CSS Button No Image Css3Menu.com

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

Happy Holidays! Regularly Scheduled Articles Will Resume Monday, December 29

Articles Tagged Mechanics 

Search BP Articles

All Blogs (including podcasts)

Active Columns

Authors

Article Types

Archives

07-11

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: Breakout Breakdown: Corey Kluber and Garrett Richards
by
Doug Thorburn

06-27

comment icon

4

Raising Aces: Houston, We Have Lift-Off
by
Doug Thorburn

06-20

comment icon

6

Raising Aces: A Tale of Two Aces
by
Doug Thorburn

06-13

comment icon

1

Raising Aces: Under the Hood of the 2014 Draft, Part Three
by
Doug Thorburn

06-06

comment icon

0

Raising Aces: Under the Hood of the 2014 Draft, Part Two
by
Doug Thorburn

05-30

comment icon

4

Raising Aces: Under the Hood of the 2014 Draft, Part One
by
Doug Thorburn

05-09

comment icon

4

Raising Aces: Making Setup Man Magic
by
Doug Thorburn

05-02

comment icon

7

Raising Aces: Too Early to Worry?
by
Doug Thorburn

04-18

comment icon

5

Raising Aces: Masahiro Tanaka, the Debut Ante
by
Doug Thorburn

04-15

comment icon

7

Going Yard: How Carlos Gomez Got His Groove
by
Ryan Parker

04-11

comment icon

11

Raising Aces: Starting Pitcher Four-Pack
by
Doug Thorburn

04-04

comment icon

1

Raising Aces: The Aces of Opening Day
by
Doug Thorburn

03-31

comment icon

9

Going Yard: The Violence of Bryce Harper's Swing
by
Ryan Parker

03-28

comment icon

10

Raising Aces: Out on a Limb: 2014 Pitcher Predictions
by
Doug Thorburn

03-21

comment icon

3

Raising Aces: Bush League: Eddie Butler, Tyler Glasnow, and Alex Meyer
by
Doug Thorburn

03-17

comment icon

7

Going Yard: The Power in Javier Baez's Swing
by
Ryan Parker

03-14

comment icon

7

Raising Aces: Bush League: Jonathan Gray
by
Doug Thorburn

03-13

comment icon

0

TINSTAAPP: TINSTAAP Episode 19: Prospects, Prospects, Prospects!!!
by
Paul Sporer and Doug Thorburn

03-07

comment icon

9

Raising Aces: Over the Radar 2.0
by
Doug Thorburn

03-03

comment icon

17

Raising Aces: Under the Gun 2.0
by
Doug Thorburn

02-28

comment icon

1

Raising Aces: Bush League: Andrew Heaney
by
Doug Thorburn

02-21

comment icon

3

Raising Aces: Organizational Trends: Looking for Mechanical Hallmarks
by
Doug Thorburn

02-12

comment icon

4

BP Unfiltered: T-Mac's Mechanics
by
Doug Thorburn

02-07

comment icon

5

Raising Aces: Bush League: Archie Bradley
by
Doug Thorburn

01-24

comment icon

19

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Fade to Black and White
by
Doug Thorburn

01-17

comment icon

9

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Hall of Fame Inductees 1980-89
by
Doug Thorburn

01-10

comment icon

9

Raising Aces: Classic Deliveries: Hall of Fame Inductees of 1990-94
by
Doug Thorburn

01-03

comment icon

9

Raising Aces: The Good Old Days: Nolan Ryan
by
Doug Thorburn

12-27

comment icon

19

Raising Aces: Examining Masahiro Tanaka's Mechanics
by
Doug Thorburn

12-20

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: Bush League: Julio Urias
by
Doug Thorburn

12-13

comment icon

3

Raising Aces: Bush League: Jameson Taillon
by
Doug Thorburn

11-15

comment icon

18

Raising Aces: Bush League: Noah Syndergaard
by
Doug Thorburn

11-08

comment icon

11

Raising Aces: Great Pitchers, Flawed Mechanics
by
Doug Thorburn

11-01

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: Bush League: Kyle Zimmer
by
Doug Thorburn

09-10

comment icon

7

Overthinking It: Is Ubaldo Back?
by
Ben Lindbergh

09-06

comment icon

4

Raising Aces: Taijuan Walker, the Debut Ante
by
Doug Thorburn

08-30

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: A Closer Look at Relievers
by
Doug Thorburn

