The Complex Case of Oliver Perez
Oliver Perez, in a span of a few years, has gone from a guy who routinely pitched at 95 mph+ in ‘04 to a guy who rarely broke 90 mph early this year (watch the WBC if you have to) to a guy who is back at around the 93-96 mph range. I think I can explain most of his velocity loss/regain.
ON TO THE ANALYSIS
First, a quick disclaimer. Perez has been the most challenging project so far. Why you ask?
As most of you are starting to realize, I am a big believer in establishing a quick tempo to home plate. Generally speaking, I
like using the beginning of the descent of the lead leg’s knee as reference and count frames into footplant in order to get a quantifiable count in which to compare the pitcher either to himself or other pitchers.
In Perez’s case, because of his frequent hesitations at the top of the knee lift, varying times to home and other factors, finding clips of what is
representative of what Perez does was quite the challenge.
I worked backwards with Perez. On the following clip, the three Perez (es) are synchronized to 3 frames after release. The clip is 19 frames long and release on each occurs at frame 16. Without saying anything else, let me show you the first clip. Watch it a few times, see what you can come up with. The frames where I see the biggest differences have numbers on them, BTW.
LET’S GO FRAME BY FRAME
The positions here are different. Note how #1 is sitting back with his lead leg at around 90 degrees. The other two are “tucking in” their lead legs.
As you have already probably figured out, their tempos from this position to release are basically identical. Is tempo the issue? Not really, but there’s more to it. I’ll explain later.
A frame which relates to what we saw on Frame 1.
Ok. This is the biggie, IMO. Watch the video clip. Did you catch how much more #1 and #3 “reach back” (towards 3rd) more than #2? I see a big difference.
See for yourself….
Loading the shoulder horizontally is a big component for creating velocity. There is a “moment of truth” where the loading/unloading of the arm takes place. On this clip, the beginning of the unloading occurs on frames 11-12. That stretching/loading of the shoulder will occur before that. When it comes time to unleash hell, the upper body will be in a hyperflexed position with both elbows behind your back, ready to unleash.
A quick exercise
Stand up, elbows at shoulder height, forearms parallel to the ground, foreams at a 90 degree angle to your upper arm. You are about to elbow something behind you with both elbows. OK, now quickly elbow the air behind you, using both elbows.
Feel that stretch. Did you feel how after you’ve reached your maximum flexibility (max range of motion), your shoulder “fires back” in the opposite direction? You have reached your maximum stretch. At a very simple level, THAT is what the elastic loading/unloading of your shoulder should feel like when you pitch.
Why is this significant?
The arm will travel a longer path in the same amount of time=higher velocity.
FRAMES 9 and 11
Again, more examples of the shoulder loading differences. Also, on frame 9, do you see #1 and #3 more compact? Are they driving their front shoulders towards the 1st base dugout more than the more upright #2? This could be nitpicking….
You knew I couldn’t not talk about tempo. Here’s two clips of Ollie. They are their full motions. One taken early this year, the other taken from his recent start agains the Marlins. See if you spot “anything”.....
NOTE TO RICK PETERSON
If you are reponsible for this, then huge kudos to you. Where is the hesitation stuff you ask? Exactly. It seems like Perez was told “Just get it going. Get it up, get it down, quickly, quickly.” THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT I RECOMMENDED TO MARK MULDER.
You know what it looks like to me? Rick Peterson probably went to Perez and said the following words, the 1st commandment of the throwing bible:
LESS THINK, MORE THROW
Good to have you back Ollie…...
As always, comments/feedback would be greatly appreciated.
Posted: September 22, 2006 at 02:39 AM | 59 comment(s)