Bringin’ Some Sidearm Cheese—Pat Neshek
As many of you may know, I have a special place in my heart for sidearmers and submariners.
Here’s one of my favorite sidearmers, Pat Neshek, of the Minnesota Twins. Unusual in many ways, especially because he’s one of the few sidearmers that can bring it…. I mean REALLY bring it.
For those of you who have never seen Neshek’s delivery, you’re in for a treat.
I could watch this clip over and over and over and it would still amaze me.
How do you come up with a delivery like this?
QUICK CAPSULE REVIEW OF HIS DELIVERY
He doesn’t exactly follow the “book” on what you’re supposed to do mechanically. No kidding.
1) He doesn’t keep his posture well. Notice how his torso is up, then he bends down like he’s going WAY low, and then pops back up and delivers completely sidearm.
2) Doesn’t exactly close his hips up does he? No leg kick either.
3) His elbow ends up a little lower than his shoulder. Also note the unusual finish. I cut out the final few frames (I shouldn’t have), but when you see him pitch next time, notice the Shooter McGavin finger point at the end of his delivery. It’s hilarious and intimidating at the same time.
How does he throw so hard?
There’s a few things that he does REALLY well.
1) He maintains a quick tempo. Once he gets going forward, he really picks up speed on the way to release.
2) Here’s where I think the real magic happens. Prepare to be amazed by this next clip…..
Call it scap loading, call it hyperflexing, call it whatever you want. I’d like the moderator of this website and former college teammate of Neshek’s, Jeff Albert (aka Marcus Giles 2) to comment on Neshek’s range of motion. I froze the video on frame 5 to illustrate this point where it seems his elbows are about to touch behind his back. WOW, just WOW.
The horizontal loading of the arm (the scap load) is a major component of Neshek’s exceptional arm speed.
3) The other thing he does surprisingly well is that he firms up his front side on his way to release. Some more video….
As a general rule, sidearmers tend to open up (their front shoulder) a little sooner than conventional pitchers. I highlighted frame 3 on the above clip because that’s when Neshek seems to start firming up his front side so that he doesn’t “spin out.” As a matter of fact, his glove and elbow move into his body on the few frames before release. IIRC, Tom House used to call that “narrowing the cone of projection.”
Neshek firms up his glove, and then really brings his torso into his glove instead of yanking his glove into his hip. Excellent, especially for a sidearmer.
What about injury issues? I just don’t know. If injury issues are difficult to predict on conventional pitchers, then it is even more difficult to predict unorthodox pitchers. However, I think that Neshek will remain durable for some time. Although quite different, he does some things that tell me that he’ll remain durable and effective. However, even if I’m wrong about his durability, aren’t pitchers like this just fun to watch? It is then our duty as baseball fans to enjoy watching them while they last.
Of course, questions/comments/job offers are always appreciated. Also, if anyone can find a still pic of Shooter Neshek that would be great.
Posted: April 10, 2007 at 04:23 AM | 27 comment(s)