CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

Baseball Prospectus home
  
  
Click here to log in Click here for forgotten password Click here to subscribe

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Overthinking It: The L... (06/14)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Raising Aces: Changing... (06/07)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Raising Aces: The Cain... (06/21)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: A Week... (06/14)

June 14, 2013

Raising Aces

In Need of Repair: Posture

by Doug Thorburn


Much of the analysis in the Raising Aces series has focused on player evaluation, particularly identifying the mechanical strengths and weaknesses of professional pitchers. Breaking down a pitcher's delivery is an essential task for coaches who wish to get the most out of their hurlers, but having an eye for mechanics is just the starting point for player development. The real work begins after a diagnosis has been made, as a pitching coach is entrusted to train his charges to make the improvements necessary to optimize performance. In acknowledgment of this critical stage of the process, it seems appropriate to switch gears and re-focus our efforts toward the how as opposed to the what by offering some suggestions to address weak links in the kinetic chain.

A few disclaimers before we begin: when dealing with coaching tips in written form, much can be lost in translation between the digital page and the field. The proper application of strategic teaching methods requires recognition of several variables, and as we will see in the following examples, there are multiple ways for mechanics to fall off track. I encourage those who are in a coaching position to take notes, but also to appreciate that the methods herein are neither exhaustive nor necessarily ideal, depending on the specifics of an individual player.

With that out of the way, let's move on to one of the basic tenets of pitching mechanics that can be improved with targeted instruction: posture.

Ideally, a pitcher will maintain balance throughout the delivery by stabilizing his head above his center-of-mass, including an upright spine angle from foot strike into release point. But when spine-tilt comes into play, it acts to inhibit a pitcher's release distance as well as to create a barrier to pitch repetition. Pitchers with unstable posture will give opposing hitters a better look at the baseball by lengthening its flight path, and the lack of consistency triggers a ripple effect on pitch command.

Posture can be influenced by a multitude of factors, including deficits in functional strength, increases in kinetic energy, and direct manipulation in the effort to produce an elevated arm slot. Today we will examine each of these three factors, using specific player examples to diagnose the symptoms while offering prescriptions for improvement.

Diagnosis: Deficits in Functional Strength
Player Example: Ubaldo Jimenez
In one of my first articles for Baseball Prospectus, I broke down the changes in the mechanics of Ubaldo Jimenez from his days in a Rockies uniform to his time in Cleveland. One of the glaring differences was in his posture, as a pitcher who exhibited minimal spine-tilt while in purple pinstripes gave way to a destabilized posture while with the Indians.

Ubaldo 2010 Ubaldo 2012

The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.

Not a subscriber?

Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.


Cancel anytime.


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!


That's a 33% savings over the monthly price!

Already a subscriber? Click here and use the blue login bar to log in.

Related Content:  Pitching,  Scouting,  Mechanics,  Posture

2 comments have been left for this article.

<< Previous Article
Premium Article Overthinking It: The L... (06/14)
<< Previous Column
Premium Article Raising Aces: Changing... (06/07)
Next Column >>
Premium Article Raising Aces: The Cain... (06/21)
Next Article >>
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: A Week... (06/14)

RECENTLY AT BASEBALL PROSPECTUS
Fantasy Article Free Agent Watch: Week Three
The Call-Up: George Springer
Premium Article Minor League Update: Games of Wednesday, Apr...
Premium Article Pebble Hunting: Every Manager's Face: The Ne...
Premium Article What You Need to Know: Cueto in Control
Premium Article What Scouts Are Saying: April 17, 2014
Premium Article Notes from the Field: Carolina League Notes ...

MORE FROM JUNE 14, 2013
Premium Article What You Need to Know: A Royal Rotation Surp...
Premium Article Perfect Game Presents: College World Series ...
Premium Article The Prospectus Hit List: Friday, June 14
Premium Article Transaction Analysis: Another Year of Chien-...
Fantasy Mailbag: Getting the Big Fish
Premium Article Daily Roundup: Around the League: June 14, 2...
Fantasy Article Fantasy Starting Pitcher Planner: Week 12

MORE BY DOUG THORBURN
2013-06-28 - Premium Article Raising Aces: A Look at Rooks Gerrit Cole an...
2013-06-25 - TINSTAAPP: TINSTAAPP Episode 7: Bumgarner v....
2013-06-21 - Premium Article Raising Aces: The Cain Madness and a Trouble...
2013-06-14 - Premium Article Raising Aces: In Need of Repair: Posture
2013-06-09 - TINSTAAPP: TINSTAAPP Episode 6: Sanchez v. B...
2013-06-07 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Changing Gears
2013-05-31 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Splitting the Platoon: Lefty-p...
More...

MORE RAISING ACES
2013-07-03 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Stuffing the Ballot: Reliever ...
2013-06-28 - Premium Article Raising Aces: A Look at Rooks Gerrit Cole an...
2013-06-21 - Premium Article Raising Aces: The Cain Madness and a Trouble...
2013-06-14 - Premium Article Raising Aces: In Need of Repair: Posture
2013-06-07 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Changing Gears
2013-05-31 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Splitting the Platoon: Lefty-p...
2013-05-30 - Premium Article Raising Aces: Kevin Gausman, the Debut Ante
More...