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Thursday, July 26, 2007

THT: D-Train’s Mechanics: A video analysis

Comparing the current version of Dontrelle to the ‘05 and ‘06 versions….

“If you’re the Marlins, do you want the slow and controlled 2007 version of Willis? Or do you prefer the “out of control,” legs flying everywhere, high-energy, looks like he’s rushing, aggressive 2005 version of Willis?”

ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: July 26, 2007 at 05:24 PM | 13 comment(s)
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   1. aleskel Posted: July 26, 2007 at 06:41 PM (#2456542)
Hey CBW - I can't wait to read this, but I can't see the clips. Does anyone else have this problem? Is it something with HBT?
   2. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: July 26, 2007 at 06:46 PM (#2456558)
Just checked it and it looks like it's working fine. Let me know if it is fixed from your end.
   3. Neil M Posted: July 26, 2007 at 06:59 PM (#2456583)
Video works fine for me, CBW. Particularly like the historical 6- image sequence. Your analysis is, as always, thought-provoking.

As a Cubs fan, I believe that you should file suit for at least 10% of the value of Big Z's next contract. Put him on your resume.
   4. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: July 26, 2007 at 07:09 PM (#2456599)
It's going to be a sad day for internet baseball fans when CBW gets snatched up by a major league organization and this kind of analysis becomes property of [Lucky_MLB_Team].

If you aren't faxing your resume to Jon Daniels daily, please start now. Thank you.
   5. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: July 26, 2007 at 08:05 PM (#2456661)
As a Cubs fan, I believe that you should file suit for at least 10% of the value of Big Z's next contract. Put him on your resume.

I must've really pissed him off...LOL
   6. myst333 Posted: July 27, 2007 at 08:06 AM (#2457613)
Video works fine on my laptop and desktop. Doesn't play on my iPhone but the rest of the article is clear.

I was surprised how much pitchers seem to slow themselves down. Not sure I grasp the logic behind it. The part that doesn't seem to come up is how much easier he must be to run on now.
   7. North Side Chicago Expatriate Giants Fan Posted: July 27, 2007 at 08:57 AM (#2457617)
CBW - in many of your video analyses, I really have to look closely to pick up what you are talking about in terms of changes between point A and point B in time. Man, this isn't one of them. That is a huge, huge tempo difference.

Does anyone have velocity numbers from 2005-2007 for Dontrelle? This could really be one of those "I can fix him in 10 minutes" Rick Peterson moments.
   8. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: July 27, 2007 at 04:35 PM (#2457672)
I would love to see the velo numbers myself. In that July 18 start, Willis' fastball in the first inning:

dunno the first one (the graphic wasn't up yet), 87,88,86,88,84(bigtime sinker),88(single)

---then he goes from the stretch--90,89,90 (double),90,90...

OK, you could say "it's the first inning, he's just settling in." Also the pitches from the stretch were to Pujols and Encarnacion (with Pujols on 2nd), so maybe he was "trying more."

That said, he started throwing harder from the stretch, which forced him to speed up his body.


Any, then 3rd inning: 89, 84 (cutter?), 82 (cutter?) still-82? (groundout). Then to Miles he goes offspeed, 81 (sinker), 81 (slider/cutter).

BTW, I'll say I'm really good at recognizing pitch types, and the fact that I can't really tell what he's trying to on these just makes me not feel good about what he was trying to do that day.

My gut tells me the truthiness of the July 18 outing was this: He was REALLY trying to "stay back" and be "under control." On the start after that, it's almost like he told himself "F&!k it, I'm going back to my old motion." The thing is, his "old" delivery (earlier this year and even last) is substantially slower than his OLD delivery (the '04, 05 varieties).
   9. the red baron Posted: July 27, 2007 at 09:08 PM (#2457988)
Great analysis as always Carlos. The chronological breakdown is particularly instructive here.

You know, I'm continually puzzled by the idea, which has become almost gospel, that it's better for pitchers to stay back over the rubber, throw downhill, and be more 'in control'. It's gotten to the point where scouting reports of pitchers list having a 'drop and drive' delivery as a weakness. When did this bizarre notion take hold so powerfully? That being said, I think a big part of Dontrelle's problem, in addition to his loss of aggressiveness on the mound, has to do with the fact that everyone has had enough chances to see his delivery now, and hitters have adjusted to what they need to be watching for, rather than just seeing feet and arms and legs and everything else.

