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Who decides which pitch is thrown?


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Hey, this is something I have wondered about for more than 20 years since I first became a baseball fan.

 

Who has the final say on which pitch is ultimately thrown?

 

So, I decided to start this thread to discuss/debate this question.

Now, I know most people will say something like "It's the catcher who chooses which pitch is thrown since he is the one calling the game."

That is what I thought for a lot of years, until I really thought about it..

What I have noticed is that yes, the majority of the time, the catcher puts down the signs and the pitcher throws the ball, so it would seem that the catcher chooses the pitch and is ultimately responsible and should get the credit for "calling" a good pitching performance.

However, what always confused me about that idea is those times when you notice the pitcher shaking his head several times until I assume the catcher puts down the sign that the pitcher wants to throw and then the pitcher nods yes and throws the pitch. The other thing that I always have noticed is the catcher looking into the dugout at his manager (or pitching coach?) who is giving him signs and I'm assuming telling him which pitches to "suggest" or call for the pitcher to throw.

I would imagine the easy answer is that all three of them (pitcher, catcher and manager) work together on which pitches are thrown before the game.

But I guess my question is, who is ultimately responsible/makes the final decision for which pitch actually gets thrown at any moment in the game?

If it's the catcher, should he still get credit/blame for a good or bad pitch selection if the pitcher can "override" his signs at any moment?

If it's the manager/pitching coach who is ultimately responsible, is it fair that the catcher gets the credit for being a good game caller?

 

 

Well, thanks for reading, I'm sorry if this is a dumb question or the answer is as simple and basic as "All three of them (pitcher, catcher and manager/pitching coach) work together on which pitches are thrown." or something along those lines. 

😂

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50 minutes ago, SirFishFan said:

Hey, this is something I have wondered about for more than 20 years since I first became a baseball fan.

 

Who has the final say on which pitch is ultimately thrown?

 

So, I decided to start this thread to discuss/debate this question.

Now, I know most people will say something like "It's the catcher who chooses which pitch is thrown since he is the one calling the game."

That is what I thought for a lot of years, until I really thought about it..

What I have noticed is that yes, the majority of the time, the catcher puts down the signs and the pitcher throws the ball, so it would seem that the catcher chooses the pitch and is ultimately responsible and should get the credit for "calling" a good pitching performance.

However, what always confused me about that idea is those times when you notice the pitcher shaking his head several times until I assume the catcher puts down the sign that the pitcher wants to throw and then the pitcher nods yes and throws the pitch. The other thing that I always have noticed is the catcher looking into the dugout at his manager (or pitching coach?) who is giving him signs and I'm assuming telling him which pitches to "suggest" or call for the pitcher to throw.

I would imagine the easy answer is that all three of them (pitcher, catcher and manager) work together on which pitches are thrown before the game.

But I guess my question is, who is ultimately responsible/makes the final decision for which pitch actually gets thrown at any moment in the game?

If it's the catcher, should he still get credit/blame for a good or bad pitch selection if the pitcher can "override" his signs at any moment?

If it's the manager/pitching coach who is ultimately responsible, is it fair that the catcher gets the credit for being a good game caller?

 

 

Well, thanks for reading, I'm sorry if this is a dumb question or the answer is as simple and basic as "All three of them (pitcher, catcher and manager/pitching coach) work together on which pitches are thrown." or something along those lines. 

😂

This is a great question! I think you've done a great job touching on the nuance of it all, but I think the core answer is: The catcher. They are the ones that learn the lineup and will be there behind the plate the whole game, so they know, for instance, how the Marlins starter pitched against Freddie Freeman the first 2 times, so the catcher can bring that knowledge into the 3rd and 4th PAs against relievers.

That said, the pitcher has veto power. If he doesn't feel like he can execute a given pitch or believes the call goes counter to the gameplan the developed before the game, they can always shake off the catcher. You'll see this more with veteran pitchers (Wainwright and Greinke probably don't need a 23-year-old catcher to tell them what the gameplan is).

At the same time, the manager also may call for certain approaches at pivotal times in the game -- pitch around this guy, go after that guy, intentionally walk this fella, and so on. Managers aren't calling pitches per se, but they can dictate the overall gameplan.

Of course, it's different in high school / college. Most schools these days (I believe) have 100% of their pitches called by the manager.

