mechanics in slow motion.
That's the right place to start.
The right question to ask.
The right thing to look for.
Because, among other things, it's the answer
to the question of where pitchers like...
- Nolan Ryan
- Tom Seaver
- Bob Gibson
- Greg Maddux
Starters who were BOTH Dominant AND Durable.
It also explains why Justin Verlander was on that path...
...but — after being so good, for so long, and
largely injury free — needed Tommy John surgery.
in Slow Motion
Why believe me?
Above all else, because of my ability to predict injuries to pitchers.
Which, I hope, makes it clear that I understand what's
The problem with the modern approach to developing
Which, at the core, ignores one of the key rules
There's no free lunch.
A lesson even Justin Verlander had to pay as a
result of his decision to abandon the classic,
natural, Ryan and Seaver inspired, starter pitching
mechanics that got him where he was.
November 13, 2019
However, before he made the changes that explain
why he needed Tommy John surgery...
...Justin Verlander moved in the classic manner.
Where have all the Nolan Ryans, Tom Seavers, Bob Gibsons,
and Greg Madduxes gone?
The best, most dominant AND durable pitchers?
They've been coached out of their classic,
Just as Justin Verlander was.
I get into why Verlander came crashing down to earth in detail in
Mechanics: The Problem, but in this piece I want to discuss
what JV did — or was doing — right.
Before, like an idiot, he changed everything.
Justin Verlander's Pitching Mechanics
I've been studying Justin Verlander's pitching mechanics since
2009, seeing in him someone who moved like Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver,
and the other greats of the past.
A pitcher who moved completely naturally.
And contrary to the conventional wisdom, as this 2012 clip,
which is one of my favorites and the one that opened my eyes
to the wisdom of Scap
Loading, shows all too well.
And then, in 2014, Justin Verlander got hurt.
In sum, what I think happened in 2014 and 2015 is that the only
thing I don't like about his pitching mechanics, what his
front leg and knee are doing in Frame 89...
...caused a core injury — twice, now — leading
to problems up the kinetic chain.
In 2016, I went to Spring Training hoping to see the Justin
Verlander of old.
I was not disappointed.
So what's so great about the pitching mechanics I saw on display in
When I look at Justin Verlander's 2016 pitching mechanics, I see
a pitching who is moving completely naturally.
Justin Verlander isn't using any of the tricks and shortcuts
that have become established as the conventional wisdom.
In Frame 22, Justin Verlander has completed the Drop portion
of the Drop & Drive movement and is just about to start to
Drive towards home plate.
Frame 70 is where we can see Justin Verlander's excellent
Timing. His front foot is down, his shoulders are just about
to start turning, and his pitching arm is UP and ready to accept
In Frame 81, Justin Verlander's pitching arm is at maximum
External Rotation, laying back towards second base.
In Frame 85, Justin Verlander is just about to release the
ball. Notice that, while some say that pitchers need to keep
both feet on the ground, Verlander's back foot is (slightly) up
in the air, which is perfectly normal.
Frame 89 shows the only concern I have with Justin
Verlander's pitching mechanics; the way he (hyper) extends his
front knee and leg which, I'd suggest, is related to the
problems he has had with his core in 2014 and 2020. While this
works, it's not necessary.
Verlander: What Happened?
As I explain, in detail, in...
...Justin Verlander changed his pitching mechanics and
moved away from the classic, starter model and, instead,
became compatible with the Conventional Wisdom.
Where to go from Here
I have put together a number of free and other pieces for
people who want to dive into the topic of pitching mechanics.
Pitcher Injury Predictions
Since 2006, I have been making predictions about which
pitchers I think are more, and less, likely to experience injury
I mention this because I believe it establishes that I have a
deep understanding of pitching mechanics and injuries; you have
to understand a system in order to make accurate predictions
Professional Pitcher Analyses
In order to help people understand how major league pitchers
actually throw the ball, I have created a
number of analyses of the
pitching mechanics of major league
baseball pitchers, including...