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Bullpen Mechanics
— A Scout's View

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The New and Improved Josh Beckett

Want to know what´s gotten into Josh Beckett?

Here´s the link to the article at The Hardball Times

As always, questions/comments are greatly appreciated.

ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: May 31, 2007 at 05:40 PM | 11 comment(s)
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   1. Who Swished In Your Cornflakes? Posted: May 31, 2007 at 06:15 PM (#2386323)
Good stuff as usual, Carlos. This article doesn't quite ooze mechanics information the same way more recent articles have. I think it's because the point you were trying to make was how little bitty adjustments — even mental ones — can have a significant effect on a pitcher's performance.

I found myself wondering: How difficult is it for a pitcher to alter his mechanics so slightly without it having a drain on his stuff? Without it having an effect on him mentally? I'm thinking it's pretty difficult, but I'm no pitcher. Are there any recent examples of pitchers who made similar improvements like Beckett, without losing stuff? Oliver Perez, perhaps?
   2. Xander Posted: May 31, 2007 at 06:20 PM (#2386332)
Nice words from Rob Neyer's blog:
Again, though, the above really doesn't do Gomez's work any sort of justice. I would argue that he's doing the best, most interesting work on the Web right now, and we're lucky to have him.
Link
   3. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: May 31, 2007 at 06:55 PM (#2386359)
think it's because the point you were trying to make was how little bitty adjustments — even mental ones — can have a significant effect on a pitcher's performance.

Yup. Well said.

Temple---thanks for quoting that as I am: 1)currently out of the country with limited internet access. 2)not a subscriber to Insider

Neyer pimpin´ my stuff is cool, way cool.

What was he referring to "the above" in "the above doesn´t do Gomez´s work justice"
   4. Grunthos Posted: May 31, 2007 at 09:01 PM (#2386484)
Just a note on presentation... I really like the six synched clips running side-by-side. There's a principle in graphical displays about the power of repetition, and this is a good case of that. Although I'm certain it takes more work on your part.

Bullpen Mechanics is the one part of this site I still check in on religiously. KUGTW!
   5. Phil Coorey is a T-Shirt Salesman Posted: June 01, 2007 at 02:27 AM (#2386984)
Great work once again. That job is around the corner, hopefully!!!

When I clicked on the article I was excited to see what Beckett has done , cause I thought his changes were minimal from the naked eye. The explanation seemed perfect to me for a guy we all know has a great arm.

Seems he is also a lot more relaxed when runners are on base as well. That Hanley trade is looking better and better, for both teams which is great.
   6. Mattbert Posted: June 01, 2007 at 06:39 AM (#2387071)
I was looking forward to reading this one, not just because of my rooting interest, but also because I thought I'd figured out what Beckett was doing differently.

I'd noticed that he stopped bringing his hands up and over his head; that wasn't tough to pick up on, particularly since I made the same change myself during my first college season. I think that change may very well be related to his improved balance, i.e. not leaning back when he's at the top of his balance point. That made a huge difference for me. With my weight centered better over my post leg, it was so much less laborious to maintain a smooth pace and keep my front side from flying open too early.

All the other little apparent tweaks you detailed were new to me; very informative. The one thing I'd add is that it looks like Beckett isn't "sitting" as aggressively on his post leg as he drives forward now. This was most apparent to me in the second set of '06/'07 paired clips. His post leg doesn't flex quite as much in the 2007 clip, and his hips/butt don't get quite as low as in the 2006 clip (they're driving forward more consistently rather than drop...and then drive). I think this actually gives him more power left as he's releasing the ball and finishing the pitch.

Your synopsis is right on in my view: Beckett's made a bunch of small, incremental changes that have added up to a fairly significant change/improvement in balance and efficiency. I wish I had access to enough video to look at the action on his pitches this year versus last. The mechanical changes suggest you'd be able to see an appreciable difference.
   7. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: June 02, 2007 at 06:14 PM (#2389078)
MAttbert-

excellent observations. I always appreciate comments from someone who has pitched at a high level. I´d continue but I´m currently still out of the country and have little time.
Thanks again though,

Carlos
   8. tfbg9 Posted: June 02, 2007 at 06:27 PM (#2389094)
Sometimes what a pitcher thinks is happening is more important than what is actually happening.


Until someone points out your blog to him and his whole season is ruined! :)

Ever mess with a knuckler?
   9. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: June 02, 2007 at 06:31 PM (#2389102)
I should´ve said that in the article....

Dear Red Sox and Josh Beckett,
Don´t read this article.

LOL, good point.
   10. XV84 Posted: June 04, 2007 at 06:15 AM (#2391896)
How about a comparison to his mechanics when he was with the Marlins?

http://www.pitchingclips.com/videos/josh_becket_back_side.gif

He seems to be taller in this clip. Also, he starts his leg lift with less knee bend and doesn't bring it behind his right knee as much. Another thing I want to point out is that, in the Marlins clip, his front foot is more level with the ground on descent, whereas the Red Sox clips his toes are pointing upwards. I know it's good to lead with the heel when striding, but he seems to be over-exaggerating it. I would think that this may lead to landing on the heel and cause the hips to open early.

These pics, I assume taken from 2006 based on the URL, shows it more clearly.

http://www.prosportspictures.com/images/mlb/boston-red-sox/2006//06-josh-beckett-action-1-GW00806.jpg
http://images.usatoday.com/sports/baseball/_photos/2006-07-19-beckett-large.jpg
   11. Foghorn Leghorn Posted: June 04, 2007 at 06:17 PM (#2392174)
He seems to be taller in this clip.

Well, I was going to note this. I don't see a large difference in most of the clips in his lead foot angle (or "wrap"). What I do see is that Beckett is standing taller right before throwing. Not before the wind-up, but as he is balanced on one foot, he's much straighter in 2007 than in 2006.

The footwrap in the top 6 seems relatively consistent, and somewhat different than the single example used below (it also looks the same in the 5/28/06 version as above).

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