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Thread: Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

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    2009: Fail Ltlabner's Avatar
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    Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

    In the long run, which pitching style do you think is more effective?

    On the one hand: You have the 95+ MPH thrower who can just undress batters at the plate. At the big league level they have other pitchers (thou shal not live on fastballs alone) but their bread & butter is heat. Arm injuries, batters getting the timing down and the effects of aging seem to be issues here.

    On the other hand: You have the Greg Maddux type pitcher who uses control and pitch movement to fool batters. Curvers, Slurves, Changeups, Sinkers, etc are the pitches that keep these guys in business. But typically when they are "off" they get hammered. Control and the ever present arm injuries are issues here.

    Have there been any studies on this issue? Any stats that can shed light on the subject? Obviously your roation better have a mixture of pitching types but in general, do you think one style leads to longer MLB success than the other?
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    Re: Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

    The flamethrowers are most effective in the playoffs, when you elevate the level of competition.
    Many have remarked that Maddox and Glavine were not effective playoff pitchers (look at the record) because they were finesse pitchers, while Randy Johnson and Schilling dominated in the post season.
    Control pitchers get you to the playoffs. If you think about it, we only have one power pitcher, and he's in Double-A.

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    Moderator RedlegJake's Avatar
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    Re: Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

    Actually Harang fits the bill as a power pitcher. He's not quite as fast as a Johnson but he throws hard enough to be second in Ks. Harang always gets overlooked it seems. Either pitcher can be effective but the power pitcher can simply dominate completely if he has command. The control pitcher needs command to be effective. The power pitcher needs control to be effective. By that I mean the power pitcher can get by if he can mix in some kind of off speed stuff to disrupt timing, and just keep the ball down a bit. He doesn;t need fine control and he gets away with more mistakes generally. If he has command, meaning he can hit precise spots in the zone, then he becomes absolutely dominating. Junkballers need everything working for them. Spot the ball, mix speeds, change locations, get ahead in the count because they have little margin for error and mistakes are usually walloped.
    I don't like junkballers as a rule but there have been a few fair ones. They usually can eat a lot of innings. Maddux is a junkballer now but when he was prime he was almost a power pitcher. His changeup was devastating making his 90-92 fastball seem much faster. His strikeout rate in his prime was always pretty good. Usually the really good pitchers who aren't true flamethrowers have some kind of pitch that is so good it makes batters miss consistently and they have pretty fair strikeout rates.

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    Re: Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

    Location and movement are both more important than velocity.

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    Re: Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by fielder's choice
    Location and movement are both more important than velocity.
    Agreed, but a blend of all three is what makes a pitcher truly effective.

    A live, 90-mph fastball is tough to hit, but a live, 94-mph fastball is absolutely deadly.
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    RZ Chamber of Commerce Unassisted's Avatar
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    Re: Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by Rotater Cuff
    If you think about it, we only have one power pitcher, and he's in Double-A.
    With a pin-straight heater, by all accounts of those who have seen him pitch. Pin-straight fastballs have this annoying tendency to be hit straight over the outfield fence at the MLB level. This happens with even more regularity at our favorite team's home ballpark. Does this mean you have season tickets in the outfield and a desire to expand your game ball collection?

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    Re: Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

    flamethrower.......so bring up bailey, and he's got a decent curve too

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    Re: Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

    Good question, I think I'd lean slightly toward having flame throwers. When you're throwing hard you've got a lot bigger margin for error, I mean you if you make a mistake pitch throwing 97 mph you've got a lot better shot of missing bats than if you throw a mistake pitch at 88 mph.

    That said I'd take my chances with a decent control pitcher over guys like Jorge Sosa and Esteban Yan.

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    Re: Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by Unassisted
    With a pin-straight heater, by all accounts of those who have seen him pitch. Pin-straight fastballs have this annoying tendency to be hit straight over the outfield fence at the MLB level. This happens with even more regularity at our favorite team's home ballpark. Does this mean you have season tickets in the outfield and a desire to expand your game ball collection?
    If Homer's fastball is as straight as an arrow then I think we have all overestimated just how good he is going to be. I agree with you guys who throw hard with no movement get rocked IE Jerry Spradlin.
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    Re: Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

    For me, I can't really choose a certain type of pitcher.....because all pitchers need to have location to be successful........

    Control pitchers must have movement to be successful at the MLB level.......case in point: Greg Maddux........his whole career has been successful because of the way he can locate and control the movement of his fastball. Most of his strikeouts come on that front-door fastball that comes in at about 87-88 mph

    Control pitchers that do not have good movement get hammered in the bigs....case in point: most of the Reds' pitching staff for the last five years ......we have lacked the crafty pitcher who can control where the ball starts at and finishes in the catcher's glove....

