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May 23, 2014 6:00 am

Raising Aces: Going Vertical


Doug Thorburn

Adventures in extreme pitcher release points.

Downhill plane carries substantial weight in the pitcher evaluation game. Poor marks in that area carry repercussions ranging from diminished prospect status to bullpen assignments conceived in order to limit the exposure of a perceived weakness. The driver of downhill plane is the height of the baseball at the pitcher’s release point, an element influenced by various mechanical techniques and tendencies. On the surface, it seems obvious that a player's height would be a major determinant of his vertical release, and while there’s something to that relationship, multiple variables are at play, and physical height is merely a piece of the equation.

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September 13, 2013 9:12 am

Raising Aces: What's the Point?


Doug Thorburn

A look at the release points of several pitchers who release the ball consistently, inconsistently, and from unusual angles.

The ability for a pitcher to repeat his release point is at the heart of pitch command. Timing plays the most critical role in generating an ideal release point, but the physical position of a player's arm slot is another variable in the equation. In general, those pitchers with the best command are able to repeat both the vertical and horizontal position at which the baseball leaves the hand, while those players with more volatile release points will suffer the statistical consequences.

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