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pepper brooks

2020 Little League Thread of Dominance

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Crazy to think our Little League draft is a mere 5 weeks from tomorrow.  Tournament ball season was tough for my son.  He broke his ankle the first week of September so he missed most of the tourney ball fall.  He came back to play two events, but wasn't released to pitch.  We are going to try and put another few events in so he can get back on the mound and shake off some rust. 

 

We've started the research for the USA bat that is the least piece of $hit.  We have gone through many since the change.  2018 he had the Easton Ghost X.  Hit with it once, and said he'd never hit with it again.  I hit some ground balls with it, and agreed.  What a flaming f*cking turd that thing was.  He ended up with the Mizuno Ghost (confusing), and really liked it.  Cracked it during All-Stars and I was able to get him a USA Demarini CF Zen that he really liked to finish the tourney.  2019 he got the Demarini CF Zen in USA version.  He liked it at first, but it seemed to lose all it's pop quickly.  He cracked it eventually, and finished the year with a Louisville Prime USA.  that was his favorite USA bat to date.  He needs a 32 now so we need to get a new one.  I am totally gun shy on this, but reviews on the latest Easton 360 are really good.  Seems they have a new composite material, new handle, new connection, etc.  They also make it in drop 11 which could help swing speed with these terrible bats.  The Demarini CF seems to be the same as last year, but with new paint.  The Lousiville Prime will again likely be a great bat.  Marucci is making a USA version of their CAT which may be good too.  It does seem that the metal bats perform as well as the composites at half the cost.  Maybe it's time to just accept in the USA space there is no discernable advantage to the composites as they all suck.  This is my son's 12U season for Little League.  My coaching career is coming to an end very soon.  Hard to believe.  It has gone by so fast.  

Edited by pepper brooks

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20 minutes ago, pepper brooks said:

This is my son's 12U season for Little League.  My coaching career is coming to an end very soon.

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Oaks Dad's Club, represent. Chuy is back for his second year of spring tee-ball. He's put in a lot of work since last spring season, he made the "all-star team" and played in a couple of tournaments over the summer - one at ODC which they got second and another in Waller that was actually more of a coach-pitch tourney. He did fairly well in it having not hit much live pitching his first of playing. We played fall ball at ODC and went 8-0; much better experience than my first time around coaching.  

This will be his last year of teeball before moving onto coach pitch, but has really made some great strides with his swing. I'm biased but he has a really good swing for a 6 year old. We practice at least twice a week. I asked him yesterday what he wanted to work on - defense or offense - and he told me baserunning. One thing ODC does is allow up to 4 "contract" players, which means they don't have to go into the draft and are automatically on a team, usually a pre-determined team ahead of the start of the season. Not entirely sure how i feel about that having been on both side of the spectrum - last year I went into the year with 0 players (got our asses kicked) and this year I will go into spring with 4 contracted, 6 year olds (4-6 y/o is division). Good for my team but maybe not good for overall learning experience for the kids. 

anyway, looking forward to it overall. i know Chuy really likes playing and has made a lot of good friends in playing ball. i'm doing everything i can to stay with him as he grows and learns more. pepper brooks' comment about his coaching career ending soon is why i want to spend as much time with him as possible. i already dread the day I won't be his "coach".

fucking baseball, man. it's the best. 

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Coached in League Ball this Fall and went Unbeaten but had a pretty stacked team.  It was our first year in Coach Pitch..  I get to bring back 3 from that team.. Question is what do you guys feel is the single most important thing at that age level? As long as a kid makes decent contact I'm a believer that speed trumps all. Curious yall's thoughts and also what positions do you play your top 3 kids?

 

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granted my age group is 4-6 year olds, but for me, it;s ability to make consistent contact. way too young to worry about driving the ball outta the park, but never too young to have an nice fluid swing. i position my top 3-4 kids at 3b, SS, pitcher position, and 1st, at my level most kids are going to be hitting in that general area and if i good up the middle/pull side (for righties), my 1st baseman can just worry about catching the ball, blocking it. for lefties I can shift over my SS behind the pitcher to cover for my 2B. 

