Doug trains his lens on deliveries weird, unwieldy, and wackadoodle.
The typical focus here at Raising Aces is mechanical efficiency, analyzing how a pitcher makes the most of his athleticism to promote pitch command, velocity, and movement. Every once in a while, though, I like to delve into the realm of the weird. Today is one of those times.
Even at the highest level, there are a number of pitchers who exhibit bizarre quirks to their mechanics. Some of these oddities are merely an entertaining sidebar to an otherwise efficient delivery, serving as an amusing anecdote without deterring from the pitcher's task at hand, while other quirks throw a monkey wrench into the delivery and interfere with the basic task of throwing a baseball to a glove-sized target. That said, some of the best pitchers in the game have idiosyncrasies that appear to fly in the face of mechanical efficiency, yet they have overcome the physical obstacles to get the most out of their stuff.
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The trade deadline has passed so we can all focus on the field again.
The Thursday Takeaway
There’s nothing like a replay controversy to stir up a day that needed no further stirring.
Setting the stage: The Marlins were up by one—on a first-inning bomb by Giancarlo Stanton—when the Reds loaded the bases with one away in the top of the eighth. Todd Frazier hit a fly ball to right. Stanton caught it and threw home. He appeared to have the runner, Zack Cozart, dead to rights at the plate for an inning-ending double play.
The boys see a futbol game on a baseball field, and a baseball game on a baseball field, and a baseball game on a futb--no, just the first two.
Return to Yankee Stadium by Jordan Shusterman
This ridiculous week in New York began at Yankee Stadium. It was a Yankees/Blue Jays game in which Shane Greene was the starting pitcher for the Yankees and Dan Johnson was the designated hitter for the Blue Jays. On Wednesday night, we returned to Yankee Stadium to see a non-baseball game in which neither Shane Greene nor Dan Johnson was participating (as far as we know). Two English Premier League powerhouses, Manchester City and Liverpool, played a friendly in front of nearly 50,000 people. After 90 minutes of stomping around Jeter’s hallowed ground, the two footballing squads were in a 2-2 tie, at which point the majority of us were ready to not be there anymore. Soccer friendlies are meant to be just that—friendly! A tie means everybody wins! Everybody can be friends! Apparently, these two teams had no intention of being friendly. Thus, they went straight to penalty kicks. No extra innings or anything. Penalty kicks are amazing because they don’t score every time. The first two attempts from both teams sailed over the goal and into the left field seats, just beyond Brett Gardner’s reach. Liverpool eventually scored enough goals to be declared the winner, although they did not seem to celebrate accordingly. It was eerily reminiscent the celebration after a spring training walk-off hit, where the winning team casually jogs over to the hero and pats him on the back. Meanwhile, the predominantly-Liverpool crowd was going absolutely crazy. It was strange. If there’s one thing I learned from the frantic futbol frenzy at Yankee Stadium, it’s that Derek Jeter was the greatest baseball player who ever lived. #RE2PECT
How does the shocking trade of Nomar Garciaparra look 10 years in the rear-view?
Ten years later, the trade that allegedly won the Red Sox the 2004 World Series has been drowned in so much narrative that it’s almost impossible to separate it from the breaking of the 86-year drought that happened three months later.
When 4 p.m. Eastern rolls around today and the fates of Jon Lester and the like are decided, it will mark exactly 10 years to the hour since Nomar Garciaparra was unceremoniously dumped on the Cubs. He was a year removed from a second straight 7-WARP season and a sixth 6-WARP season in seven years. He was already the best shortstop in Red Sox history and he didn't have to play a single game in his 30s to get there.
The last full day before the trade deadline featured walk-off drama, pitchers dueling, and more
The Wednesday Takeaway
Fans who bought tickets to last night’s scheduled battle between Felix Hernandez and Corey Kluber were greeted by a Progressive Field setting that should have been considered a pitching aficionado’s paradise. King Felix entered the night on a stretch so dominant that he was on the verge of setting a modern MLB record. Armed with an arsenal of nasty secondary pitches, Kluber has broken through this season as a bona fide ace and was a start removed from the most impressive outing of his career.
The stage for pitching mastery was perfect and the duel proved to live up to expectations.
What's more likely, a five-homer game or a five-strikeout inning? Gory math!
On Wednesday's episode of Effectively Wild, sponsored by the Baseball Reference Play Index and featuring BP's own Editor-in-Chief Sam Miller and some other guy who now works for Disney and is therefore dead to us, a listener asked one of those questions that means nothing in the grand scheme of things, but... can't... resist... answering.
Notes on prospects who stood out yesterday, including Roman Quinn, Justin Nicolino, Jed Bradley, and Kyle Schwarber.
Hitter of the Night
Danny Diekroeger, 3B, Cardinals (State College, SS): 2-5, 4 R, HR, BB. You may not know this about the update but there is a legacy at stake here. That's why when #Mort texts me at night to tell me about a player, he's (the player, not Mort) almost certain to make the update and is someone you should watch.