CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

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

Futures Guide 2014 is Now Available in Paperback and Three E-book Formats.

Premium and Super Premium Subscribers Get a 20% Discount at MLB.tv!

Articles Tagged Mechanics 

Search BP Articles

All Blogs (including podcasts)

Active Columns

Authors

Article Types

Archives

07-12

comment icon

5

Raising Aces: How the Mighty Have Fallen
by
Doug Thorburn

06-28

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: A Look at Rooks Gerrit Cole and Zack Wheeler
by
Doug Thorburn

06-14

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: In Need of Repair: Posture
by
Doug Thorburn

06-07

comment icon

6

Raising Aces: Changing Gears
by
Doug Thorburn

05-31

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: Splitting the Platoon: Lefty-philic Pitchers
by
Doug Thorburn

05-31

comment icon

0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 214: B.J. Upton and Fixing Mechanical Flaws/Scouting and the International Draft
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

05-30

comment icon

2

TINSTAAPP: Episode 5: Miller vs. Kershaw
by
Paul Sporer and Doug Thorburn

05-30

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: Kevin Gausman, the Debut Ante
by
Doug Thorburn

05-29

comment icon

23

Pebble Hunting: A Week of Watching Eric Hosmer
by
Sam Miller

05-24

comment icon

3

Raising Aces: Splitting the Platoon: Lefty-Phobic Pitchers
by
Doug Thorburn

05-23

comment icon

5

Overthinking It: The Incredible New Neal Cotts
by
Ben Lindbergh

05-17

comment icon

12

Raising Aces: Stuffing the Ballot, First Quarter
by
Doug Thorburn

05-10

comment icon

3

Raising Aces: Extending the Process
by
Doug Thorburn

05-03

comment icon

29

Raising Aces: Time to Unwind
by
Doug Thorburn

04-30

comment icon

20

Raising Aces: There's Something About Farrell
by
Doug Thorburn

04-26

comment icon

4

Raising Aces: Throwdown: Mat Latos vs. Jeff Samardzija
by
Doug Thorburn

04-24

comment icon

3

Raising Aces: Now Pitching, Bryce Harper
by
Doug Thorburn

04-19

comment icon

5

Raising Aces: Trending: National Grade
by
Doug Thorburn

04-12

comment icon

9

Raising Aces: Jose Fernandez, the Debut Ante
by
Doug Thorburn

04-05

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: Four of a Kind: Setting the Tone
by
Doug Thorburn

03-29

comment icon

13

Raising Aces: Against the Grain
by
Doug Thorburn

03-15

comment icon

15

Raising Aces: Trending: Over the Top
by
Doug Thorburn

03-08

comment icon

22

Raising Aces: Under the Gun
by
Doug Thorburn

02-01

comment icon

11

Raising Aces: Bush League: Jameson Taillon and Taijuan Walker
by
Doug Thorburn

01-25

comment icon

6

Raising Aces: Revisiting the Good Old Days
by
Doug Thorburn

01-18

comment icon

13

Raising Aces: Then and Now: Giology
by
Doug Thorburn

01-11

comment icon

15

Raising Aces: The Good Old Days: Roger Clemens
by
Doug Thorburn

01-04

comment icon

4

Raising Aces: Then and Now: It's Good to Be the King
by
Doug Thorburn

12-28

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: The Ghost of Articles Past
by
Doug Thorburn

12-21

comment icon

4

Raising Aces: Making the Grade, Part Two
by
Doug Thorburn

12-14

comment icon

22

Raising Aces: The Good Old Days: Greg Maddux
by
Doug Thorburn

12-07

comment icon

27

Raising Aces: Making the Grade, Part One
by
Doug Thorburn

11-16

comment icon

15

Raising Aces: Bush League: Shelby Miller and Trevor Rosenthal
by
Doug Thorburn

11-09

comment icon

8

Raising Aces: The Good Old Days: Pedro Martinez
by
Doug Thorburn

11-07

comment icon

0

BP Daily Podcast: Effectively Wild Episode 78: Quantifying Coaches/Why Some Fielders Look Better Than They Are/How Do We Know What Pitchers Should Weigh?
by
Ben Lindbergh and Sam Miller

