One of the challenges with scouting is finding out the heart, passion, and fight of a player. This becomes even tougher for pitchers when their coaches demand that they keep their poise on the mound at all times. It seems contradictory. The coach wants the pitcher to always remain calm and cool but the scout wants to see passion and fight. If a scout sees a fiery pitcher who storms around the mound, glares at hitters, and occasionally “let’s one fly,” his passion and fight is easily seen. If the pitcher is trained to be calm, many scouts may interpret that as a kid with little or no passion. So what is a coach to do? This is the dilemma.
Here’s what I think. At my level, I can never tell a pitcher to “let one fly.” If Roy Halliday wants to throw a pitch one inch from a batter’s chin, the pitch will end up one inch from the batter’s chin. If I tell a high school pitcher to throw it one inch from the batter’s chin, he’ll likely be inaccurate and may hit the batter square in the face. On the human side, I would have a tough time living with myself if this occurred. On the professional side, I would not only lose my coaching job but might even lose my teaching job as well. Some coaches have.
A pitcher needs to know what it takes to play at the higher levels. Many of our conversations are geared to passing that information on to them and lead to how we train them in practice. Right or wrong, the conversation about throwing at or very close to batters on purpose is just not something I can do. At least in my opinion.
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