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Bullpen Mechanics
— A Scout's View

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

If it Ain’t Broke….A video review of Phil Hughes’ Mechanics

Here’s the link to the article at The Hardball Times.

As always, questions/comments/job offers from MLB are welcome. Enjoy…

ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: May 01, 2007 at 11:34 AM | 31 comment(s)
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   1. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: May 01, 2007 at 11:40 AM (#2350812)
I hope you all enjoy...this one took a while to write.
   2. joker24 Posted: May 01, 2007 at 02:07 PM (#2350879)
Ahh the elbow drag. I'd been trying to watch YouTube videos for a long-ass time trying to figure out what looked so weird with his actual throw. Might that actually be a result of a lack of shoulder flexibility?

In any case, I've never understood why minor league pitching coaches like to put their little stamp on every prospect that goes through. You change the best pitching prospect in baseball's arm slot? Why oh why? You are changing the stress on the arm, putting it in places it hasn't been before, all while making someone re-learn how to repeat it sacrificing command. There's just no reason to do that unless #1 you aren't effective at the current one, #2 you are hurting yourself, #3: #1 + you've unknowingly changed it yourself. I think it's safe to say he was effective.

As for drifting through the balance point...that's probably also a decent reason why Lincecum walks so many batters (though he has cut down on them progressively). Not to say that '07 Hughes looks good/better, but if he was really floating through, it would help his command to stay back some. That said, he went too far and even if he hadn't, it isn't worth it to hurt his lower half drive to the degree it has.

But all together, great article. All of these really are the most interesting things I read on the internet. Every time I see one I get excited and can't wait for the next...speaking of, who's up next?
   3. Howie B. Posted: May 01, 2007 at 02:23 PM (#2350892)
I couldn't agree more with Deep Blue. I really look forward to these articles. My favorite thing about them is that I wouldn't be able to see the same things CBW/Carlos sees. But once he points things out they seem so obvious. I think that's the sign of a great writer/instructor.

With Hughes, he's had just the one MLB start now, which I'm sure he was pumped up for. With the extra adrenaline flowing, its possible that he lost his usual mechanics. I'd be interested in seeing how he adjusts over his next few starts before drawing conclusions, and a second Hughes article might be an interesting follow-up.

Tremendous job!
   4. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: May 01, 2007 at 03:01 PM (#2350926)
'd been trying to watch YouTube videos for a long-ass time trying to figure out what looked so weird with his actual throw. Might that actually be a result of a lack of shoulder flexibility?

It could be as well. He doesn't get "back there" as well as other pitchers. When watching him pitch, I kept saying to myself "I want to like Hughes' mechanics (cuz EVERYONE does), but there's...just....something....there."

Maybe it's just aesthetically unpleasing that he opens so early and doesn't get the elbow flex pitchers do.....Ya know why I look at that so much? Cuz, I myself do it and have been doing it for years.

As for drifting through the balance point...that's probably also a decent reason why Lincecum walks so many batters (though he has cut down on them progressively). Not to say that '07 Hughes looks good/better, but if he was really floating through, it would help his command to stay back some.

What I want Hughes to do is work WITH a slight drift and not abandon it. The more he works with it, the better his command gets when practicing that technique. I agree though, there's a difference in "staying back," and "staaaaaaying back."

BTW, I appreciate the comments. Up next, I'm thinking Marshall, Papelbon, Billingsley or a minor leaguer who I've talked mechanics with that I'd like to promote a bit (as soon as he gets his bio to me....LOL). But all that could change....

I'm certainly going to be tracking Hughes' starts to see if this is something that has stuck.
   5. Mike Webber Posted: May 01, 2007 at 03:16 PM (#2350938)
CB - These articles are quickly becoming my favorite thing on BTF or Hard Ball Times or anywhere else you post them.

Thanks for educating me.
   6. joker24 Posted: May 01, 2007 at 03:47 PM (#2350966)
Maybe the whole leg drive/balance thing actually relates back to changing the arm slot. Change the arm slot, lose command...fix command by being more balanced, hurt yourself elsewhere. That quote seems to be that the guy was fixing the results and not the cause but who knows. I dunno.

