I was watching a 13U youth tournament a couple weekends ago and noticed the catcher for one of the teams was setting up on the outside corner every pitch. I wasn’t sure if this was just the catcher’s choice or if the coach had instructed his pitcher and catcher to throw on the outside corner all game. I asked the parent I was sitting next to and he said the coach wanted the guys hitting the outside part of the plate. While it’s generally a good strategy to set up on the corners of the plate, I don’t advocate throwing a lot of outside fastballs all too often at this age (unless the pitcher is throwing rockets).
Having coached tons of 13U hitters, I know the tendencies these kids have offensively. I know the most common swing mistakes, and consequently, what pitches they have a hard time hitting. One of the most common hitting mistakes for kids who are under 13 is to cast their hands away from their body and essentially sweep through the strike zone. This of course causes a massive hole on the INSIDE part of the plate. Think about it for a second. If hitters cast their hands away from their body, they won’t be able to touch that inside fastball. Instead, they will have the most success on the pitches that are on the OUTSIDE part of the plate. If the pitcher isn’t throwing all that hard, it’s easy for a kid with poor mechanics to sweep across the zone and crush a ball on the outside part of the plate.
So, if your pitchers don’t have a lot of junk or the ability to change speeds as of yet, they will have more success on the inside part of the plate. Once hitters get some good mechanics training and figure things out, the game will then change. But, as long as kids have hitting mechanical flaws like casting their hands, the entire inside part of the plate creates easy outs for your pitchers.