What do you think, y'all? Did I answer it mostly correctly?

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End of day pitcher has final say because well, pitcher is the one delivering the pitch.  Wont deliver a pitch he doesnt want to in the end.

Its more dynamic than that, but pitcher has the FINAL say as it comes out of the Pitchers ARM.  

Real simple in that sense. 

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44 minutes ago, Das Texan said:

End of day pitcher has final say because well, pitcher is the one delivering the pitch.  Wont deliver a pitch he doesnt want to in the end.

Its more dynamic than that, but pitcher has the FINAL say as it comes out of the Pitchers ARM.  

Real simple in that sense. 

Interesting take.

That could explain those moments I’ve seen a few times in games where the pitcher throws a different pitch than what the catcher calls and then the catcher stares back a little bit annoyed. Of course, a lot of times those cross ups are accidental, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s happened a few times where the pitcher agreed to throw an off speed pitch and literally at the last second before throwing the ball changed his mind and intentionally threw a fastball just because he felt like it. I’m sure that has to have happened a few times.

Thanks for the response!

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2 hours ago, Photo-Realistic Billy said:

This is a great question! I think you've done a great job touching on the nuance of it all, but I think the core answer is: The catcher. They are the ones that learn the lineup and will be there behind the plate the whole game, so they know, for instance, how the Marlins starter pitched against Freddie Freeman the first 2 times, so the catcher can bring that knowledge into the 3rd and 4th PAs against relievers.

That said, the pitcher has veto power. If he doesn't feel like he can execute a given pitch or believes the call goes counter to the gameplan the developed before the game, they can always shake off the catcher. You'll see this more with veteran pitchers (Wainwright and Greinke probably don't need a 23-year-old catcher to tell them what the gameplan is).

At the same time, the manager also may call for certain approaches at pivotal times in the game -- pitch around this guy, go after that guy, intentionally walk this fella, and so on. Managers aren't calling pitches per se, but they can dictate the overall gameplan.

Of course, it's different in high school / college. Most schools these days (I believe) have 100% of their pitches called by the manager.

What do you think, y'all? Did I answer it mostly correctly?

Also, a catcher may look into the dugout for fielding guidance too - that's usually at the beginning of an AB rather than during, but still happens - the manager/coaches may want to shift differently at different times.

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53 minutes ago, SilverBullet said:

Who decides which pitch is thrown?

There's no way that's true... because he's the first baseman! 

You know, I’ve never reacted to a post with a banana before. 

 

Until right now.

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4 hours ago, Michael said:

In the end, really, the true decider of all pitches is God. Praise Be!

Since Zac Gallen invented every pitch, catchers have to get his permission to call for them. So, in a way, Gallen decides which pitches are thrown.

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15 hours ago, Das Texan said:

End of day pitcher has final say because well, pitcher is the one delivering the pitch.  Wont deliver a pitch he doesnt want to in the end.

Its more dynamic than that, but pitcher has the FINAL say as it comes out of the Pitchers ARM.  

Real simple in that sense. 

With you being a Cardinal fan, have you ever seen a pitcher shake off Molina?  I just think that would be incredibly stupid.  

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1 hour ago, jeffreysfishfry said:

With you being a Cardinal fan, have you ever seen a pitcher shake off Molina?  I just think that would be incredibly stupid.  

Of course they have.  Just usually happens only once and then they learn.

The pitcher KNOWS to trust Molina and that Molina knows what is right to be called.  Still doesnt negate its still the pitcher who makes the ultimate decision.  

Just in the case of the Cardinals and Molina its generally deciding to agree with what Yadi calls.  

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It's basically a committee decision, based what the pitching coach, pitchers and catchers have gone over before the game and the game situation. The catcher at least in the MLB will call a pitch but  will check with the dugout to see if everyone's on the same page 

as others have said it's ultimately the pitchers decision to go with the call, of course you don't want to piss off your catcher 

bull GIF

 

 

Edited by fanofthefish
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5 minutes ago, fanofthefish said:

It's basically a committee decision, based what the pitching coach, pitchers and catchers have gone over before the game and the game situation. The catcher at least in the MLB will call a pitch but  will check with the dugout to see if everyone's on the same page 

as others have said it's ultimately the pitchers decision to go with the call, of course you don't want to piss off your catcher 

bull GIF

 

 

Thanks for the insights.

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