Edited by Mez2

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pepper, does your son really need a -11 bat if he's big enough to need a 32 inch? Seems weird to me. Bat speed is well and good but at some point you are sacrificing exit velocity by using such a light bat. If your kid can swing properly then I really doubt a 32/21 is the right bat for him. 

And if he's using -10 and -11 that could also explain the lack of pop and cracking. 

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1 hour ago, Huckleberry said:

pepper, does your son really need a -11 bat if he's big enough to need a 32 inch? Seems weird to me. Bat speed is well and good but at some point you are sacrificing exit velocity by using such a light bat. If your kid can swing properly then I really doubt a 32/21 is the right bat for him. 

And if he's using -10 and -11 that could also explain the lack of pop and cracking. 

He does not NEED a -11.  In tourney ball he swings a -5.  However, the theory is since these USA bats are total shit sticks going with a -11 should increase swing speed thus adding some pop to the otherwise dead face of the bat.  But no, he is a strong kid and does not need -11.  it's merely a strategic thing.  He also has a -3 wooden bat he sometimes uses in USA play.  

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Right, that's what I figured. But a -11 and a -5 bat of the same model are not going to result in the same exit velocity at the same swing speed, even if they have the exact same COR. And since your kid is able to swing a -3 bat properly, it's possible he loses more exit velocity from bat mass than he gains from bat speed.

My son recently went through a growth spurt that jacked his mechanics all up. Typical for his age his limbs are too long for his body right now and he was getting frustrated. His swing was all out of sync and disconnected for a while, but while we were working on that I was able to show him at a nearby cage that while his bat speed was faster with the -10 his exit velocity was faster with the -5. He doesn't swing the -10 faster enough to make up for the 5 ounce difference.

Obviously every swing is different so it may work for your kid, just kind of throwing it out on the thread for discussion. I just finished up my first season as a head coach and 3 hitters on our team got instantly better as soon as they stopped using -11 bats that were too small for them and started using -8 (2 of them) or -5 (the other one, big strong but inexperienced kid with mechanics still a work in progress). They were still able to square up the ball with their normal swing mechanics but their line drives were now landing in the outfield instead of where infielders could frequently catch them.

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Kid cracked his 15th tournament bat Thursday night at his lesson. Found a replacment at budget that would work. First pitch at the tournament today he hits one a mile into the lake out at the scrap yard.  Good day for him today.  

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On 12/6/2019 at 2:37 PM, Huckleberry said:

Right, that's what I figured. But a -11 and a -5 bat of the same model are not going to result in the same exit velocity at the same swing speed, even if they have the exact same COR. And since your kid is able to swing a -3 bat properly, it's possible he loses more exit velocity from bat mass than he gains from bat speed.

My son recently went through a growth spurt that jacked his mechanics all up. Typical for his age his limbs are too long for his body right now and he was getting frustrated. His swing was all out of sync and disconnected for a while, but while we were working on that I was able to show him at a nearby cage that while his bat speed was faster with the -10 his exit velocity was faster with the -5. He doesn't swing the -10 faster enough to make up for the 5 ounce difference.

Obviously every swing is different so it may work for your kid, just kind of throwing it out on the thread for discussion. I just finished up my first season as a head coach and 3 hitters on our team got instantly better as soon as they stopped using -11 bats that were too small for them and started using -8 (2 of them) or -5 (the other one, big strong but inexperienced kid with mechanics still a work in progress). They were still able to square up the ball with their normal swing mechanics but their line drives were now landing in the outfield instead of where infielders could frequently catch them.

I was always a believer in lower drop > high drop with the exception of the kids that genuinely struggled with heavier bats. Although with most kids it was usually an issue with mechanics than strength. A lot of people mistake bat drag for weakness and think getting a higher drop bat is the answer.

 

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9 hours ago, F250 said:

I was always a believer in lower drop > high drop with the exception of the kids that genuinely struggled with heavier bats. Although with most kids it was usually an issue with mechanics than strength. A lot of people mistake bat drag for weakness and think getting a higher drop bat is the answer.