Just thought of one: Lidge? Dude went from almost a 15 k/9 to more than doubling his opponent OPS. I've heard all sorts of things: opening up too early, falling to the first base side too much, dragging his arm, not staying on top of his slider, Pujolsitis. Brings 98 mph cheese with a nasty slider.............and is just getting shelled.
   7. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: May 01, 2007 at 06:56 PM (#2351125)
Thanks CBW! I learn new things every time you post.

BTW, I appreciate the comments. Up next, I'm thinking Marshall, Papelbon, Billingsley or a minor leaguer who I've talked mechanics with that I'd like to promote a bit (as soon as he gets his bio to me....LOL). But all that could change....?

Rich Hill would be interesting, no?
   8. A triple short of the cycle Posted: May 02, 2007 at 12:29 AM (#2351528)
Ditto, your pitching mechanics articles are great, CBW.
   9. Michiman Posted: May 02, 2007 at 12:55 AM (#2351587)
Just want to let you know that I follow your bullpen mechanics blog every single day. Every night, I check the site for a new pitcher to be dissected. I am currently pitching for a division I college and, as a lefty who doesn't throw very hard, I am learning a great deal from your commentary. Thanks.
   10. Michiman Posted: May 02, 2007 at 12:56 AM (#2351588)
Just want to let you know that I follow your bullpen mechanics blog every single day. Every night, I check the site for a new pitcher to be dissected. I am currently pitching for a division I college and, as a lefty who doesn't throw very hard, I am learning a great deal from your commentary. Thanks.
   11. Michiman Posted: May 02, 2007 at 12:56 AM (#2351592)
Just want to let you know that I follow your bullpen mechanics blog every single day. Every night, I check the site for a new pitcher to be dissected. I am currently pitching for a division I college and, as a lefty who doesn't throw very hard, I am learning a great deal from your commentary. Thanks.
   12. More Indecisive than Lonnie Smith on 2nd... Posted: May 02, 2007 at 01:55 AM (#2351770)
As a sign of how much I'm learning from these, things, my first inclination now is to look at the video and see what *I* think. And sadly my first thought of Hughes was "oh crap, he looks like a tall and fall guy." I'm a Braves fan, so I'm almost obligated to root against the Yankees. But I'm also a former pitcher and the in-law of a AAA guy coming off of surgery, so those two things make me hope that no one gets injured, especially guys like Hughes who didn't even have time to build up strength in the minors.

Other than the T&F thing, the only little detail I picked from '07 PH is that he pitches against his L ankle. notice how it almost pops back up from underneath him, showing how he's stopped some of his leg drive with a shortened stride. I think this might also contribute to his depressed velocity, though the poor mechanics of flying open probably have more to do with that.

Thanks again, CBW...
   13. Scoriano Flitcraft Posted: May 02, 2007 at 02:00 AM (#2351793)
Here in th 6th inning he seems to be doing OK. He looks similar to his first start, maybe just a slight bit more drift, but hard to tell even if I slow-mo on my DVR.

I look forward to CWB's pieces.
   14. Scoriano Flitcraft Posted: May 02, 2007 at 02:14 AM (#2351830)
He just hurt himself--looks like a hammy. WIth a no-no going.
   15. 2 Balls on Clemente Posted: May 02, 2007 at 02:16 AM (#2351837)
nice mechanics
   16. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: May 02, 2007 at 02:47 AM (#2351872)
I was like "Oh no!!" as I saw his grimace. I think some people are taking this article (which doesn't make him look that good) and thinking that I don't want him to succeed. The reverse is true. I hope I'm wrong about him. Like I've said before, he has filthy stuff and excellent command.
It's not JUST mechanics that gets people out.
   17. playingwithfire Posted: May 02, 2007 at 05:33 AM (#2351953)
Hello CBW, Long time reader first time caller....I mean poster...

