) (Don't have weights or time for a gym? 150 push ups a day will help)
* Reverse Bench Press - This helps build your back up stronger, allowing your arm to work faster
*Reverse Throws - 1-2 lb palates ball (Look up reverse baseball throws on You Tube)
*Throwing Program - Try 1 set of 25 throws with a 6 oz ball. 25 throws with a 5 oz ball and 15 throws with a 3 oz ball. 4 times a week for a month
*Hip and Back Flexibility - Stretching your hips and back out daily can add up to 1-2 mph because of the increased torque from the added flexibility.
*Longer Stride - Try and maximize your stride length, not only will you release the ball closer to home plate, but the longer stride will generate some extra hip and shoulder torque needed for increased velocity.
* Crush your forearms - More Spin equates to more speed on your 4 seam, Forearm and Grip strength will take you to new levels you never knew you had

**Obviously shoulder maintenance routines should be continued such as the Jobe program, or tubing routines.

Hope some of these help, Until next time, keep working hard because there's always someone working harder!

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