 

generally I agree.  he hits -5 in tourney ball since he kept demolishing -10 and -8 CF Zens every couple of months.  We have tried the lower drop USA bats and the higher drop ones.  He has generally liked the lower drop ones for whatever reason in the USA platform.  we will give this a shot.  He's only hit it a few times since we have been trying to fit in a few tournaments.  So far he likes it.  If he ends up not like this Easton I will like just get him a -8 aluminum/alloy and call it a day.  There seems to be no good answer in the USA bat space to date.  

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My boy has played tourney ball with his grade, which is a year up for him (he’s aged 8u but plays 9u). Our 9u team struggled but he subbed for an 8u team and they won a one day tournament going 4-0. Got the “gold” ring and he played well. Lotta fun compared to the 9u competition.

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Had an awesome time in the Fall doing our first foray into select ball.

Had my 9 year old on a 9U team coached by our hitting instructor. Ups and downs, but it was a great experience. He learned a ton with his first year of kid pitch and open bases. Played 1B, backup catcher, and pitched quite a bit with a lot of success.

Had my 7 year old on an 8U team that I coached. Coach pitch is a blast, and we had a ton of success. Towards the end, the coach of our 9U team asked my 7 year old to join that team as well. He did that too, so he got a crash course in kid pitch and open bases. He played in 2 tournaments including getting to pitch this past weekend. Went 2 innings giving up 1 run and striking out 5 in his debut. Only real issue is that he's used to playing middle infield, but with this older team he's usually playing LF or sitting on the bench. He also bats last. He's handled it great, and I'm sure he feels cool playing with these older kids and having some success. Kids all treated him great, which I'm sure it helped having his older brother on the same team to stick up for him.

Going to have both kids play in the local little league for the first time this Spring along with playing periodic tournaments with our 9U select team. Older one will be a young minors player, and the younger one will be pee wee. They do machine pitch at that pee wee level. So, he'll be doing both kid pitch with the select team and machine pitch with little league. He's a good fielder, so I hope he can get an infield spot and get a lot of fielding work in this league. I'm assuming there's a lot of offense with machine pitch but not many outfield hits with the USA bats. 

I need to start researching bats for both. We've never used USA bats before.  

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On 12/6/2019 at 11:41 AM, joeycovers said:

Coached in League Ball this Fall and went Unbeaten but had a pretty stacked team.  It was our first year in Coach Pitch..  I get to bring back 3 from that team.. Question is what do you guys feel is the single most important thing at that age level? As long as a kid makes decent contact I'm a believer that speed trumps all. Curious yall's thoughts and also what positions do you play your top 3 kids?

 

Most important thing at that level is having a first baseman that can catch. You put your best players at 1B, P, and SS.  

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5 hours ago, PappyVanVinceYoung said:

Most important thing at that level is having a first baseman that can catch. You put your best players at 1B, P, and SS.  

This. And depending on league rules, if base stealing is allowed, a kid that can play catcher. Our league drew a white circle behind the catcher, if the ball went passed it, a runner could steal. We had two kids that knew how to correctly block as a catcher and we never gave up "steals". It made a huge difference as we were able to send our runners at will to the next base.

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4 hours ago, joeycovers said:

Anyone else here have kids that play in Pony? We did All Stars over the Summer and curious others experience. 

No but I in my humble opinion, PONY league is superior to Little League. If anyone has the choice between PONY and Little League they should choose PONY*.

 

*Assuming that the local PONY league isn't a dumpster fire.

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10 hours ago, F250 said:

No but I in my humble opinion, PONY league is superior to Little League. If anyone has the choice between PONY and Little League they should choose PONY*.

 

*Assuming that the local PONY league isn't a dumpster fire.

Agree. But because ESPN is partners with LL they get more exposure and money but Pony is better baseball. 

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I got to see TD Ameritrade stadium in Omaha last week. Damn, that place is awesome. One of my little league all star teams was a game away from going when I was a kid. All I could think about was how awesome it would have been to play at a place like that growing up. 

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42 minutes ago, PappyVanVinceYoung said:

What are the main differences between Pony and Little League? 

Pony is based on MLB Rules. 

Leading Off

Base Stealing

Kids Pitch sooner (I think)

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45 minutes ago, joeycovers said:

Pony is based on MLB Rules. 

