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Thread: Reds name Dick Pole as pitching coach...

  1. #76
    Member SteelSD's Avatar
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    Re: Reds name Dick Pole as pitching coach...

    Quote Originally Posted by RedsManRick View Post
    There's a difference between "pitch to contact" and "don't pitch away from contact"...
    Bingo, and it appears that's what's being misunderstood.

    Be aggressive. Force contact on your terms with high-quality strikes and pitch away from contact after getting ahead in the count. That doesn't mean throwing obvious Balls, of course. Throw pitches that look like Strikes, but are actually borderline pitches the hitter has to protect against. That's a good theory. The bad theory ("invite contact" a.k.a "pitch to contact) is this:

    espn.com 2004:

    http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/print...817&type=story

    It was decided that the Reds pitchers would pitch to create contact in 2004, rather than trying to miss the bats of opposing hitters. "We decided we would try to get to contact as early as we could in the (ball-strike) count," O'Brien recalled Monday.

    Focus on throwing strikes. Focus on prompting opposing hitters to put the ball in play, and trusting the Reds' defense to make plays. Focus on decreasing pitch counts from inning to inning, enabling the starters to work deeper into games. The best pitchers on the staff, then, would throw more innings, while the middle relievers -- usually the soft underbelly of most pitching staffs -- would have a lightened workload.


    <end excerpt>

    That's just a dumb pitching philosophy- particularly if you have a bad defense and don't have pitchers who can miss bats.

    The key problem with "pitch to contact" is that pitchers can't control their BABIP; meaning that focusing on bringing the fielders into play isn't necessarily going to decrease pitcher workload due to the probable increase in Innings extended due to more baserunners. Sure a pitcher might be able to cut down his P/PA by "inviting contact", but that's pointless if the practice results in more batters faced. As you mentioned, that doesn't mean a pitcher should avoid contact at all costs, but if the primary focus is on ending PA in the first three or four pitches, you've got yourself a problem.

    Lastly, only the most precise pitchers in the game are going to be able to hold down their HR totals while "inviting contact".

    Fewer Walks and more Home Runs? Sure. Fewer baserunners? Not likely. Fewer Strikeouts? Almost definitely. The Reds tried this crap in 2004 and 2005 and were pummelled.
    "The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer

    "The single most important thing for a hitter is to get a good pitch to hit. A good hitter can hit a pitch that’s over the plate three times better than a great hitter with a ball in a tough spot.”
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  3. #77
    Member Ron Madden's Avatar
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    Re: Reds name Dick Pole as pitching coach...

    There is much more to it than just throwing strikes and gaing the advatage of the count.

    Batting practice should always be held before the game.
    Last edited by Ron Madden; 11-10-2006 at 05:10 AM.

  4. #78
    Member harangatang's Avatar
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    Re: Reds name Dick Pole as pitching coach...

    Quote Originally Posted by SteelSD View Post
    O'Brien
    Makes me happy.

  5. #79
    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    Re: Reds name Dick Pole as pitching coach...

    Quote Originally Posted by SteelSD View Post
    Bingo, and it appears that's what's being misunderstood.

    Be aggressive. Force contact on your terms with high-quality strikes and pitch away from contact after getting ahead in the count. That doesn't mean throwing obvious Balls, of course. Throw pitches that look like Strikes, but are actually borderline pitches the hitter has to protect against. That's a good theory. The bad theory ("invite contact" a.k.a "pitch to contact) is this:
    ...Geesh, now you've come around to a definition that is purely and simply "inviting contact."

    These are my last words on this subject. I see absolutely no honorable reason to twist the intent or definition in order to make a point. Like a masterful politician, you took Dick Pole's valid comment and defined it for him with the intent to place him in a negative light.

    "Why don't you stop trying to strike guys out? Just try to get them out, and you'll probably strike out just as many guys, if not more."

    Translation: "Pitch to contact."
    That is your translation and your twist. I don't know how often you talk to pitching coaches, but this comment by Pole is standard advice embraced by virtually everyone.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dick Pole
    ...and you'll probably strike out just as many guys, if not more."
    This is the key right here. This is how inviting contact works.