    Flamethrowers have to have the ability to change speeds and have great control, also....case in point: Johan Santana. This guy is amazing in the way he changes speeds on his fastball and can throw that amazing change-up to freeze hitters......

    Although every fan loves a guy that can throw the ball 97 mph, they can't be successful if they can't get the ball across the plate....case in point: Derrick Turnbow. This has some kind of an arm but has almost zero control and not much movement on his fastball....normally when a guy that throws that hard comes into a game to close it out.....fans cringe. I don't know how others handle it, but I love it when I see Turnbow warming up against us in the 9th because I know that we can hammer him.


    So I guess I would like to have a mix of the two but if I had to choose one I would take the control on one condition: he has to have good movement. Because without good movement, the control pitcher gets hammered.
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    Re: Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

    Quote Originally Posted by REDSEER
    For me, I can't really choose a certain type of pitcher.....because all pitchers need to have location to be successful........

    Control pitchers must have movement to be successful at the MLB level.......case in point: Greg Maddux........his whole career has been successful because of the way he can locate and control the movement of his fastball. Most of his strikeouts come on that front-door fastball that comes in at about 87-88 mph

    Control pitchers that do not have good movement get hammered in the bigs....case in point: most of the Reds' pitching staff for the last five years ......we have lacked the crafty pitcher who can control where the ball starts at and finishes in the catcher's glove....

    Flamethrowers have to have the ability to change speeds and have great control, also....case in point: Johan Santana. This guy is amazing in the way he changes speeds on his fastball and can throw that amazing change-up to freeze hitters......

    Although every fan loves a guy that can throw the ball 97 mph, they can't be successful if they can't get the ball across the plate....case in point: Derrick Turnbow. This has some kind of an arm but has almost zero control and not much movement on his fastball....normally when a guy that throws that hard comes into a game to close it out.....fans cringe. I don't know how others handle it, but I love it when I see Turnbow warming up against us in the 9th because I know that we can hammer him.


    So I guess I would like to have a mix of the two but if I had to choose one I would take the control on one condition: he has to have good movement. Because without good movement, the control pitcher gets hammered.
    good post but i would still go with the flamethrower because bailey is sitting down in AAA waiting to come up with an ERA in the lower 1's

  13. #12
    Manliness Personified HumnHilghtFreel's Avatar
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    Re: Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

    I'll opt for control. You can throw it as hard as you want, but as long as you're just serving the ball up trying to blow it by guys all the time, a major league hitter is going to get the timing down soon enough.

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    Re: Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

    I believe you must take into account the pitchers array of pitches and not just his bread and butter pitch. Jose Rijo threw fairly hard, but also had an excellent changeup to disrupt the batters timing. This made it difficult to sit on any one pitch.

    Also, does include relievers or just starters. Personally, I would prefer a control pitcher as a starter and a hard thrower to close the game.

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    Re: Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

    It depends. In baseball as with probably any sport and especially in the aspect of pitching, you have a bit of a quandry. First, a flamethrower is of course naturally gifted and used to getting by on throwing cheddar. However, due to this simple fact he is also less prone to "pitch." Pitching being self defined as fooling hitters with precise location and variations of speed and deception. Not to mention the forgotten art of fielding the posistion. Also, a pitcher must have ice water in his veins to pitch effectively in the real nail biters. This is something that simply cannot be taught but learned through experience. I think a prime example of what I'm getting at his Carlos Zambrano. Dude, has some filthy stuff but he's a hot head and prone to control problems which leads to blaming the umps or getting mad at himself. Look at him this year. The Cubs were out of it and when MAY? And he seems to be tossing 0's every game. Now put him in a spot where the playoffs are on the line and he unravels like a yo yo.

    If I had to choose, it would have to be a flamethrower but he would have to know how to pitch like a Roger Clemens type or a Pedro, Randy in his prime as well. Maddux is a Hall of Fame pitcher but his stuff is more faulty because if he doesnt have his location. It is much harder for him to compensate with speed. I think as baseball progresses further you will see less and less of the Maddux types because pitching coaches and scouts salivate at a Homer Bailey type. For a Maddux type in HS or college today, they will not get much of a second look unless they are throwing gems night in and night out. Now with Homer and the like , coaches and scouts see a huge ceiling because pitching like Maddux but with a 96 MPH fastball is lethal which is something every coach thinks can be taught especially at AA and then AAA.

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    Re: Flamethrower vs Control Pitching

    It comes down to age. Kids coming up usually have good stuff. Then they have to adjust to age, injuries and experience. With a few exceptions like Clemens,Nolan Ryan,Randy Johnson, very few remain power pitchers throughout their career.
    It's interesting that there's only a few power pitchers in every generation (probably less than 4) that survive a long career.
    That tells you alot about the incredible stress an arm undergoes to pitch in the major leagues.


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