Baseball Pitcher Types

baseball types of pitchers

Pitchers are one of the most valued positional groups in baseball. There are several different classifications of pitchers, depending on what their role is in the lineup. Pitchers are typically classified by how long they are expected to pitch in a game and during what situations they pitch. Read on to learn more about the different types of pitchers in baseball.

Baseball Types of Pitchers

The main types of pitchers in baseball are:

Starting Pitcher

Baseball Starting Pitcher

Starting pitchers, also known as “starters,” are often the best and most important pitchers on a team. They are in charge of pitching at the start of the game and will usually play anywhere from five to seven innings. As these pitchers can throw around 80 to 100 pitches per game, they are placed in a rotation that has a total of either five or six starting pitchers. This is to endure that starters aren’t pitching too frequently and exhausting their arms.


Relief Pitchers

Baseball Relief Pitcher

Relief pitchers, also called “relievers,” are pitchers who are brought in once the starter leaves the game. They usually only pitch for one inning, sometimes even less. In most cases, multiple relievers are used in a single game. Teams often carry around five relievers.

Relievers often are put in the games for different scenarios. Long relievers are pitchers who are brought in to pitch multiple innings, typically due to the starter leaving early for injury or poor performance. Middle relievers will usually only pitch for one inning and are often brought in to face batters of the same handedness or simply try and hold the score for an inning.

Lefty Specialists

Lefty specialists are a unique type of pitcher that both throw left-handed and are particularly strong against certain types of batters. For example, many lefty specialists are put on the mound when a weak right-handed batter is at the plate. Lefty specialists are typically only used in special situations, and do not take the mound for more than one or two batters.


Setup Pitchers

A setup pitcher, also known as the setup man, is a pitcher that typically pitches right before the closer. Setup pitchers typically pitch in the seventh or eighth inning, as the closer will usually take the mound in the ninth inning. Setup pitchers are similar to closers and middle relievers, as they typically only pitch for an inning or two.


baseball closer

A closer is the relief pitcher who closes out or throws the final pitch of the game for their team when the score is close. Despite the fact that closers usually are only responsible for one inning of work, they are heavily relied-upon. A closer will earn a “save” when they enter the game and record a win by pitching the final out when their team was down, tied, or up by one to three runs. In most cases, the closer will not come into the game unless it's a very close game. With that said, you do not have to be a “closer” to throw the final pitch. During a blowout, when the game is out of reach for the offensive team, any of the defensive team’s pitchers can record the final out.



What types of pitchers are there in baseball?

The main types of pitchers in baseball are starters, middle relievers, long relievers, lefty specialists, setup pitchers, and closers. Starting pitchers start and play the majority of the game. Relief pitchers come in to relieve the starter, typically around the fifth inning. Left specialists are unique left-handed pitchers who are particularly strong against right-handed batters that are weak against left-handed pitchers. Setup pitchers come in the game after relievers, typically in the eighth inning. Closing pitchers close out the game in the eighth or ninth inning.