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Great article.Are you familiar with <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=87075">Perry Husband</a></span>'s(hittingisaguess.com) work in this area?
How do you store momentum? Once you stop or slow down you lose momentum.You can momentarily store energy that will enhance your speed of movement if you properly utilize the stretch shortening cycle, but storing momentum is not part of that process.
You mention collapsing the rear leg. Probably need to define that better because a high % of the hardest throwers in baseball have significant flex in their rear leg. Chapman is a good example of that.
Finally the pitchers that are most consistent are the ones that can execute a pitch when they are not in sync, not the ones that are consistently in sync.Too many muscle fibers & nerve endings involved to think that their signatures are going to be consistent.
KISS Keep it simple SMART.Get hitter's out with their strength especially if it's the pitcher's strength. Keep it inside the hitter's swing zone but outside his solid contact zone. <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=204">Albert Pujols</a></span> is a generational fastball hitter but 50% of his outs are on fastballs.
Why isn't the 4 man outfield used(especially with the shift)? For no doubles situations w/o runners on base vs. pull side <span class="statdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/glossary/index.php?search=GB" onmouseover="doTooltip(event, jpfl_getStat('GB'))" onmouseout="hideTip()">GB</span></a> guys who live in the air.
Great article. IMO from on the field observations, pitchers can & should sport 2 change ups. A -7 to -10mph contact change & a -12 to -15mph swing & miss change. The best pitch ability types are always adding & subtracting with their fastball so there is no reason that they can't do it with their change as well. It just involves grip adjustments(usually deeper & softer to slow the ball down)& throwing the top inside part of the ball to create more depth(Y axis movement.
There are a lot of pitches identified as change ups (especially those that have less speed differentials, have higher velocities & greater depth)that are probably splits & the pitchers refer to them as split changes. My guess is that those probably have lower spin rates.
Finally it seems that the lesser velo pitchers need more speed spreads & more depth to get swings & misses.
Not very scientific but seems like that is what is going on in games.
Great service to the catching community. Greatly heightens people's awareness.
The #'s certainly quantify & present some sense of objectivity to the wild pitch/passed ball outcomes for catchers, but it doesn't tell the entire story.
Just like more strikes are called balls before balls are called strikes,more passed balls are called wild pitches than wild pitches are called passed balls.A big part of the catcher's job is to prevent runners from advancing 90'
(Blocking balls in the dirt & controlling the running game.)Just because the ball is in the dirt does not mean that it is a wild pitch. Catchers are EXPECTED to block many of those pitches & keep them close enough so that runners are not able to advance.(Good point previously re: Butler vs. Gore running)I think that catchers need to be evaluated on every ball in the dirt relative to the speed of the pitch & the distance it hits relative to the catcher(Front & side). I realize that this is a tedious endeavor, but we are only talking about 10 pitches on average per game per catcher. One thing that muddies the waters is the fastball in the dirt.The perception in today's game is that you can't block fastballs in the dirt & that you have to pick them.(Hard to accept)In many of those cases you are evaluating pickers & not blockers. IMO,& where it gets somewhat subjective, if the catcher tries to pick,what you think is a blockable fastball, then it becomes a mis-block.
Sorry to get away from the gory math but I'm not sure the #'s really indicate how good a blocker the catcher is.Maybe we need a new stat,blocking %.(% of blockable pitches blocked based on speed & distance to remove some of the subjectivity.)
I know this wasn't the point of the article,but the one thing that does not show up in his numbers is his make up. I had the privilege to recruit & coach Casey at Cal Poly SLO,& he is one of the most physically & mentally tough guys that you'll ever meet. He competes with a chip on his shoulder. Never gives in. He was always having to prove the naysayers wrong. This trait can't be over valued.
<a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/author/jeff_moore">Jeff Moore</a> is way off. Have seen <span class="playerdef"><a href="http://www.baseballprospectus.com/card/card.php?id=69615">Raimel Tapia</a></span> in 400+ plate appearances & he rarely top spins a ball to the pull side. + bat lag & one of the better eye hand guys you'll see. Lacks mass but is really strong.
I use Right View Pro,Dartfish & Bats depending on what I'm looking at. I am measuring the maxim the back leg flexion with 180 degrees being straight.
The KC guys are in the 100-110 range(Collins110 Hochevar101 Holland105 Crow110 & ++ starting arm Herrera128)Chapman is 96 & vertical loaders Ryan96 & Clemens 100 later in their careers.Kershaw sits to 99 degrees.
Regarding swings & misses it not only correlates to vertical loading but also to pitching up in the zone.According to Ken Kendrena @ Inside Edge, the swing & miss % on balls up is 11% & only 4% on balls down. Look at the following stats on fastballs up vs. fastballs down.UP .216/.331/.344 DOWN .283/.384/409.Highest exit speeds speeds recorded & most hom e runs are recorded on balls down.
We have created a generation of low ball hitters. They don't adapt well to the ball up,plus umpires are calling the rule book strike zone & call more balls up in the zone strikes.The vertical loaders see to throw more fastballs up that have less downhill plane.That also opens the door for shorter,especially shorter right handed, pitchers to be successful.The elevated fastball overlaps & conceals the breaking ball which creates pitch recognition & timing issues.(Another for of deception) As you know Perry Husband has done a lot of research in that area.
Spin rate also comes into play here. The guys with higher spin rates on their fastballs(Uehara) seem to get by with lesser velo. Certainly his secondary stuff plays into the mix.
