Different Types Of Pitchers In Baseball – SP, RP, & CP?

Learning about the different types of pitchers in baseball can help you in many ways. 

It’s because every pitcher plays an important role in the overall game, and knowing about the different kinds of pitchers in baseball will largely contribute to team success. Meanwhile, knowing about the types of pitchers will also help you to understand how to face each pitcher. 

So, let’s reveal the secret. 

What Are the Different Kinds of Pitchers in Baseball?

There are different types of pitchers in baseball. 

For example, starting, power, relief, reliever, closer, and many others. Knowing about all these types of pitchers will not only help you to gain knowledge but also to execute a better strategy. 

Below is the complete breakdown of types of pitchers dominating the baseball. 

1- Starting Pitchers (SP):

One of the most popular type of pitchers in baseball is starting pitchers which is also known as starters. And as the name suggests, they are the starters and first pitchers of the game that’s why they play an important role in winning or losing a game. 

Major League Baseball, or MLB, has not stated any specific number for how many pitchers a starter can make.

So, it totally depends on the team coach to replace the starting pitchers or not. However, if starting pitchers don’t show enough capabilities and have poor performance, they can be replaced with any other type of pitcher – usually relief. 

Pitching 9 innings a game is definitely hard and not suitable in the modern era. Still, starting pitchers can make 5 to 6 innings per start. 

Additionally, they can be both right or left-handed; there is no restriction.   

Following are the sub-types of starting pitchers.

Power Pitchers:

Power pitchers usually rely on fastballs in a baseball sport. They throw at the speed of 100 miles per hour. That’s why it’s often difficult for a player to handle such speed. 

A power pitcher is selected only on the basis of its arm speed and throwing. And for a more effective fastball, they usually try to throw off speed.

Due to these capabilities, the team also pay more to a power pitcher. 

Additionally, they don’t take much rest compared to other pitchers and will continuously play their strong part all over the game. 

Control Pitchers:

Control pitchers have more control over their pitch. That’s why they are known as accurate pitchers who can easily outsmart the better. 

Their main goal is to pitch by focusing on accuracy and changing the speed effectively. 

Additionally, the movements of control pitchers are much more reliable and effective compared to any other types of pitchers in baseball. 

Finesse Pitchers:

Finesse pitchers are the same as control pictures. However, don’t play a major role in the game like power or starting pitchers. 

There main goal is to help the team in a better output. It’s because finesse is not the fastball pitcher but has the greater capabilities to adjust the speed depending on pitch movement. 

Just like starting pitchers, MLB also hasn’t confirmed the number of innings of a finesse pitcher. So, the manager can choose the number of innings, but it usually stays between 1 and 2. 

2- Relief Pitchers (RP):

After the stating pitchers, the most important role in the game is played by relief pitchers. They are often used by the coach right after starting pitchers. That’s why they are also considered the opponent’s offence. 

The main goal of relief pitchers is to spend their time effectively in the bullpen and contribute to the team lead. They usually act as a guard against starting pitchers when they are not performing well. 

The coaches can use relief pitchers for a limited number of innings such as 1 or 2. However, it totally depends on game conditions and the managers when they will be used. 

Additionally, they throw harder than starters and can be both right or left-handed; there is no restriction. 

Following are the sub-types of relief pitchers.

Long Reliever:

Long relievers are the backups of starting pitchers – in case they do not perform well or get injured. 

It’s because their pitching style is usually the same as that of starters. That’s why, whenever the coach feels like the starter is not performing well or gets unexpectedly injured, they introduce a long reliever to the game.

They are specialised to play in the middle of the game and to throw multiple pitchers in an innings. 

Due to the common similarities between the starter and long reliever styles, most people consider them the same, which is not true. 

One of the major differences is that relief pitchers usually play 1 or 2 innings. That’s why I have low stamina. On the contrary, starting pitchers are capable of playing longer innings. 

Middle Reliever Pitchers:

As the name suggests, they are middle relievers, so they can take charge anywhere in the middle of the game. That’s why, they play in between the 5th to 7th innings. However, it’s not fixed.

Their main goal is to try to hold the score of an inning and cover the gap between starting and closing pitchers.

Additionally, this is a minor pitcher that doesn’t have any large impact on the game. Still, depending on the number of pitches in the game, they can also act as a long reliever for the coaches.

Set-Up Pitchers:

Once the middle reliever is done with their inning, they will hand the ball to the Set-up pitcher. 

They are known as set-up men because of their act to protect the game before handing over the game to closing pitchers. 

In other words, set-up pitchers act as a bridge to cover the gap between a middle reliever and a closer. That’s why they are usually introduced in the 8th or 9th inning of the game, where they only pitch for 1 or 2 innings.


Swingman is the most flexible pitcher in the game. Whether the coach wants him to start the game or act as a long relief, the swingman is capable of doing it effectively. 

As their main role is not defined, that’s why the team selected a swingman based on his capabilities to stay in the game without losing energy. 

However, MLG has limited the number of how many innings a swingman can play. But, still, it’s not defined and needs to be clarified.


LOOGY stands for Lefty One-Out Guy pitchers. They are also known as lefty specialists. 

As the name suggests, they ball with their left hand. Their main goal is to handle the left-handed hitters. 

Additionally, LOOGY pitchers are used in the game during crucial situations as they are considered the master of it.

They are capable of playing the entire game without losing their energy and throwing skills. 

3- Closing Pitchers (CP):

They are also known as Closing pitchers or CP. The main objective of such pitchers is to ensure the win in the game.

Usually, the opponent team can make a comeback at the end of the game. That’s where the closing pitchers ensure they couldn’t make a big score. Anyhow, they play an important role in winning a game. 

Due to these reasons, closing pitchers usually have an excellent command of high-velocity pitches and a higher capability to handle the pressure. 

They throw in high speed, and in case a closer gets injured, they can easily be replaced with another closer in the game. However, they usually throw only in a few innings as compared to others.

Final Thoughts:

To conclude, a good combination of each type of pitcher is necessary to dominate the game. 

That’s why a team coach or manager must be capable of making a good combination out of these three major kinds of pitchers, usually known as SP, RP, and CP. 

As we have stated a comprehensive and detailed guide on each type of pitcher in baseball, we are hopeful that you have got a clear understanding of each. 

Still, if you have any more queries, do write in the comment section. 

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