11-02

comment icon

15

Raising Aces: The Good Old Days: Randy Johnson
by
Doug Thorburn

10-26

comment icon

23

Raising Aces: Pitchology, Final Exam
by
Doug Thorburn

10-19

comment icon

4

Raising Aces: Bush League: The Power of Bauer
by
Doug Thorburn

10-12

comment icon

8

Raising Aces: Bush League: Gerrit Cole and Danny Hultzen
by
Doug Thorburn

10-05

comment icon

5

Raising Aces: For Those About to Watch (We Salute You)
by
Doug Thorburn

10-02

comment icon

1

Baseball ProGUESTus: The Ever-Changing Mechanics of Carl Crawford
by
Chad Moriyama

09-28

comment icon

7

Raising Aces: Four of a Kind: Diagnosing Disappointment
by
Doug Thorburn

09-21

comment icon

7

Raising Aces: Four of a Kind: High-K Closers
by
Doug Thorburn

09-12

comment icon

2

Pebble Hunting: The Mysterious Resurgence of Ervin Santana
by
Sam Miller

09-08

comment icon

2

Overthinking It: The Mechanical Flaw Fixers
by
Ben Lindbergh

09-07

comment icon

16

Raising Aces: The Ace-Time Continuum
by
Doug Thorburn

08-31

comment icon

16

Raising Aces: Four of a Kind: Oakland's Aces
by
Doug Thorburn

08-24

comment icon

15

Raising Aces: Throwdown: Clayton Kershaw vs. Madison Bumgarner
by
Doug Thorburn

08-17

comment icon

6

Raising Aces: Draft Day Deliveries, Part Three
by
Doug Thorburn

08-16

comment icon

18

Prospect Profile: Michael Ynoa
by
Hudson Belinsky

<< Previous Tag Entries Next Tag Entries >>

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

May 10, 2013 5:03 am

Raising Aces: Extending the Process

3

Doug Thorburn

Pitching mechanics can have an impact even after the ball is put in play.

Much of statistical analysis in baseball involves the study of outcomes. Hits, walks, strikeouts—these are the results of what an athlete accomplishes on the field. The focus of scouting and coaching, by contrast, is on process.

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.

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

May 3, 2013 9:00 am

Raising Aces: Time to Unwind

29

Doug Thorburn

Why historical changes in pitching mechanics haven't always led to improvement.

The pitching delivery has evolved throughout the history of Major League Baseball. There are elements of old-school pitching mechanics that are now artifacts of a bygone era, and though one would expect the modern iteration of pitching instruction to have greatly progressed over time, there are some ways in which the pitchers of today have regressed compared to their predecessors. A few of these topics have been covered in previous editions of Raising Aces, such as the modern-day emphasis on angles and deception that has resulted in over-the-top arm slots and closed stride patterns.

The windup is a fundamental component of the pitching delivery, one so basic that its utility in the game is never questioned, yet it serves as a classic example of the ever-changing practices of the pitching-industrial complex. Pitcher windups have morphed over the past 70 years, and what was once a series of movements has been simplified to the current model, which basically involves a side-step and pivot, essentially putting the pitcher in the stretch position at the time that he initiates the lift phase of his motion.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

Examining the mechanical changes that have driven the success of Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, and the Red Sox.

One of the biggest stories of the first month of the 2013 season has been the incredible turnaround of the Boston Red Sox. The team went from a near-lock for the postseason in September of 2011 to the victims of one of history's greatest collapses, and the disaster carried over to 2012. The Sox were a .500 team in April of last season, and were still three games over at the end of June. However, Boston would go 28-56 over the rest of the campaign, winning just one-third of their remaining games in a brutal crash that was catalyzed by bad blood in the clubhouse and the fire sale of August 25th, in which the Red Sox flipped a quarter-billion dollars worth of contracts in a salary-dump that sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, and Josh Beckett to Los Angeles.

General Manager Ben Cherington made a splash in free agency, signing a handful of players to revamp the roster, but the general outlook for this season was bleak. Preseason predictions by the BP staff placed Boston fourth in the AL East this year, but the team and the city have become a symbol for triumph in the wake of tragedy. Going into play on Tuesday, the Sox have the best record in the game at 18-7, and their run differential of +40 also leads the majors.

Read the full article...

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

April 26, 2013 5:00 am

Raising Aces: Throwdown: Mat Latos vs. Jeff Samardzija

4

Doug Thorburn

Dissecting Wednesday's 1-0 duel.