    Quote Originally Posted by SteelSD
    Be aggressive. Force contact on your terms with high-quality strikes and pitch away from contact after getting ahead in the count. That doesn't mean throwing obvious Balls, of course. Throw pitches that look like Strikes, but are actually borderline pitches the hitter has to protect against. That's a good theory.
    This is what inviting contact is all about no matter what political slant you want to put on it in order to validate your stance.

    Inviting contact is a philosophy that dictates an aggressive pitching strategy. The pitcher goes right after the batter and throws strikes in order to get ahead in the count. These strikes are not thrown up through the middle of the plate, but in locations that minimize solid contact. (Even the real hard throwers get a large majority of their outs on balls in play) And, just as you said, the pitcher then gets the batter out with balls too close to let go or in other words, with his pitch. This is exactly what Dick Pole meant when he said, "...and you'll probably strike out just as many guys, if not more."

    Pitching ahead in the count becomes a cliche unless it is put in other terms. Inviting contact is telling the pitcher not to be afraid to go after the hitter. Be in the strike zone, but change locations, eye levels, and make the batter adjust to different speeds. The pitcher must get ahead in order to throw those split finger fastballs dropping out of the zone, or those sliders and curves breaking into the dirt. To real baseball people, avoiding contact is called "not trusting your stuff". To real baseball people, "inviting contact" is saying that you go out there, be aggressive and go after the hitter. Don't be afraid to invite contact because if you fall behind in the count, you will have to come to the batter with a "crippled pitch."

    Now, you can put whatever political slant you want on this because I don't have to have your validation to know what I'm talking about. Inviting contact is all about pitching ahead in the count.
    Last edited by Spitball; 11-10-2006 at 12:59 PM.
    "I am your child from the future. I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier." - Dylan Easton

  6. #80
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    Re: Reds name Dick Pole as pitching coach...

    Quote Originally Posted by traderumor View Post
    So, if that is the case, the experience of the Orioles last year certainly throws a wrench in your theory.
    Not really, I was just making a point and using them as an example. I could just as easily said the Texas Rangers and Rudy Jamarillo. My point was that coaches are necessary in the Majors and not everyone who is in the majors is major league ready.

  7. #81
    Member SteelSD's Avatar
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    Re: Reds name Dick Pole as pitching coach...

    Quote Originally Posted by Spitball View Post
    To real baseball people, avoiding contact is called "not trusting your stuff". To real baseball people, "inviting contact" is saying that you go out there, be aggressive and go after the hitter. Don't be afraid to invite contact because if you fall behind in the count, you will have to come to the batter with a "crippled pitch."
    Of course you don't want to be afraid of contact. But that's a fundamentally different concept than "inviting contact" (a.k.a. "pitching to contact"). The irony is that we actually agree on pitching philosophy, but "inviting contact" isn't it.

    I don't know how often you talk to pitching coaches, but this comment by Pole is standard advice embraced by virtually everyone.
    The problem is that you're not actually talking about "inviting contact" (which IS what Pole is talking about). I posted the Dan O'Brien passage from 2004. That's a near dictionary definition of "inviting contact"- as is the following explanation from 2004 Brooklyn Cyclone (Mets) Manager Tony Tijerina regarding then-prospect Scott Hyde's pitching performance:

    Hyde had seven ground ball outs to his two fly ball outs, improving his season ratio to twenty-one groundball outs to seven fly ball outs. Manager Tony Tijerina was very impressed, and mentioned how the organization makes special notes of pitchers like that.

    “That is really impressive” said Tijerina. “That is something we track in the organization, and reward our pitchers for getting groundball outs, or getting outs while throwing three pitches or less in an at bat, or for throwing strikes, and not walking people. We monitor that very closely, and make sure to recognize those pitchers.”

