December 16, 2007
VON BRAUN NOT REQUIRED:
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?Posted by Orrin Judd at December 16, 2007 12:32 PM
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.