08-23

comment icon

2

Raising Aces: The RP-Funk All-Stars
by
Doug Thorburn

08-16

comment icon

1

Raising Aces: Elevator Action
by
Doug Thorburn

08-09

comment icon

5

Raising Aces: What Happened to Liriano and Masterson?
by
Doug Thorburn

07-19

comment icon

4

Raising Aces: Back to the Futures Game, 2013
by
Doug Thorburn

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

<< Previous Tag Entries Next Tag Entries >>

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

August 30, 2013 8:38 am

Raising Aces: A Closer Look at Relievers

2

Doug Thorburn

Mechanical analysis of three of the AL's dominant closers.

Relief pitchers have been in vogue lately, whether carving out air time on TINSTAAPP or funking up Raising Aces. The RP-Funk All-Stars may have all hailed from the senior circuit, but some of the most impressive performances of the season have come from the American League. Ninth-inning relievers have been dominating hitters and shortening games all across the AL, as no fewer than five different closers entered Thursday's action with an ERA under 2.00. Although he falls just short of inclusion to that particular club this season, we start the show with none other than the greatest stopper of all time.

(all stats through 8/28/13, PITCHf/x stats are courtesy of BrooksBaseball.net)

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!

August 23, 2013 7:17 am

Raising Aces: The RP-Funk All-Stars

2

Doug Thorburn

A close look at four relievers who benefit from funky mechanics.

Starting pitchers tend to receive most of the attention devoted to pitchers, both in Raising Aces and within the general community of baseball evaluators. Yet some of the most intriguing pitchers in the major leagues hail from the bullpen. Starters tend to adhere to a prototypical build designed for stamina, but relief pitchers come in all shapes and sizes, often earning their roles as a direct result of the perception that they cannot withstand the rigors of a 200-inning season or a seven-inning appearance.

There are a multitude of reasons why a pitcher might be assigned to relief work, including body type, pitch selection, and/or mechanical trends. When it comes to mechanics, a pitcher with a funky delivery can be sent to the pen just as quickly as one whose motion is perceived as dangerous. These attributes can be intertwined, as the same elements that make a delivery look goofy can also present the risk of injury. Other times, a pitcher's mechanical approach is geared toward deception, creating strategic angles that are designed to exploit platoon splits or to exaggerate downhill plane.

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!

August 16, 2013 12:43 pm

Raising Aces: Elevator Action

1

Doug Thorburn

Chronicling the ugly things that can happen to baseballs when pitchers struggle to repeat their timing.

There’s a mantra that echoes constantly throughout the halls of Raising Aces: timing is everything.

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!

August 9, 2013 6:29 am

Raising Aces: What Happened to Liriano and Masterson?

5

Doug Thorburn

Examining the stuff and mechanics of two pitchers who've taken steps forward in 2013.

Last week's edition of Raising Aces examined the stuff and mechanics of CC Sabathia and Josh Johnson—a couple of typically great pitchers who have fallen on hard times—in an effort to explain their struggles. This week we flip the script, studying a pair of pitchers who have greatly exceeded expectations in 2013 to find out whether each pitcher's success is sustainable. Under the microscope today: Francisco Liriano and Justin Masterson, both of whom could conceivably headline playoff rotations this fall.

Francisco Liriano
Liriano has been an enigma throughout his career. As a 22-year-old, the left-hander garnered comps to Minnesota teammate Johan Santana, recording 177 strikeouts against just 39 walks over his first 145 innings in the big leagues. The balloon burst when he underwent Tommy John Surgery following the 2006 season, after which he wasn’t the same. But Liriano has rediscovered his mojo this year, and through 100 frames he is invoking memories of the '06 breakout that originally put him on the national radar.


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!

July 19, 2013 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Back to the Futures Game, 2013

4

Doug Thorburn

BP's pitching guru evaluates the mechanics of some of the minors' best young arms.

The Futures Game has been well-covered by my BP brethren, with a cadre of our brightest minds on hand to witness the event. We have been treated with previews of the rosters for the USA and World teams, eyewitness accounts of the game, a PITCHf/x-based review of the pitchers’ performance, and discussions of the impact that these players will have on rosters both real and fantasy. Unlike my geographically-advantaged colleagues, however, I was unable to attend the game, so I was left to watch virtually through an off-center camera lens from 3000 miles away.