Midwest baseball fans were treated to an NL Central showdown on Wednesday, as the Cubs and the Reds squared off at Great American Ballpark with their aces on the mound. Mat Latos has been a reliable top-of-the-rotation arm for the Reds ever since his arrival via trade with the Padres in the offseason of 2011-12, and he has assumed the top spot in the Cincy rotation with Johnny Cueto currently on the shelf. The Cubbies countered with Jeff Samardzija, whose 2012 breakout has carried over to this season and who entered Wednesday's contest with the third-highest strikeout percentage in the National League (among starting pitchers).

The pitching prodigies did not disappoint. After a 90-minute rain delay, the two right-handers traded scoreless frames until the Reds broke through with a solo homer by Todd Frazier in the bottom of the sixth. When the dust cleared on the duel, that lone run would stand as the difference in a 1-0 Reds victory. Both players performed exceedingly well, yet a very different approach was at the foundation of each pitcher's success.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

Position players and pitching mechanics.

Bryce Harper's supernatural baseball gifts have been evident since before he could drive. Today he’s a 20-year-old super-freak who is slugging over .700 in the majors. His rare combination of competitive intensity, Las Vegas moxie, and otherworldly talent has set the stage for a legendary baseball career as the next lightning rod in the game. His raw power grades out as a pure 80 on the scouting ledger, and though such elite marks are extraordinarily rare, the legit five-tool player also has a throwing arm that ranks at the top of the 20-80 scale.

Read the full article...

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

April 19, 2013 5:00 am

Raising Aces: Trending: National Grade

5

Doug Thorburn

What role have mechanics played in the Nationals' strong starting staff?

The ingredients of success for a Major League Baseball team are rooted in scouting and player development, where carefully-crafted strategies dictate the growth patterns of in-house talent. Converting draft picks into major-league production is the engine of a successful franchise in today's game, and the pressure to develop players through the organizational pipeline has intensified due to the league-wide trend for teams to lock down homegrown talent for the long term.

The new-age baseball market features a thin free agent pool, which places additional emphasis on player evaluation, as teams assess trade targets and identify the select free agents whose flaws are perceived to be correctable. Pitching mechanics can play a major role in a team's approach to the acquisition and development of players, whether through the draft, free agency, or trade. As we saw in last month's breakdown of the mechanical trends of the Rays and Brewers, the on-field habits of a big-league staff can provide a window through which to glimpse an organizational approach to pitching.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

April 12, 2013 6:58 am

Raising Aces: Jose Fernandez, the Debut Ante

9

Doug Thorburn

Doug's review of the rookie's mechanics in his promising opening outing.

A number of rookie pitchers toed the rubber last weekend. Trevor Bauer continued his personal battles with mechanical consistency  on his way to walking seven Rays (including the first four he faced), while Julio Teheran continued to struggle with his curveball. Shelby Miller had a successful introduction to 2013, building on his excellent showing down the stretch last season, though his heavy reliance on the fastball raises familiar questions as he gets deep into games.

The aforementioned pitchers had each entered spring training with a chance to win a spot in the rotation for their respective reams, and each player had already been exposed to the bright lights of the majors, but the most impressive rookie on display last weekend was a 20-year-old with zero experience above high-A who shocked the baseball world with his massive leap to the majors. Jose Fernandez made his major-league debut for the Marlins on Sunday, pitching in Miami less than two years after he had been selected in the first round of the 2011 draft out of a Florida high school. Fernandez stepped onto the field as the second-youngest player in a major-league uniform (that Bryce Harper guy is younger).

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

April 5, 2013 5:00 am

Raising Aces: Four of a Kind: Setting the Tone

2

Doug Thorburn

Four top-tier starters get off to strong starts.

Results in the first week of the season can be volatile, especially on the mound, where many pitchers are still getting themselves into game shape. It is common to see velocities that are lower than peak, a higher frequency of mistimed deliveries, and strict pitch-count limitations as teams ease their aces into the new season.

This opening week was gratifying for those fantasy managers who invested in top-tier pitching on draft day, with a plethora of shutdown performances coming from the top-ranked players on the mound. The near-perfection of Yu Darvish was expertly covered by the Baseball Prospectus team earlier this week, and though his stat line was certainly aided by his facing the American League's weakest lineup, the performance was a positive indicator that Darvish's late-season success of 2012 will carry over into this season. 