Either way, always enjoyed your writing. You see so much more into pitching than people like me. Was wondering what you think about Homer Bailey's mechanic, which isn't getting a very good rep right now among fans. Also, I was watching the Dodgers the other day and notice Chin-Hui Tsao's rather unusual mechanic, I swear I've seen 2 other, different delivery than this one before with the Colorado Rockies, was wondering what is your thought of him(if you watched him this season)?
   18. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: May 02, 2007 at 03:35 PM (#2352155)
Other than the T&F thing, the only little detail I picked from '07 PH is that he pitches against his L ankle. notice how it almost pops back up from underneath him, showing how he's stopped some of his leg drive with a shortened stride. I think this might also contribute to his depressed velocity, though the poor mechanics of flying open probably have more to do with that.

Excellent observation....

playingwithfire---

I need to look at Bailey in slow-mo before I make definitive conclusions. I was impressed when I first saw him. Haven't seen Tsao this year yet....hmmm...
   19. playingwithfire Posted: May 02, 2007 at 09:03 PM (#2352514)
Here's a link to see all of Tsao's appearances so far this year, I have a hard time finding good Bailey video on Youtube however :(
   20. playingwithfire Posted: May 02, 2007 at 09:06 PM (#2352521)
http://youtube.com/results?search_type=search_videos&search;_query=曹錦輝&search_sort=video_date_uploaded&search_category=0&page=1
   21. playingwithfire Posted: May 02, 2007 at 09:28 PM (#2352544)
http://youtube.com/results?search_type=search_videos&search;_query=曹錦輝&search_sort=video_date_uploaded&search_category=0
   22. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: May 03, 2007 at 03:58 PM (#2353282)
Ignore this post. I fixed it on the next comment.
   23. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: May 03, 2007 at 04:02 PM (#2353292)
A sneak peek into my follow up article on Hughes....his most recent start vs his mlb debut:

Great consistency
   24. JC in DC Posted: May 03, 2007 at 04:25 PM (#2353309)
CBW:

That link doesn't seem to work, at least not for me.
   25. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: May 03, 2007 at 04:45 PM (#2353330)
Sorry about that. It is fixed.
   26. Roger Cedeno's Spleen Posted: May 04, 2007 at 12:11 AM (#2353778)
Jinxed... and 1.
   27. More Indecisive than Lonnie Smith on 2nd... Posted: May 05, 2007 at 03:45 PM (#2355155)
in the R video he's not blocking with his L ankle like he was in the first start. Also, watching his follow-through, it's much more fluid and slightly longer, suggesting he's got better balance at the finish of his pitch. did his velocity change at all from start 1 to 2? (wasn't able to watch either one)
   28. PooNani Posted: August 28, 2007 at 06:41 PM (#2502100)
Carlos i'm not sure if you've seen this article, but you gotta send some info Brian's way.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/28/sports/baseball/28pins.html

DETROIT, Aug. 27 — As he watched Phil Hughes pitch Sunday from his home in Connecticut, Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman noticed that Hughes was not throwing as hard as usual. His fastballs were averaging 88 to 91 miles an hour, Cashman said, when they should have been 91 to 93.

General Manager Brian Cashman said he thought Phil Hughes was still building up his arm strength after time on the D.L.

“I don’t know why,” Cashman said. “It’s our job to continue to look and see if there’s anything mechanically. He could still be just building arm strength from being down for so long.

“It’s starting to improve, though. His last two outings, he’s been popping a few more high-velocity fastballs. But he’s got more arm strength than he’s shown lately. He’s not coming at hitters with his full ability yet.”


---

Based off the gameday readings from his no hitter, he was pretty consistently 92-94, but its clear that something is wrong mechanically as he just looked uncomfortable out there since hes been back from injury
   29. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: August 28, 2007 at 07:14 PM (#2502139)
Thank you for the info.

I have 2 things on my agenda for today: 1) finish the JAke Peavy article I'm writing.
2) write a letter to Cashman so that he can at least take a look at my stuff....we'll see.

Carlos
   30. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: August 29, 2007 at 05:04 PM (#2503535)
BTW, one thing I did notice in his last start was the Hughes had his hips turned more at the top of his knee. It seems like he IS looking for lost velocity somewhere. I'll try to get a clip of that to you guys.

Carlos

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