Rick Kranitz is one of the most important people for all of the young pitchers in the system. He is the Baltimore Orioles’ pitching coach, but regularly attends minor league games to check up on the youngsters.
I caught up with the Orioles’ pitching coach, Rick Kranitz on April 2, 2010 during spring training.
JT: What’s the most important thing to teach the young pitchers in the organization?
RK: The first thing is command of the fastball. You can have a guy throwing 85 mph and if he’s locating it down, in and out. With location you’ll be able to get hitters out in the big leagues. All velocity is is room for error, you can throw 95 mph and throw it at the belt, that ball is going to get hit pretty hard at the major league level. Fastball command is the first thing.
JT: Is there any difference between coaching the MLB players vs. the prospects?
RK: I think what you try to do with a prospect is make sure they have a nice routine set up. Every good major league pitcher has their own throwing routine, they should have one, at least. You watch them play and you find out what their strengths are. The older players understand what they can do and what they can’t do. You try to find the strengths of each guy and get them to play to their strengths, not their weaknesses.
JT: How important is it to command your fastball?
RK: It’s the first thing, first thing. You have to do it. You have to throw the ball down and for strikes, first pitch strikes. You can pitch in the big leagues with a fastball as long as you move it down, up and down. If you move it around to all the quadrants in the strike zone you can pitch in the big leagues, even if you don’t have a big fastball.