GETTING THE MOST OUT OF YOUR OFF SPEED
By: Seth Simmons
Want to Play College Baseball? Click Here.
When you take a quick glance of today’s game the first thing you probably notice is velocity. To an outsider looking in, it could almost seem as if everyone has sold out for velocity. Velo should be looked at as what can get you in the door and can make your entire arsenal play up. When I evaluate a pitcher one of the first things I look for is there a swing and miss quality to his off speed. Everyone at the higher levels can hit a fastball. Especially a flat one.
I hear the comment all the time that a change up is the best pitch in baseball. While I don’t necessarily disagree with that statement. The best pitch in baseball is the one that gets you the most outs. Whether your best pitch is a change up, curveball, or slider… it doesn’t really matter. The ability to land an off speed pitch for a strike makes a pitcher much harder to hit. Increasingly harder if you can land multiple pitches for strikes.
Using your off speed can get tricky. If you have the ability to throw multiple pitches for strikes, more than likely you have established those pitches in the zone. For example in 2018 the New York Yankees and Houston Astros lead the major leagues in average fastball velocity. They both also lead the major leagues in the most off speed pitches thrown. The main key to being able to do that was establishing all of their pitches in the zone first.
Drills to better your off speed:
QB drop back drill for breaking balls emphasizes moving fast through a breaking ball
90ft shuffle throws for change ups
Short box bull pens to try and see how much spin you can get on your pitches at shorter distances w/ control