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Baseball Positions: Starting Pitcher is the Best

January 29, 2013

The starting pitcher is the best position on the baseball field. Without the starting pitcher, the game could not be played. The starter sets the tone for the whole game. And no other player can affect the outcome of the game more often than the starting pitcher.

The game begins with the first pitch. That can amount to quite a bit of pressure. The starting pitcher needs to not only handle that pressure, but thrive on it. All eyes are on the pitcher at the start of every play. And with that first pitch, the pitcher can assert his dominance. Which brings me to my next point.

The starting pitcher sets the tone for both teams. A dominant first inning can deflate the opponent and energize the pitcher’s team. When the pitcher’s teammates know that they do not need to score many runs to win, there is less pressure on them. A relaxed hitter is a successful hitter. The opponents, on the other hand, will feel more pressure as the game goes on. A bad first inning will have the opposite effect, with the opponents being more relaxed.

As much as the first inning sets the tone of the game, there is more that the starting pitcher does that affects the outcome of the game. One bad inning can spell doom for the team. It can wipe out a lead or the opponent’s lead to a seemingly insurmountable lead. It does not take much to swing the momentum.

A dominant performance by the starting pitcher will make it very difficult for the opponent to score any runs, much less score enough to win. The longer the starter pitches well, the better the chance that his team will win. This is why the starter usually gets the win or loss. It is also why a starter needs to pitch at least 5 innings in order to get the win.

A good starting pitcher will pitch deep into games. This helps the team win more than just these games. As the starter pitches more innings, the bullpen pitches less innings. And a rested bullpen is more effective. If the starter is getting roughed up early and the bullpen needs to pitch more innings, then the bullpen will be less effective in the coming games.

So there you have it. The starting pitcher is the best position to play. That is where the game, and every play after that, starts. The starter is the one who has the most impact on the team’s wins and losses.

Some of the best pitchers from different eras are: Cy Young, Warren Spahn, Nolan Ryan, Curt Shilling, and Roy Halladay. All but Shilling and Hallady have at least 300 wins, with Cy Young topping the list at 511. It is no wonder that the most prestigious pitching award is called the Cy Young Award. Shilling finished with 216 wins (82nd all time). Halladay is entering his 14th season with 169 wins. All of these pitchers, and many more, were essential to their teams’ success.

This is part of a series of articles explaining why each position on the baseball field is the best. This series is aimed towards coaches at all levels. It is my belief that every position is important, and they each need players with different strengths.

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