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

Eight starters who combine top-flight results with suspect mechanics.

One of the coolest parts of this job is the interaction with the readers of Baseball Prospectus, who consistently drive the discussion with in-depth questions and insightful observations. Half of my articles have been inspired by reader comments, and I greatly appreciate the creative spark provided by the BP audience. One of the most frequent questions that I receive relates to good pitchers with poor mechanics, and though a basic tenet of pitching is that the best pitchers have excellent mechanics, occasionally there are players who find success in spite of an inefficient delivery.

When a top-flight pitcher has a major flaw in his delivery, the player typically compensates for the deficiency with plus grades elsewhere on his mechanics report card. For example, a pitcher with heavy torque might struggle to maintain posture during the high-energy phases of the delivery, and the extra zip that results on his fastball can serve to cover for the corresponding shortcoming in pitch command. Occasionally, a pitcher will find success despite a laundry list of mechanical flaws, but these pitchers are fighting an uphill battle to succeed at the highest level of competition.

Read the full article...

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

March 15, 2013 6:30 am

Raising Aces: Trending: Over the Top

15

Doug Thorburn

Comparing the rotations of the Rays and Brewers reveals two organizations with drastically different philosophies about pitching mechanics.

I wrote an article last September in which I detailed the surprising pitching of the Oakland Athletics. The piece included a breakdown of four different A's pitchers, and I noted that many of the players shared specific similarities which reflected an organizational trend toward mechanical efficiency. The A's have a long history of successful pitching development, and the team's mechanical points of emphasis were apparent by looking at the tendencies of the players whom they had developed and/or acquired over the years.

I spent much of the offseason poring over pitcher mechanics and preparing over 100 mechanical report cards for the pitchers in the 2013 Starting Pitcher Guide in my first year working with Paul Sporer on his annual project. I had already watched the majority of these pitchers in the past, spread out over months or sometimes years, but the examination of so many pitchers over such a short timeframe revealed a number of other patterns that cropped up with pitchers from certain organizations.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

Which pitchers have lost velocity over the past few seasons, and why?

In last week's episode of Raising Aces, we looked at those pitchers who have increased fastball velocity over the last three seasons. The article was inspired by the general tendency for pitchers to lose velocity as they age, and with this premise in mind, I decided to flip the switch and go digging for those pitchers who have lost some speed over the past three years.

For the purposes of this analysis, I chose to utilize the same threshold as with the pitchers who were over the radar: to qualify for the study, a starting pitcher had to have thrown at least 500 fastballs (or sinkers in select cases) in both the 2012 and 2011 seasons, and the average velocity of those pitches in 2012 had to be at least 0.50 mph lower than in each of the previous two seasons. The purpose of these boundaries is to capture a sustained loss in velocity across multiple seasons.

Read the full article...

This is a BP Premium article. To read it, sign up for Premium today!

February 1, 2013 5:00 am

Raising Aces: Bush League: Jameson Taillon and Taijuan Walker

11

Doug Thorburn

Sofa-scouting the mechanics of two high-profile pitching prospects.

In the first edition of Bush League, I discussed the viability of sofa-scouting high-level prospects by scouring the archives of MiLB.tv (for a modest subscription price). I also noted the advantages when evaluating pitchers as compared to position players, given the additional off-camera variables that exist for scouting hitting and defense, along with the caveat that pitchers can have volatile mechanics during their development years. The subjects of the original piece included the top two picks from the 2011 draft, Gerrit Cole and Danny Hultzen, and today we’ll take a look at another Pirate-Mariner combination of high-end pitching prospects.

Jameson Taillon and Taijuan Walker were both high-school products of the 2010 draft. Taillon was selected at number two overall by the Pirates, behind top pick Bryce Harper, and Walker was chosen 41 picks later by the Mariners during the supplemental round. I reviewed both pitchers back in July with a brief study of their back-to-back one-inning stints in the Futures Game, and the early returns were impressive. The mechanics of minor-league players are fickle and a pitcher might show different looks on any given day, especially when making a rare relief appearance in a nationally-televised showcase, so the offseason presents a great opportunity to take a deeper look into the performances of these two high-profile prospects.

The remainder of this post cannot be viewed at this subscription level. Please click here to subscribe.

<< Previous Tag Entries Next Tag Entries >>