In baseball, a pitcher is a player who starts each play by tossing (or “pitching”) the baseball from the pitcher’s mound toward the catcher with the intention of dismissing a hitter who tries to make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. The pitcher is given the number 1 in the system used to track defensive plays. The pitcher is positioned at the right end of the defensive spectrum since he or she is frequently thought of as the most significant player on the defensive side of the game.
There are many different types of pitchers, including starters, middle relievers, left-handed specialists, setup men, and closers.
In baseball, there are many distinct kinds of pitchers. While some pitchers are more versatile, others have a niche market. We’ll look at the various kinds of pitchers and their responsibilities on the club in this blog post. Understanding the types of pitchers will help you to better appreciate baseball, whether or not you are a pitcher. Let’s get going!
The pitching mound, which is situated in the infield’s middle and 60 feet, 6 inches from home plate, is where starting pitchers stand.
Starting pitchers, as the title of the position suggests, are the pitchers who take the mound for their team at the start of each game. Although many organisations in modern baseball use pitch counts and won’t let starting pitchers throw many more than 100 pitches in a start, starters have historically been asked to pitch as far into games as possible. In an effort to protect pitchers’ health, this is done.
Although starting pitchers don’t often field many hit balls, they are frequently counted on to make plays on weak grounders and bunted balls that are returned to the mound. In addition, other infielders would often tell a pitcher to stop if they are chasing a ball in play. Even popups hit above or close to the pitcher’s mound are typically collected by an infielder who signals the pitcher to leave the field.
Today’s teams often use five starting pitchers in a rotation, giving starters four to five days rest in between appearances.
Only in the National League do starting pitchers commonly bat, while in the American League the pitcher is replaced by a designated hitter.
The pitching mound, which is situated in the infield’s middle and 60 feet, 6 inches from home plate, is where relief pitchers stand.
Relief pitchers enter games after the starter has been taken out, typically due to subpar performance, an excessive number of pitches, or injury. While most clubs have a “long reliever” whose job it is to pitch two, three, or four innings in relief of a starting pitcher who was taken out of a game especially early, many relievers only work one or two innings — at most — in a given game. When a game is going into extra innings and it is unclear when it will end, the long reliever might be helpful.
Due to the fact that they are less likely to throw more than 30 pitches in a day, relievers are often able to throw harder than starters. Although most relievers will need a day off after throwing three days in a row, relief pitchers can be expected to pitch on two or three straight days, occasionally even more, unlike their starting counterparts.
A relief pitcher’s handedness is crucial. In general, right-handed batters struggle more often than left-handed batters against right-handed pitchers, and left-handed batters do poorly against left-handed pitchers. On the other side, right-handed batters frequently perform better against left-handed pitchers, and left-handed batters frequently favour right-handed pitchers.
Due to their expertise against left-handed batters, left-handed relievers in particular are frequently deployed for brief periods of time. It was typical for left-handed relievers to enter a game to face just one other left-handed batter before being replaced by a right-handed reliever before the implementation of a three-batter minimum rule in 2020. Although such matchups are still a key factor in management decisions, right-handed relievers are often deployed in a less specialised manner.
Traditional long relief players sometimes resemble starters or may have previously served as starters in their careers. If the starter has a poor start, gives up too many hits or runs, or walks too many hitters, long relief relievers will be deployed. Given that they lack the endurance to serve as starters, these long relief pitchers will also adhere to a predefined pitch count to ensure their optimal efficacy. Typically, they only last four innings or less.
If the starter makes it to or near the halfway point of the game, middle relief relievers will be utilised. These middle relievers typically pitch in the fifth, sixth, or seventh inning before turning the ball over to the setup man.
A left-handed relief pitcher who specialises in pitching to left-handed hitters, weak right-handed hitters, and switch-hitters who bat poorly right-handed is known as a left-handed specialist in baseball (also known as a lefty specialist).  Due to baseball’s perpetual replacement rule, these pitchers typically only face one hitter at a time in a given game and infrequently face exclusively right-handed batters. Several left-handed pitchers, at least one of whom is a left-handed specialist, are on the rosters of the majority of Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. A disparaging term for a left-handed specialist is LOOGY (or Lefty One-Out Guy), which was invented by John Sickels.
Due to the fact that they may be employed as both starters and relievers, swingmen are in a class of their own. Swingmen are the pitchers who can pitch numerous innings as a starter and who we previously referred to as long relievers. At any baseball level, swingmen will be a very useful weapon for any team. Due to the restriction of only having 14 pitchers on a team, teams must have pitchers that can go multiple innings in a game at any given time.
The pitching mound, which is situated in the infield’s middle and 60 feet, 6 inches from home plate, is where closers stand.
A team’s closer is frequently regarded as its greatest bullpen reliever. The last inning of a game is when closers are most frequently used to maintain a small lead (three runs or less). Closers are typically capable of striking out batters at high rates and are virtually always effective against both right- and left-handed batters. Although there are occasionally left-handed closers in baseball each season, the majority of closers are right-handed.
On the offensive side, closers see even fewer at-bats than the typical relief pitcher because they only enter games late. The manager will frequently pinch-hit for the closer if their name appears in the batting order. Most closers don’t get a single at-bat during the entire season. The first six seasons of Aroldis Chapman’s Major League career, for instance, saw him record just two at-bats.
Some another way to classify of pitchers
Pitchers classified by the pitches they throw
- Junk pitchers are experts at delivering slower pitches that, although they can still reach speeds of up to 85 mph, mislead batters by bending down or sliding sideways as they approach the base.
- Knuckleballers: A rubbish pitcher taken to the extreme is a knuckleballer. These pitchers mostly throw the knuckleball, a pitch that flies so horribly that it’s frequently difficult for the catcher to even catch it, let alone for a hitter to hit it. The slow speed of the pitch allows these pitchers to have very extended careers.
- Power pitchers: These individuals throw incredibly hard and are also known as fireballers or flamethrowers. Modern power pitchers are capable of throwing at speeds of up to 100 mph. Even if their pitches don’t move about as much in the air, batters find it very difficult to “catch up to them” before they reach the catcher’s mitt.
How many pitchers are on a baseball team?
13 pitchers is the maximum a team may carry at this time. All clubs must carry a minimum of 28 players from September 1 through the end of the regular season, with a maximum of 14 pitchers. Major League service time is accumulated by players who are on the 26-man roster or Major League injury list.
How many times can you switch pitchers in baseball?
A pitcher is only permitted to switch positions once during a single inning. For example, the pitcher is not permitted to play any position other than pitcher more than once during a single inning. Five warm-up tosses are permitted for any player who replaces an injured player who isn’t a pitcher.
How many starting pitchers are on a baseball team?
In professional baseball, a starting pitcher typically takes three, four, or five days off after throwing a pitch. There are typically four, five, or six starting pitchers on the rosters of professional baseball clubs. The rotation refers to these pitchers and the order in which they pitch.
These were the types of pitchers in baseball. Without a doubt, successful pitchers are essential for any club. Throughout the course of a game, many different types of pitchers are employed. At any level of baseball, a team’s pitching may make or break them. All pitching, from starters to closers, boils down to two goals: throw strikes and strike the batter out. Pitchers can help their team succeed if they are able to do these two things.
I am Harry La, CEO for BaseballHub.Net – a baseball website and I am also a Baseball Writer. I am responsible for the publication of such articles as game recaps and previews, player interviews, coaching updates, and in-depth previews of upcoming games or series.