Quick Mechanics Take-Russ Ortiz
First of all, don’t worry. I’m not predicting a monster season for Russ Ortiz.
What I do want to point out is that his mechanics have changed for the better from last year to this year and he’s throwing harder because of it. I actually wish I had video of him of years before last so that I could show how much worse he was back then even compared to ‘06. However, I have a clip from last year and a clip from this year, and the change is significant.
When I first saw Ortiz throw this year, it instantly jumped out at me… HE’S BREAKING HIS HANDS LATER.
“Breaking the hands” or “hand break”—The point at which a pitcher’s throwing hand and glove separate during the motion. Basically, it’s when the ball first comes out of the glove.
If you’ve read my work, you have heard me talk about “early” or “late” hand break.
On the article about last year’s draft, I wrote on Andrew Miller, for example…..
Takes the ball out of the glove too early for my liking.
On the Mulder article, I suggested to Mark Mulder….
2) Break your hands later—- If you’re going to be slow with your body, you at least must give your arm a chance to be quick. Hold the ball in the glove longer, break them later. Make the arm circle have no hitch. There is such a thing as breaking the hands too early.
About Mark Prior, I wrote (regarding why I like Prior in ‘01 better)
1) He breaks his hands later. His arm travels roughly the same distance is less time =(in theory) better arm speed.
You get what I’m saying, I mention it a lot.
Here’s Ortiz, ‘07 vs ‘06….
What’s so different?
It looks like the ‘07 version is breaking his hands as his lead leg descends while it seems that ‘06 breaks his hands JUST before his lead leg gets to its highest point (or JUST as it starts going down). The ‘06 Ortiz’s arm is getting back there too quickly. He’s jerking his arm back there REALLY quick to make sure that his arm is up and into “throwing position”. It’s one of the premises with the early/late hand break… If you get to the “throwing position” too early, your arm has to wait for the front foot to land in order to start bringing the juice. In other words, you kill your arm’s momentum by getting the arm up too quickly. I highlighted frames 13 through 15, because, to me, it’s those frames where you see ‘06’s arm waiting for the front foot to land. See how his arm in ‘06 starts back, then hesitates while his body moves forward into footplant, and then starts up again?
Notice how his arm action this year seems like it’s uninterrupted and hitch free.
Posted: April 22, 2007 at 12:53 AM | 15 comment(s)