Baseball Magazine

Swing and Miss Stuff

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

Swing and Miss stuff

Pitchers who can get batters to do this more often are
seen as more valuable, especially come playoff time.

This time of year involves two important things:  high school/college playoffs and the amateur draft.  In both, the importance of good pitching is key.  The teams that tend to do the best come playoff time generally have a number of good pitchers.  Professional teams searching for the best prospects will search far and wide for good pitching.  Pitching is paramount in the game of baseball.  To be more specific, teams who are more successful have pitchers that have “swing and miss” stuff.  This means that their pitchers throw at least one pitch that gets the majority of hitters to swing and miss quite often.  It could be a high velocity fastball, a knee buckling curve ball, a late breaking slider, or a nasty change-up.  The reason why pitchers with “swing and miss” stuff are so sought after is that it is very hard to teach a pitcher to have this kind of pitch.  A pitcher can be taught how to hold and throw a curve ball but very few develop into the type that is late breaking and freezes hitters.
Another reason why “swing and miss” stuff is so important this time of year is that the defense is involved much less.  In the playoffs, if you can avoid allowing the opposing team to have big innings on offense (big inning = 3 or more runs in one inning) you stand a much better chance of winning.  Big innings are usually caused by a combination of errors and walks.  If a pitcher does not have a “swing and miss” pitch, his defense will have to make more plays.  More plays = more chances for errors.  More errors = big innings.  Big innings = losses and an end to your season.  In a seven inning game, a pitcher who gets 12 strikeouts only needs his defense to make the remaining 9 outs.  A pitcher who gets 2 strikeouts needs his defense to make 19 outs.  Look at the teams who are still in the high school/college playoffs and I can almost guarantee they have at least one pitcher (probably two or more) with “swing and miss” stuff.
You will see this “swing and miss” concept in the draft as well.  Ever shake your head and wonder, “how in the world did that kid get drafted?”  If that is the case, he probably has at least one pitch that currently is or projected to be a swing and miss pitch. 
This is why it becomes so important for pitchers who want to continue playing baseball at the higher levels to constantly tinker with different pitches and grips.  Sometimes some minor adjustments can lead to a “swing and miss” pitch being discovered.  Develop one and you are immediately more valuable.

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