On a related topic, I would like to request a future breakdown. Anthony Reyes is the most controversial, and most talked about, pitcher at all of the Cardinal blogs and discussion boards. The debate of two seam/ four seam fastballs and everything else that comes with it has caused near "Outsiders" -style rumbles many times. I look at the kid, and there seems to have been a marked degradation of the quality of his stuff over time. This particular post, in relation to Willis, has really put me in mind of what has happened to Reyes. It's well established that Dave Duncan is more in the control pitcher mold, as far as the type of pitcher he prefers tall and fall mechanics, due to the propensity of those types of pitchers to keep the ball down in the zone. You hear a lot of talk about 'tilt' on the ball when discussing what Duncan wants pitchers to do. When I watch Reyes, he seems more passive with his mechanics than when he first came up, trying to stay back and over the rubber, much like what it appears Willis is falling prey to here. In addition, there was an attempt to get Reyes more on top of the ball, again, in order to create that tilt on the ball that seems to feature so heavily in modern pitching mechanics. As time has gone on, those attempted changes seem to have had a pretty severe, negative effect on the overall quality of Reyes' stuff, particularly as far as velocity is concerned. He looks different to me, just to the naked eye, and I would love to see if a detailed analysis would hold with my own impressions.

Thanks a ton, as always, for the knowledge. Again, if you have any idea when the idea of being more passive in the delivery became a positive one, I would be awfully interested to know. I was always taught that power had to come from somewhere, and it was better for it to be your legs and body generating it, rather than your arm.
   10. myst333 Posted: July 28, 2007 at 06:51 AM (#2458681)
I resist the temptation to go on a Dave Duncan tirade. Lets just say he got the guys he wanted this year and we are last in ERA for the starters.

I suspect for pitchers that had big time control problems that slowing things down might help IF they are then able to resolve their control issue. It doesn't matter how hard you throw if you cannot throw strikes. However, for people that already had success I don't see how it makes sense. The whole pitch to contact things just confuses me. Why would you intentionally make it easier for the hitter to hit the ball. Thats giving up the #1 thing the pitcher has control over.

Dontre wasn't a pitcher that "had issues" that he needed to fix. Instead he seems to have created issues, much like Mark Mulder.

I have been following the whole Reyes thing for 2+ years now. I though someone already did a brief breakdown.
   11. baudib Posted: July 28, 2007 at 07:01 AM (#2458686)
Dontrelle has long been one of my favorite players, but I have always feared someone would start tinkering with him and screw him up.
   12. ChadBradfordWannabe Posted: July 28, 2007 at 03:09 PM (#2458790)
You know, I'm continually puzzled by the idea, which has become almost gospel, that it's better for pitchers to stay back over the rubber, throw downhill, and be more 'in control'. It's gotten to the point where scouting reports of pitchers list having a 'drop and drive' delivery as a weakness. When did this bizarre notion take hold so powerfully?

I know I bought into it when I was younger. I look back on it and wonder how it made sense to me back then.

Jeff Albert did a Reyes breakdown on one of the Cardinals' sites that I suggest you check out. I do agree that Reyes is a dude that doesn't really "get out there" preferring instead to stay back over the rubber...short strider too....

BTW, I'm not a proponent of "tilt" or "staying tall" to establish a "downward tilt." I'd rather have a pitcher try to use his height to get out in front and cut the distance down rather than stay tall and establish tilt. From a hitter's POV, it is harder to recognize pitches if they all start out in the same plane. If a fastball starts out on a (guessing here) 10 degree downward angle, and a curveball starts out upwards on a 5 degree angle, a good hitter can catch the "hump" on the pitch and recognize it more quickly. I'm working on an article as to how to better explain that. I was thinking of using Peavy as an example of a pitcher who throws everything out of the same "flat" plane.


Dontrelle has long been one of my favorite players, but I have always feared someone would start tinkering with him and screw him up.


I know, it pissed me off too. But hey, how do we know it wasn't Willis himself that took it upon himself? Nah, I'd assume the organization and coaches would have something to do with it.
   13. Who Swished In Your Cornflakes? Posted: July 28, 2007 at 03:17 PM (#2458794)
Good stuff. Real handy having those many clips of Dontrelle all lined up. Also:

1. Speed it up.
2. Get rid of it.
3. Throw the #$%! out of it.

I like that list. I'd think most, if not all pitchers could benefit from those directions, but some guys just might not click that way.

Quick question on Dontrelle's leading leg... Looks like he's straightened it out in the past couple of years instead of bending it like he did in 2005. Is that more of a "tall and fall" kind of thing for a pitcher to do? I think about it in my head, and it looks like he's "falling" forward more on the leg instead of getting more torque and twist from that leg. Think he's lost velocity from that?

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