The change up is the key for pitchers, like Estrada


By Ron Pegg

In the past couple of seasons, Marco Estrada has been an outstanding pitcher for the Toronto Blue Jays. He often pitched into the eighth inning having given up zero hits or one or two hits. He had not walked a batter.

This year has been a different story. He has seldom lasted to the end of five innings, having already given up numerous hits and runs. He has also usually walked one or two batters in each of the innings he has pitched.

When Estrada was successful, it was not because of his speed, because he is not known as being a pitcher who has even a good fastball. Estrada’s success was based solely on his control. Estrada could put the ball exactly where he wanted to throw it. It is difficult to understand why he has lost this pin point accuracy. On the other hand he is a great example of what some of us believe to be the main principle for young pitchers.

Carmen Bush was the spokesman for all of amateur baseball in Toronto for almost 55 years. His work in Toronto is revered by many. As the result of his continuous volunteer work, he was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in the 1980s.

Mr. Bush always firmly stated that a young person who is pitching should not be throwing any pitch other than a fast ball and a change up until he is 18 years of age. While throwing these two pitches, the young pitcher should only be concerned with pin point accuracy so that the pitch crosses the plate exactly where it is supposed to go. Mr. Bush stated that the person who can always hit the point that the ball needs to go, has the potential to be a successful pitcher.

In today’s professional ball, pitcher after pitcher is being placed on the sideline, and often even having to have a major arm operation even before the age of twenty five.

Most amateur leagues are creating more and more rules that limit the amount of pitches that a pitcher can throw in a day. The rule requires the young pitcher to not pitch again for two or three days. These rules are meant to help cut down the number of future arm problems.

The problem with their rules and regulations is they do not deal with the problems. In most cases, young pitchers do not throw a ball often enough. The young pitchers are also often misusing their arm by throwing many pitches that are not natural to the arm.

They have not heard of the necessity of pin point control and working on location. The arm can go on forever, as has been proven many times in the past, if the young person will just work on throwing for location with the pitches which are natural for the arm.

Ron Pegg is one of only two people named “Life Member” of Baseball Ontario. In July 2016 Ron was named the first “Life Member of Western Ontario Baseball Association”.

He was the founder of WOBA and was the first to implement the tournament format for playoffs in WOBA. long before other affiliates in Ontario saw the benefits of it. A great ambassador and leader for grassroots baseball in Ontario and Western Ontario. Many outstanding baseball players developed their skills in small rural towns like Flesherton thanks to his programs. 

During the early years the OBA office was in Ron and Cathy’s Flesherton home. With the help of summer students it was run very efficiently and the staff was always available to help out with rosters and tournament information. At that time roster registration was done with individual player cards. His wife Cathy contributed enormously in helping with phone calls and paper work as well as supporting the local organization; Flesherton Minor Baseball and their tournaments. This was the basis of developing good ball players and good citizens.