    “We call it inviting contact, and letting your defense do the work” said Tijerina.


    http://www.georgefox.edu/athletics/b...yfansonly.html

    That's a "real" baseball guy telling us exactly what I've been telling you. It's exactly the same concept that Dan O'Brien attempted to implement; a concept that was doomed from the get-go. It's a philosophy where getting ahead of hitters and not walking them are byproducts; i.e. results of the primary objectives.

    Those objectives are all about trying to coax players into weak contact early in the count to conserve pitches while relying on your defense to make plays. That's what "inviting contact" is; from the mouth of a "real" baseball person. Pitch conservation is important, but the number of groundball Outs and PA's ended in three pitches or less becomes a primary goal, that's just awful. Organizations are much better served by acquiring pitchers who are adept at actually getting Outs rather than trying to preach the method of doing so.

    The problem with "inviting contact" that for it to make you a better pitcher, you have to be a ground ball demon, have a great defense behind you, AND you have to be able to exert some control over your BABIP and HR rate.

    Let's see...active pitchers I know of who might (I repeat "might") fit that description:

    Greg Maddux
    Mariano Rivera

    And that's a real problem and highlights the primary reason the real "invite contact/pitch to contact" philosophy doesn't work- it tries to re-create historical outliers using pitchers who are almost 100% unlikely to have the same skill sets.

    I'm actually slightly encouraged that Pole doesn't appear to want to teach the sinker to pitchers whom aren't already adept in throwing the pitch. But I'll be darned if I'm not entirely discouraged by Pole's reliance on an otherwise outdated methodology only useful for outliers. Over the long haul, it's not going to make mediocre pitchers better (his spotty history has already demonstrated that). And it's got the potential to screw up good pitchers. When a philosophy is, at best, a neutral and, at worst, a negative I'll give it absolutely no support.

    And this conversation does need to end because it's reminding me too much of last offseason when some random dude showed up and tried to tell me how a level swing was part of rotational hitting philosophy.

    This conversation is also a great example of how "subjective" conversations are too often unproductive. The party who considers themself to be more experienced ends up citing "thirty years of experience" and "universally accepted" as actual points in their favor.

    Problem is that both are logical fallacies in the form of argumentum ad antiquitam and argumentum ad populum. Questioning my honor in this debate and claiming that I have a slant is argumentum ad hominem. Basically, you've got a trifecta of rhetoric going there, but then claim that I'm the "masterful politician". Amusing. The reality is that I've done nothing but attempt to explain where you've gone wrong but you won't hear it because you're tied to what you knew before today. I have no such predilection so I'll let your argument stand on it's merit. Sorry, but that leaves you in a somewhat bad position.
    "The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer

    "The single most important thing for a hitter is to get a good pitch to hit. A good hitter can hit a pitch that’s over the plate three times better than a great hitter with a ball in a tough spot.”
    --Ted Williams

  8. #82
    Member Spitball's Avatar
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    Re: Reds name Dick Pole as pitching coach...

    I've had a busy weekend, or I would have responded sooner. Actually, I found your response fairly humorous. I enjoyed "lesson" and the creative word choices, but is themself really a word?

    I think you spent way too much time cutting and pasting. The Tijerina fellow's comments don't prove anything to me. "Inviting contact" is a term used by baseball people all the time. They preach it to groundball pitchers and flyball pitchers and any other kind you can find. It is about getting ahead in the count. You might want to stop googling and actually find a real baseball coach.

    I'm not impressed with your justifications, but I don't expect anything different from you. It is not in your character to admit anything on the public portion of this board.

    I would like you to think about Pole's comment, "...and you'll get as many strikeouts if not more." This is the philosophy and strategy behind inviting contact.

    This is my final response to this thread. I don't really want to get into one of those ugly arguments with you. This is simply a baseball forum where I come to talk baseball.
    "I am your child from the future. I'm sorry I didn't tell you this earlier." - Dylan Easton

  9. #83
    Hey Cubs Fans RFS62's Avatar
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    Re: Reds name Dick Pole as pitching coach...

    Outstanding series of posts, Spitball, as usual. Well done.

    "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover."
    ~ Mark Twain


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