|Photo 1: A common Little |
- The distance from the mound to the plate is shorter.
- Young players are still developing the skills needed to catch balls hit at them.
- Reaction times are slower so safety on batted balls at that level is more of a concern.
- The longer distance between the mound and home plate make it more important for pitchers to use their whole body when pitching - especially their mid-section.
- Many pitchers have developed the habit of not using their whole body.
Only after pitchers get to this point should they concern themselves with fielding. In reality, when contact is made by the hitter (about the time Photo 2 was taken), the pitcher will never be in the fielding position if he is following through fully. That is why major league pitchers, even the best fielders, still get hit with line drives and ground balls back at them every now and then.
So it becomes a trade-off. Finish your pitch correctly to be more effective with less injuries but suffer a bit defensively or don't finish well in order to field but suffer more arm stress and lower performance.
Tomorrow's post will answer the question ...
"So what can pitchers do to protect themselves if they shouldn't be in
a position to field when the ball is hit?"