"I have the great fortune of having multiple lefthanders (4 of 5) that will be in my rotation for spring (ages 12-14). I am looking for suggestions on calling pitches with a largely lefthanded staff."
Coach Corral writes: "I can't believe no one has posted to this one yet! Lefties are a fun breed to coach if you know both pitch sequencing and controlling the running game.
At those young ages, hitters haven't mastered the art of driving an offspeed pitch the other way. They still have strong tendencies to pull the ball. Since it's fundamentally easier to pitch to the throwing arm side of the plate, hitting the outside edge with fastball, change and curve will effectively keep batters out in front and pulling the ball to your shortstop or 3rd baseman.
Simply put, pitch sequencing is the art of pulling a hitter's hands/weight out of position. Using fastballs and changeups on the outside edge should be your primary weapon. Once your ahead in the count you can use curveballs to force hitters to miss if you need to. Keep the ball low and you'll induce plenty of groundouts. Teach your pitchers to miss down and keep their fingers on top of the ball through release to help with that.
Controlling the running game really depends on how the other teams steal bases. These days, baserunners are taught to steal on FIRST MOVEMENT when dealing with lefties. Lefthanded pitchers who are "readers" (slow leg lift to READ what the runner is doing before pitching or picking), usually fall victim to a speedy runner who takes off immediately when the pitcher's foot lifts. Do not create readers.
Let me know how things go. Don't overthink pitch sequencing. Force teams to beat you away from their strength...i.e. pulling middle-in pitches. The minute hitters get too comfortable with the outside pitch, bust them inside with a few fastballs...then away again. You'll do just fine keeping teams off balance. Let me know how things go.
Hope this helps,