That sit to pitch/drop & drive style seems be a teaching focus for the Royals.Collins,Hochevar,Holland,& Crow all approach 100 degrees of flexion in their rear leg.Seems like many of the top relievers(Uhehara,Rosenthal,Chapman,Holland & Janssen)+ many guys who get a high % of swings & misses all vertically load to pitch.Maybe more deception because there is less downhill plane than hitters are used to seeing?
Great take. I am guessing higher spin rates will be meaningful in following analysis. Are you familiar with Perry Husband & his work on effective velocity? If not,worth checking out.
Based on a video that cannot be viewed frame by frame, Hughes certainly seems to have delivery tempo/momentum but doesn't his arm recoil & short arc of deceleration concern you? Looks like a recipe for future posterior chain issues.
My take was & still is that we spend too much time coaching/verbalizing mechanics. Certainly we have to coach mechanics, but we need to find the "sweet spot" & find a way to make mechanical adjustments without being so cognitive.I've seen way too many sides where there is a tweak after every pitch & the size & depth of info is suffocating.For me, create a goal(drill environment) to accomplish the desired fix & let the pitcher figure it out.The best lessons are self taught.The coach/teacher is nothing more than "guide rails" to keep the athlete moving in the right direction.Truth be told, there is more than one pitcher who would say,if he could,"just be quiet & let me figure this thing out." Again you have to find the "sweet spot" relative to each pitcher & his needs at that time.
As far as balance is concerned, it's dynamic & is all centered around the most efficient means of applying force at the time of release.(Keep in mind that repeating mechanics is a VERY tough gig.They can't repeat their signatures no matter how much time you give them)
I'm in total agreement on the momentum issue with the one caveat being that the more momentum that you can carry through your delivery relative to body control,the better.
The how of executing a pitch is giving the pitcher a well defined goal & see how he organizes his body to accomplish that goal.If it doesn't play out, then maybe you need better more defined goals. Creativity plays a huge role in this process.
In teaching/coaching "specificity" is the #1 most important element in the process.If a large % of the preparation is not specific to the actual game then the outcome will be in question. In times of stress(which occurs numerous times in games), athletes refer back to their point of focus.In pitching,if too much focus is on mechanics then that is they will revert to.the result of mechanical adjustments during games is not good for most pitchers. I'd rather it be making pitches/adjustments(location adjustments) when stressed. I think that gives you the best chance to have a positive outcome.
Really like your work.
If you really want people to see what you are talking about,it would be helpful to post your videos in slow motion if possible.
Also mechanics are very individualized & what are termed "good mechanics" are only good for that individual pitcher. You want to find an individual player's good mechanics,chain back from a pitch that he executes well. That will tell you what HIS good mechanics are. IMO, in general pitchers spend too much time working on mechanics & not enough time making pitches. The game is 100% about making pitches. Well executed pitches produce the right mechanics for that pitcher.
Just attempting this is a great start. Our game has become so much more quantifiable than most of us ever thought. This will only serve to heighten people's awareness,both fans & on field personnel.Totally agree with Harry's thoughts on improving the process.Maybe make it more interactive relative to the viewers.Force them to be first guessers instead of second guessers. Give them a feel for all the variables in the dugout decision making process. It's usually not as clear cut as bunt or hit in a particular situation.(i.e ground ball hitter & ground ball pitcher,past history,etc)
Downhill plane is a function of pitching down in the strike zone. My guess is there are a lot of pitchers with lower release heights that have more angle to the plate than Collmenter who is basically a high fastball pitcher.IMO the greater the angle, the harder it is to create a swing path to match the pitch path & the harder it is to predict where the pitch is going to go through the hitting zone.
Good article because it heightens the awareness for the catcher's value/role in making sure that strikes are called strikes.Obviously the residual value of good framing is an occasional ball is called a strike(7% in ML)What comes to light for me is the subjective nature of your exercise in determining good & bad frames.For example the 5 worst frames you noted:
#5 Rosario-That pitch missed its target by 20+ inches + it was cutting.Arm side fastballs are are expected to run or sink or at worst be straight(4 seamers)The fact that he even caught it should be lauded.
#4 Navarro got crossed up & was expecting a breaking ball. Bad framing? Please!!
#3 Yadie caught a big miss much like Rosario without the extreme cut.Blame the pitcher not the catcher.
#2 Saltalamacchia was clearing the LHH to create a throwing lane because the runner was stealing. The priority here was the runner not the pitch. You can't do both.
#1 Navarro is penalized by a bad miss by his pitcher. Big lateral running fastball instead of a sinker.He had to move his head to track the ball because it was so far away from his visual cylinder.
As far as the top framers are concerned:
#5 Holaday-Way too much glove movement for me.
#4 Ramos-Too much head movement & body slide.
#3 A non frame by Ross because he thought it was a ball.
#2 Martin-Lots of body slide & head movement.Do like the extension & minimal glove action.
#1 Navarro-Pretty good.Maybe a little too much glove action after the catch.
The examples of good framing that stand out were Zunino on 4/11 & 4/18 & Grandal on 4/4.The thumb roll on 4/4 is especially good. The one commonality on these frames is that the pitchers hit their targets.
The point of this diatribe is that good or bad framing is subjective. Strikes get called for many reasons. Certainly one of them is how good a technician the catcher is.