Leading Off

Base Stealing

Kids Pitch sooner (I think)

Plus the field dimensions progress appropriately with the age of the players. Little League uses a 46/60 diamond for their 12U which is what PONY uses for their 10U. Little League Intermediate (13U) uses 50/70 when they should already be on a 54/80 if not a 60/90 field.

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Christmas morning and my 10 year old has his own catching gear now. He’s ready to dominate.

 

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He’ll get a lot of practice with wild pitches at the park when I’m the one winding up.

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On 12/26/2019 at 2:07 PM, troph said:

That was from last season at a practice, I got him an Easton set.

Cool. My son who is currently a senior in high school bounced between Easton, Mizuno and All Star gear as a catcher. Finally stayed with All Star for high school ball. I have a son who is a Freshman in HS and his been catching since Little League too. I don't think there is a more expensive position. Especially when they get to high school and the coach is moving them between catcher, 3rd and center field throughout the season.

 

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By the way. If your kid is a catcher get a quality cup and wrist guards. NuttyBuddy cups are really good for catchers.

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Have the cup but not wrist guards. Wasn’t aware. Thinking of some camps but he’s not that dedicated. For now it’s videos and then take him to the park and teach him. Pitching some too, but he’s got more talent for catching I think.

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22 hours ago, troph said:

Have the cup but not wrist guards. Wasn’t aware. Thinking of some camps but he’s not that dedicated. For now it’s videos and then take him to the park and teach him. Pitching some too, but he’s got more talent for catching I think.

The wrist guard will come in handy once the player is blocking regularly and the pitchers start picking up speed.

I think I mentioned this before but the New England Catching Camp material is excellent for catching instruction. Just study the material yourself and then teach it. When he is ready, get him to one of these NECC camps.

https://www.catchingcamp.com/

 

Edited by F250

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Try outs for our league are this weekend and it looks like rain.  Back to the bat discussion for a moment, the -11 Easton ADV is a pretty sweet bat, and the kiddo really likes it, but it's simply too light for him although that will come in handy when he sees a 60+ from 46 feet.  He's also carrying the 2020 Louisville "Select" in -8 set up.  That one feels very balanced, and has the metal barrel with composite handle so he can hit it when it's cold without cracking it like the composites.  

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We're going through the bat thing now as my son is playing actual Little League for the first time this spring. Gonna get a mix, as you're right that from 46 feet and with the wide variation in pitcher velocities it can make a difference. A -5 will be his standard bat then a -8 when necessary. Don't think I'll get him anything lighter than that.

I still regret taking a -11 up to the plate against our league's hardest thrower when I was 12 years old. Hit an absolute bomb but pulled it 5 or 10 feet foul. Should have had my regular -6 (the old 2-1/8" diameter Easton 32/26) up there. Stupid little kid.

So now you know where my lifelong mission not to let kids swing bats that are too light for them started.

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Tryouts are a week from this Saturday. My daughter will be playing softball this season, previously she was playing machine pitch baseball. No more Little League baseball for dad. I still have high school baseball but that really isn't the same.

Kind of glad to be leaving baseball though. There are always those overly competitive parents in baseball who thrive off of their kids being better than everyone else. Something I noticed was those people really don't like it when a girl out performs their son and just really suck to be around.

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On 1/10/2020 at 11:51 AM, F250 said:

Tryouts are a week from this Saturday. My daughter will be playing softball this season, previously she was playing machine pitch baseball. No more Little League baseball for dad. I still have high school baseball but that really isn't the same.

Kind of glad to be leaving baseball though. There are always those overly competitive parents in baseball who thrive off of their kids being better than everyone else. Something I noticed was those people really don't like it when a girl out performs their son and just really suck to be around.

my son's 10U year we had a girl play baseball in our league.  she also had two mom's.  I drafted her onto my team simply because I knew no one would give them any shit, and the girl could play.  She had a game winning hit against the 1 seed in our playoffs that year, and it was about the coolest thing ever.  Fun times.  

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my son's 10U year we had a girl play baseball in our league.  she also had two mom's.  I drafted her onto my team simply because I knew no one would give them any shit, and the girl could play.  She had a game winning hit against the 1 seed in our playoffs that year, and it was about the coolest thing ever.  Fun times.  

That’s bad ass. Good on you!

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