Skip to Content

Types of Pitchers in Baseball | Helpful Guide

Types of Pitchers in Baseball: SP, RP, and CP Explained

There are many types of pitchers in baseball. A starting pitcher, or SP, usually starts a game and completes at least one inning. When they come out, a relief pitcher takes over the rest of the innings that the team needs to win. The most common type of reliever is called a relief pitcher or RP.

They pitch for just an inning or two before being replaced by another reliever who pitches until their team has won the game. In some cases, teams will use closers as well as relievers to help them get ahead and stay ahead in games so they can finish without any losses!

Types of Pitchers in Baseball

Starting Pitchers

A pitcher in baseball is a player who throws the ball to the other team in order to start a play. There are several different types of pitchers, but the most common are starting pitchers. 

A starting pitcher is responsible for throwing the first pitch of the game and typically pitches until either he gets three outs or six innings, whichever comes first. He then hands off the pitching duties to the next pitcher in the bullpen.

You can check the 2021 MLB Starter Rankings here.

There are many things that go into being a successful starting pitcher.

  • First and foremost, a pitcher must have good control over his pitches. He must be able to throw them where he wants, when he wants, and with the correct velocity.
  • In addition, a pitcher must have an arsenal of pitches at his disposal in order to be successful. If he only has two or three types of pitches with which to work, chances are that batters will predict what’s coming and start hitting the ball more easily.
  • Another important skill is endurance. Pitchers are constantly on the move when they’re in play, moving from base to base as they run up and down the field.

Relief Pitchers

Relief pitchers are pitchers that play for a baseball team after the starting pitcher is relieved. The starter of a game starts the game and pitches at least one turn of an inning before being replaced by a relief pitcher.

There are many roles in which relief pitchers come into play, such as closers, middle relievers, left/right-handed specialists, situational pitchers and innings eaters.

Generally, relief pitchers play for two or three innings. There are a few exceptions to this rule, such as middle relievers who may pitch four or more innings if the starter of the game is pulled early.

There are many factors that go into how long a relief pitcher plays. These include

  • how well the starting pitcher pitched
  • how close the game is
  • what type of pitcher is being used as a reliever
  • how many pitches the reliever has thrown in previous innings.

Closing Pitchers

In baseball, a closing pitcher is a player who specializes in pitching the last few innings of a game to protect a lead. They are usually used in save situations. The role of the closer is one that can be quite important, as they may often be called upon to preserve a victory.

The best closers in the game are often very successful pitchers even when they are not pitching in the late innings. This is because their teams often rely on them to take care of important innings early in the game so that their team has a chance to win. Closers also tend to have good control, meaning they can throw strikes more often than not and avoid walking batters.

One factor that can affect whether or not a pitcher is successful as a closer is their fastball speed. A fastball that is too slow may not be able to retire batters quickly enough, while a fastball that is too fast may be difficult to control and could end up being hit hard.

Is it even possible for a Starting Pitcher to play the whole game?

There is no rule that states a starting pitcher must pitch until the end of the game. If they are getting shelled in the first couple innings or have an injury, they can be replaced sooner. The most common situation in which this happens is when multiple relievers are used to bridge the gap between starting pitcher and closer.

The top relief pitchers in baseball right now are often called “firemen.” They rarely enter games with their team already trailing by so many runs that there is no chance of winning. Instead, teams bring these firemen into games when there still may be a chance to win, even if it’s slim. Relief pitchers are typically used in one of two ways:

  • To onto a lead once the starter is removed from the game
  • To not give up any runs and help protect a slim lead.

How many pitches do MLB pitchers throw?

On average, major league pitchers will throw over 145 pitches per game. This number will vary depending on whether or not a pitcher is a starter, reliever, or closer. For instance, a starter will usually throw around 100 pitches over the course of a game while a reliever may pitch 1-3 innings. A closer will typically pitch 1 inning.

It’s important to keep in mind that these numbers can vary depending on the situation. For example, a pitcher may be taken out of the game if they have a runner on base who is threatening to score.

Or, a pitcher may come into the game to face a specific batter who is known to be tough. By understanding the role of each type of pitcher, you can appreciate the game of baseball even more!

Types of Pitches

There are a variety of pitches that can be thrown in baseball. The most common pitches are the fastball, curveball, slider, and changeup.

  • The fastball is a pitch that is thrown hard and fast. It’s the most basic pitch and is often used to test the batter’s readiness at the beginning of an at-bat.
  • A curveball is a pitch that starts off as a fastball but then curves or “breaks” towards the ground. This pitch is often used to fool batters who are expecting a fastball.
  • The slider is another pitch that breaks away from the batter. It’s thrown slower than a fastball but faster than a curveball. The slider is often used to get hitters out because it’s difficult to hit.
  • The changeup is a pitch that’s thrown slowly and uses different arm speed than a fastball. It looks similar to a fastball at first, but then the velocity of the ball changes once it reaches the batter.

Left Handed Pitchers and Right Handed Pitchers

Most pitchers will switch their grip when they pitch. This ensures that the ball is easier to catch with a mitt and saves energy from having to throw extra hard.

There are some effects of left-handed vs right-handed grips:

  • A right-hander throwing a fastball against a right-handed batter will have more movement on his pitches.
  • A lefty pitcher’s curveball will have less break when pitching against a left-hander due to the release point being different if he throws overhand.

In contrast, a left handed pitcher’s curveball will be more effective when facing a left hander due to it being harder for them to see the spin of the ball coming in toward them.

Catchers Tactical Signs for Pitchers

Catcher signs are used to communicate with pitchers. These usually include what type of pitch will be thrown, the location of where the ball should be thrown, and whether it’s a fastball or off-speed.

There are many different ways that catchers can signal to their pitcher using hand signals. Their placement on the catcher’s mitt tells the pitcher which type of play is called for by refraining from putting them anywhere specific on his glove.

The rules about catcher tactical signals vary throughout baseball leagues like Little League and MLB. There is no universal rule for all players at all levels so make sure you know your own league’s rule!

All text written above this line is background information to use as knowledge, not to be copied verbatim into your own work.

Types of Pitchers in Baseball: SP, RP, and CP Explained