Poor vantage points have never stopped me before, and I can't resist the temptation to evaluate elite prospects with a quick snapshot of their deliveries. Pitchers will often sacrifice mechanics in All-Star exhibitions, dropping the balance elements in order to pump up the power grades and light up radar guns, an element which needs to be considered in conjunction with the natural caveats of a one-inning sample size. That said, there is much to be learned about a pitcher's baseline delivery when his talent is on display in front of a national audience, and a number of Sunday's hurlers left an indelible impression of development.

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!

July 12, 2013 7:06 am

Raising Aces: How the Mighty Have Fallen

5

Doug Thorburn

Can mechanics help explain why Shelby Miller and Hisashi Iwakuma haven't maintained their early-season performance?

A couple of pitchers enjoyed breakout performances during the first two months of the season, only to wake up from the dream once the calendar flipped to June. Our inner statistician can easily wave these trends aside as the inevitable magnetism of regression to the mean, but I’ve found that reality often follows a more intricate path, with much to be learned through the analysis of outlier performances and small sample size.

Let's examine a couple of players who have fallen off from their early-season dominance in search of explanations that go beyond luck. In these cases, the “before” and “after” stats are split based on the arbitrary calendar date of June 1st.

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!

June 28, 2013 7:10 am

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

2

Doug Thorburn

Analyzing the mechanics of two top pitching prospects who've recently arrived in the majors.

Two of the top pitching prospects in the minor leagues made their debuts this month, simultaneously relinquishing their prospect status while announcing their presence to the National League. Let's take a look at the opening acts of Gerrit Cole and Zack Wheeler, a pair of high-end draft picks who share a number of traits on the mound.

Gerrit Cole
Cole entered the season as the highest-rated pitching prospect in all the land, ranking no. 3 on the Baseball Prospectus top 101 prospects list and trailing only position players Jurickson Profar and Oscar Taveras. The lofty perch was par for the course for the right-hander, who was selected with the top pick in the historic pitcher draft of 2011.


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!

June 14, 2013 5:00 am

Raising Aces: In Need of Repair: Posture

2

Doug Thorburn

Taking a closer look at a few mechanical flaws and explaining how they can be corrected.

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.

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!

June 7, 2013 5:00 am

Raising Aces: Changing Gears

6

Doug Thorburn

Cataloguing the different methods pitchers use to generate momentum.

One of the features of TINSTAAPP, the podcast I co-host with Paul Sporer, is what we call “homework,” in which we investigate topics from listener emails through a combination of statistical analysis and video scouting. We also assign homework to one another, and last week's assignment for Paul was of Advanced Placement quality: to study the different “gears” in a pitcher's momentum.

The difficulty factor for evaluating momentum is magnified by the poor viewing angles available on standard television feeds. The center-field camera (or worse, the off-center camera) provides a terrible vantage point for viewing momentum, though it does offer a strategic angle from which to see elements such as dynamic balance and posture at release point. Momentum is best evaluated from a side view, sitting down the first or third baseline, where one can isolate the directional forces that a pitcher puts into his motion.

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

How the pitchers who dominate lefties do it.

In last week's edition of Raising Aces, I covered those pitchers who have been especially vulnerable versus left-handed bats, noting the tendency for pitchers with large splits to share a mechanical trend toward a low arm slot. The list was naturally populated with right-handed pitchers, with the notable exception of Ricky Romero, and one would expect to see the reverse trend this week as we examine the other side of the platoon split and study pitchers who are exceptionally tough on left-handed batters.

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

Ben and Sam discuss B.J. Upton's slump and mechanical flaws, then talk about the impact an international draft would have on scouting.

Read the full article...

Paul and Doug discuss the phenom Shelby Miller and how his 2-pitch arsenal makes for interesting sequencing followed by why superstar Clayton Kershaw wasn't quite himself.

Paul Sporer and Doug Thorburn get into some of the finer points of mechanics, sequencing, and fatigue during the email section while also touching on a handful of prospects before diving into their Game of the Week against of pair of young studs. 

 

Read the full article...

<< Previous Tag Entries Next Tag Entries >>