Knowing Your Value As A Pitcher Starter vs Reliever

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knowing your value as a pitcher

Happy New Year to you, Fellow Dominator!  As you look to 2018 with a strong sense of optimism, just remember, that it is easier to have success when you know what you are doing out there.  All things considered, a defining moment for every athlete is when they understand what they are capable of doing.  Knowing your value as a pitcher will eliminate the unnecessary. Stress, doubt, confusion, etc. It frees up your mind to drill deeper into your niche and sharpen your craft.  The ball player who knows their role on the team, will be better prepared to answer the bell rings when it rings for thee.  Naturally, in this chain of events, a team with this aptitude level will have better results. That’s why you play this great game… WIN!!!


Knowing Your Value As A Pitcher
Your Identity

knowing your value as a pitcher

First things first.  What kind of pitcher are you?

 – Are you under control and somewhat deliberate,
yet highly competitive?  

 – Do you rely on adrenaline to get the job done?

 – Are you a sprinter or a marathon runner?

 – Are you a clydesdale or a derby winner?  

 – Is your approach more like a chess player or that of an MMA Fighter?

As you may be at the age that you are growing into your body, there are many things that you will find out about yourself, both physically and mentally.  Keep these in mind as you look to your future on the mound.   When you know your value as a pitcher, that’s when things begin to take off!!!!


Knowing Your Value as a Pitcher
Starters vs Relievers Examples

knowing your value as a pitcher

Starting pitchers are exemplary creatures of habit.  At the MLB level, starters spend 4 days building up their preparation to lead their team into battle on the 5th day. Because these Warriors accept the responsibility to be the captain of the ship, their meticulous preparation shall not be infringed.

It’s no secret that relief pitchers are of a different breed. Who else is willing to sit 300-450 feet away from home plate all game with the possibility of never getting into the game some days?  On the realistic side, relievers have their method of passing time and then turning the switch on when the phone rings.  Then it’s all business.

It is rather obvious that most starters and relievers would never want to be moved out of their respective domains. Starters complain about not having enough time to get loose in the bullpen.  Relievers severely disrupt the flow of the game in the early innings when they are asked to start. 


Knowing Your Value as a Pitcher
My Awakening

knowing your value as a pitcher

Personally, I discovered my value as a pitcher when I was 20 years old.  The honest realization smacked me right across the face.  I was simply not cut out to be starter.  I felt lost trying things that were not for me.  Once I had my first dabble with the pressure cooker in the late innings, I was hooked.  Being an everyday player was more fun. Having an opportunity to possibly contribute everyday for shorter spurts was more my speed.  There was no adrenaline rush in the early innings.   As I evolved into my craft, innings 1-5 were my relax and preparation time.


Knowing Your Value As A Pitcher

knowing your value as a pitcher

Starting pitching is no doubt the backbone of the game. Everything goes from there. Why else are they paid such gaudy salaries nowadays.  When a starting staff is going deep into games and keeping the bullpen fresh, good things happen.  Look at the 2005 ALCS for example. When a starter gets knocked out in the 2nd inning and the team doesn’t have an off day for a week, the whole staff is in a pickle…

The most important stat on the mind of a starting pitcher is Innings Pitched.  Their job is to take the ball and handle the workload while putting the team in a position to win.  

How does this happen?  

First and foremost, a good starter can command his fastball to the 4 quadrants of the strike zone.  This is the most consistent attribute one can master.  The effectiveness of all secondary pitches comes off of that.  

The strategic and creative nature of a starter to get through the line up 2 to 3 times is what keeps you in the rotation, and IN DEMAND!

Starters are the Clydesdales.  The work horses who build themselves up peak performances levels, and then recover. While repeating this cycle up to maybe 40 times a year. Postseason, World Series.  Gotta think big!


Knowing Your Value As A Pitcher

knowing your value as a pitcher

Resilience is a key for relievers.  Not everyone is blessed with a rubber arm.  However, a reliever with a hot hand will be used a lot by the manager.   So you have to be able to pitch several times a week.  2-3 days in a row, maybe 4-5 times a week based off of game situations.  Much of this comes from being effective and economical.  Can you get loose in the pen quickly to save your bullets for the game? Can you be economical with your pitches in order to pitch on multiple days?  

Much of this comes with getting ahead of hitters.  The game has no time for relievers coming into tight spot and falling behind/walking hitters.  That will be the quickest hook possible.  The days of the Wild Things, Rick Vaughan and Mitch WIlliams are long gone.  Relievers have to come in and throw strikes.  The margin for error is much smaller.  Free passes in the later innings are distarious for a team’s winning percentage and overall morale.  

In addition, a reliever cannot be afraid of the situation. You may feel like your hair is on fire, so you have to pitch like it.  Feed off of the situation, just be in control of your emotions and stay within yourself.  If you get hit, you get hit.  If you get beat, you deal with it.  The team deals with it.  When you beat yourself as a reliever, it’s a lonely feeling out there.  Getting the job done and gaining trust from the manager and your teammates, can put you in big spots to gather the glory.  

knowing your value as a pitcher


Let me know if this post has awoken you to knowing your value as a pitcher.  What role do you feel you are best suited for in regards to embarrassing hitters on a nightly basis?  Let me know in the comments below.  And as always….

Keep Dominating!!!



About the Author

Brad Kirsch Slider DominationBrad Kirsch is the Owner/Creator of Slider Domination. He is a former professional pitcher who blogs about all things Pitching. Brad has also authored the AudioBook, 7 Reasons Why YOU Should Throw a Slider. If you haven’t done so already, you can Download the AudioBook Here




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