Author Topic: Jim Kaat and the Slider  (Read 365 times)

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Online blue911

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Jim Kaat and the Slider
« Topic Start: April 15, 2010, 09:32:29 AM »
Quote
“The problem with a slider for me is it’s a very fickle pitch. It’s an easy pitch to learn, and you fall in love with it because it’s easy to throw for a strike. You’ll throw three or four that are really good ones that have a lot of bite, but then that one mediocre one you throw…



Quote
“If I were working with a kid today, which I do a have an opportunity from time to time, I say command your fastball first, develop a good change-up and then work in a curveball. The slider would be the last pitch I recommend to anybody because too often it becomes just a mediocre fastball or a mediocre curve because it’s halfway in between there.”



Quote
“There are more sliders hit out of the ballpark, particularly in late-game, game-on-the-line situations, than any other pitch. I know in my own career, when I started minimizing my slider and going to other pitches, particularly in the late innings, it was more beneficial to me.”



I seems like most of the Nationals pitching staff throws the slider as their second pitch. Maybe they need to get a different type of pitcher.


http://blogs.palmbeachpost.com/marlins/2010/03/12/as-florida-marlins-pitchers-focus-on-the-slider-a-word-of-caution-from-jim-kaat/

Online Minty Fresh

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Re: Jim Kaat and the Slider
« Reply #1: April 15, 2010, 12:34:15 PM »
I'm pretty sure if we traced our lineage you and I would find we were related in a past life somewhere....

Offline Lintyfresh85

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Re: Jim Kaat and the Slider
« Reply #2: April 15, 2010, 12:43:03 PM »
Never could figure out how to throw a slider... or a proper curveball for that matter.

All I ever heard was to throw a slider like you were throwing a football... lot of good that did me.

Offline JMUalumni

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Re: Jim Kaat and the Slider
« Reply #3: April 15, 2010, 12:57:47 PM »
Another relevant point that Kaat makes is about learning a slider and curveball (in reference to Cole Hamels).  I hate it when players try to learn both pitches, because very few pitchers are able to pull both off effectively.  What usually happens is a player will learn a slider and in turn will end up messing up the movement and snap on their curve.  It takes a smart pitcher with consistent mechanics to be able to have both pitches in their arsenal AND use them effectively.

Of course, I have no problem with players learning the "slurve," which is increasingly becoming a more popular pitch.

Online blue911

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Re: Jim Kaat and the Slider
« Reply #4: April 15, 2010, 01:08:56 PM »
I'm pretty sure if we traced our lineage you and I would find we were related in a past life somewhere....

Geez, that's a scary thought

Online Kevrock

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Re: Jim Kaat and the Slider
« Reply #5: April 15, 2010, 03:42:13 PM »
Another relevant point that Kaat makes is about learning a slider and curveball (in reference to Cole Hamels).  I hate it when players try to learn both pitches, because very few pitchers are able to pull both off effectively.  What usually happens is a player will learn a slider and in turn will end up messing up the movement and snap on their curve.  It takes a smart pitcher with consistent mechanics to be able to have both pitches in their arsenal AND use them effectively.

This is what ended my pitching career. College coach insisted I learn a slider. I developed a very mediocre slider and was never able to throw my curveball with any consistency again. My CB flattened out and I struggled with release point.

Offline JMUalumni

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Re: Jim Kaat and the Slider
« Reply #6: April 15, 2010, 03:51:07 PM »
This is what ended my pitching career. College coach insisted I learn a slider. I developed a very mediocre slider and was never able to throw my curveball with any consistency again. My CB flattened out and I struggled with release point.

The same thing happened to one of my good buddies.  Used to have a great curveball, but once he added the slider he lost it.  Then he blew out his shoulder and never pitched again.  Sad, really, because he had a great curve-fastball combo and probably could have got a career going, but alas I am sure there are many stories out there that are similar to his.

Offline PANatsFan

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Re: Jim Kaat and the Slider
« Reply #7: April 16, 2010, 10:02:33 AM »
I got a SI Guide to Pitching at a used book sale. It's actually pretty awesome, and that advice is in there.

Online Kevrock

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Re: Jim Kaat and the Slider
« Reply #8: April 16, 2010, 11:10:09 AM »
*I guess I should have said that it ended my effectiveness as a pitcher, it didn't directly end my career.

Quote
“That’s why there are so many home runs hit in the game today and that’s why I think the majority of hitters today have slider-speed bats. It’s such an easier pitch to react to. I think for a few years we pitchers fell in love with pitching in and out, side to side. Today, with the strength of hitters, they way they can wait back with light bats and commit at the last minute.

The problem with curveballs is that they are much easier to read out of the hand. It's not like a change-up where it can look like a fastball well into the pitch. Of course, I've never seen an MLB curveball and it's been years since I've had to step into the box with my own approach to an at-bat.

I'd be really interested in reading more about this subject. I'd love to hear a hitting coach's opinion as well.

Offline JMUalumni

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Re: Jim Kaat and the Slider
« Reply #9: April 16, 2010, 11:12:28 AM »
*I guess I should have said that it ended my effectiveness as a pitcher, it didn't directly end my career.

Yeah I figured that much.  I was just adding an additional aside about my friend.

Online Kevrock

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Re: Jim Kaat and the Slider
« Reply #10: April 16, 2010, 11:20:45 AM »
No definitely, and it was interesting to read. BTW, it's interesting that you mentioned the importance of mechanical consistency in your first post, because the same coach was also severely changing my mechanics during the same off-season. Looking back on it, it was a total recipe for disaster.