Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Video of the Day: Switch-Pitcher

This is something you have to see to believe. Creighton's Pat Venditte is the only documented "switch-pitcher" in college baseball today. Born right-handed, Venditte showed proficiency with both arms at age 3, which prompted his father to help develop them both. Today, Venditte is a starter and reliever for Creighton, a manager's dream because he matches up against either left- or right-handed batters.

Venditte's deliveries are not mirrors of each other. His right-handed delivery is more over the top, with a 91-mph fastball and a slow curveball, while his left hand comes in sidearm with a sharp, biting slider. He uses a custom-made glove with four finger holes and two thumb holes so that he can switch hands seamlessly.

Venditte was drafted by the Yankees in the 45th round last year but chose to return to Creighton for his senior season. Scouts have fallen in love with this guy; after all, the manager wouldn't have to go into the pen for a lefty, he would just have to ask his pitcher to switch hands!

What happens when he faces a switch-hitter, you ask? An old rule dictates that the pitcher must declare which hand he will use before the at-bat.

Here's an interesting NY Times feature about Venditte from last year. Let's hope Vandy doesn't have to face this guy at all during the NCAA tournament this year.


Braddock said...

Wow! Unreal!

How old is rule regarding declaration of which hand to use for pitching? Anyone know?

Tony Arnold said...

This is the kind of thing that looks like an anomoly, but changes the way a sport progresses. Coaches and parents will start working on this with very young athletes and you will start seeing more of it. Very similiar to how common switching hitting has become.

Andrew Hard @andrewhard592 said...

Braddock, I believe the rule dates back as far as the 1880's, where this type of thing was quite common in the major leagues. There have been only a handful of switch pitchers in MLB since 1900, and at least a few in college baseball, so I'm not surprised that most umpiring schools didn't go over that one at all.

Braddock said...

Thanks Andrew! Would love to watch a full game at least once with this guy pitching.