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Stephen Strasburg's pitching mechanics have long troubled me, starting in 2008 when I first started this piece...

I've since put together a couple of summary pieces...

I maintain this page so people can see and verify what I said, when, using the Wayback Machine.

Stephen Strasburg (2008)

The earliest versions of my analysis of Stephen Strasburg's pitching mechanics are below.

August 2008

The video clip below, which I obtained from Driveline Mechanics, shows the pitching mechanics of Stephen Strasburg. The problem is that Stephen Strasburg's pitching mechanics appear to have been influenced by, and are remarkably similar to, those of Mark Prior.

Stephen Strasburg's Inverted W

Stephen Strasburg's Inverted W

The thing to pay attention to in this clip is the borderline Inverted W that is clearly visible in Frame 23 and Frame 24.

Video Clip of Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg

While the Inverted W isn't automatically bad, in Stephen Strasburg's case it does appear to create a significant timing problem.

Notice that in Frame 26, when Stephen Strasburg's Glove Side (GS) foot plants and his shoulders start to rotate, his Pitching Arm Side (PAS) forearm is just above the horizontalm rather than being vertical (or nearly so) as I prefer. In Frame 27, when Stephen Strasburg's shoulder's have clearly rotate a significant amount, his PAS is still not yet vertical.

All of this causes Stephen Strasburg's PAS upper arm to externally rotate especially hard and much (see Frame 29) which significantly increases the load on the elbow and the shoulder. What's more it looks like this external rotation, as with Mark Prior, occurs with his PAS upper arm elevated in a position of hyperabduction.

If you combine this with Stephen Strasburg's plus to plus plus velocity and the fact that he seems to be a fastball/slider guy, rather than a fastball/change-up guy, you've got someone who is putting tremendous, and likely excessive, stress on his elbow and his shoulder.

The Bottom Line on
Stephen Strasburg

The bottom line on Stephen Strasburg is that, while he may be a consensus number one like David Price, mechanically speaking, Stephen Strasburg is no David Price.

Like Mark Prior, Stephen Strasburg has some Inverted W in his arm action and a timing problem as a result (aka habitual rushing). This will significantly increase the load on his elbow and his shoulder and make him a very high risk draft choice. I could even see him pulling a Cole St. Clair and blowing up mid-season.

However, because his mechanics in some of the frames I have seen aren't quite as bad as Mark Prior's, and at times he sometimes makes the Horizontal W rather than the Inverted W...

Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg

...there is a chance that Stephen Strasburg could have a career more like a John Smoltz. In that case, he would be effective for periods of time but would also struggle with elbow and shoulder problems. It's a bit hard to say for sure, since Stephen Strasburg seems to show significant variability in his arm action from year to year.

February 2009

The video clip below, which I obtained from Driveline Mechanics, shows the pitching mechanics of Stephen Strasburg.

Video Clip of Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg

The thing to pay attention to in this clip is the Inverted W that is clearly visible in Frame 23 and Frame 24. While the Inverted W isn't automatically bad, in Stephen Strasburg's case it does create a significant Timing problem.

Notice that in Frame 26, when Stephen Strasburg's Glove Side (GS) foot plants and his shoulders start to rotate, his Pitching Arm Side (PAS) forearm is just above the horizontal rather than being vertical (or nearly so) as I prefer. In Frame 27, when Stephen Strasburg's shoulder's have clearly rotate a significant amount, his PAS is still not yet vertical.

All of this causes Stephen Strasburg's PAS upper arm to externally rotate especially hard and much (see Frame 29) which significantly increases the load on the elbow and the shoulder. What's more it looks like this external rotation, as with Mark Prior, occurs with his PAS upper arm elevated in a position of hyperabduction.

If you combine this with Stephen Strasburg's plus to plus plus velocity, you've got a guy who is putting tremendous, and likely excessive, stress on his elbow and his shoulder.

The Bottom Line on
Stephen Strasburg

The bottom line on Stephen Strasburg is that, while he may be a consensus number one like David Price, mechanically speaking Stephen Strasburg is no David Price.

Like Mark Prior, Stephen Strasburg's got some significant Inverted W in his arm action and a major timing problem as a result (aka habitual rushing). This will significantly increase the load on his elbow and his shoulder and make him a very high risk draft choice. I could even see him pulling a Cole St. Clair and blowing up mid-season.

However, it's of course impossible to predict exactly when a pitcher's problems are going to rear up.

March 2009

The video clip below, which I obtained from Driveline Mechanics, is of the pitching mechanics of Stephen Strasburg. The problem is that Stephen Strasburg's pitching mechanics appear to have been heavily influenced by, and are remarkably similar to, those of Mark Prior.

Stephen Strasburg's Inverted W

Stephen Strasburg's Inverted W

The thing to pay attention to in this clip is the Inverted W that is clearly visible in Frame 23 and Frame 24.

Video Clip of Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg

While the Inverted W isn't automatically bad, in Stephen Strasburg's case it does create a significant timing problem.

Notice that in Frame 26, when Stephen Strasburg's Glove Side (GS) foot plants and his shoulders start to rotate, his Pitching Arm Side (PAS) forearm is just above the horizontal rather than being vertical (or nearly so) as I prefer. In Frame 27, when Stephen Strasburg's shoulder's have clearly rotate a significant amount, his PAS is still not yet vertical.

All of this causes Stephen Strasburg's PAS upper arm to externally rotate especially hard and much (see Frame 29) which significantly increases the load on the elbow and the shoulder. What's more it looks like this external rotation, as with Mark Prior, occurs with his PAS upper arm elevated in a position of hyperabduction.

If you combine this with Stephen Strasburg's plus to plus plus velocity and the fact that he seems to be a fastball/slider guy, rather than a fastball/change-up guy, you've got someone who is putting tremendous, and likely excessive, stress on his elbow and his shoulder.

The Bottom Line on Stephen Strasburg

The bottom line on Stephen Strasburg is that, while he may be a consensus number one like David Price, mechanically speaking Stephen Strasburg is no David Price.

Like Mark Prior, Stephen Strasburg has some significant Inverted W in his arm action and a timing problem as a result (aka habitual rushing). This will significantly increase the load on his elbow and his shoulder and make him a very high risk draft choice. I could even see him pulling a Cole St. Clair and blowing up mid-season.

However, because his mechanics in some of the frames I have seen aren't quite as bad as Mark Prior's, and he sometimes makes the Horizontal W rather than the Inverted W...

Stephen Strasburg

Stephen Strasburg

...there is a chance that Stephen Strasburg could have a career more like a John Smoltz. In that case, he would be effective for periods of time but would also struggle with elbow and shoulder problems. It's a bit hard to say for sure, since Stephen Strasburg seems to show significant variability in his arm action from year to year.

You can verify that I said this, when I say I said it, using the Wayback Machine.

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