December 16, 2007


Prospectus Q&A: John Farrell (David Laurila, 12/16/07, Baseball Prospectus)

David Laurila: Warren Spahn famously said that you only need two pitches to get a hitter out: the one he’s looking for and the one he isn’t. Is that a simplification?

John Farrell: In some cases, possibly, but I don’t think it is. From a pitch-execution standpoint, the ability to throw your fastball on both sides of the plate is the single most important key, particularly for a starting pitcher. What I try to ingrain in pitchers’ minds is that even though it’s the same pitch--a fastball--it’s clearly two different pitches when it’s thrown on either side of the plate with consistency. I think that even the best hitters at the major league-level can’t protect, or be looking for, a pitch on both sides; they have to either zone in on a ball on the outside half of the strike zone or a ball in on them. And the ability to throw a secondary pitch--some sort of breaking ball or a variation of a change-up--is important. It’s one of the tools to begin that inner game, that chess match. I think that, ultimately, if a pitcher can avoid being predictable he’s got the ability to effectively retire hitters with two pitches. But to me, the biggest thing is location.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 16, 2007 12:32 PM

He just described Greg Maddux.

Posted by: Benny at December 16, 2007 5:03 PM

Maddux has always stated that to be successful in MLB "you need to be able to locate your fastball and throw your change up for strikes". It's both that simple and that difficult.

Posted by: Patrick H at December 16, 2007 6:13 PM

I didn't catch the triple entendre in the headline at first, oj. Missed the connecting rocket. Well done!

Posted by: ghostcat at December 16, 2007 9:25 PM