Real-Time Illustrations and Analyses of
Improper Pitching Mechanics
Pitching Mechanic - November 2007
Busters: Tommy John Surgery
There is this idea
going around that Tommy John surgery is a good thing, and not a
bad thing, because it allows a pitcher to throw harder than they
could before the surgery. Some people even believe that young
kids should get the surgery even if if they don't need it.
As I explain in my new essay The
Truth About Tommy John Surgery, this is simply wrong.
don't believe me, then you should believe Dr. Frank Jobe, the
doctor who invented the procedure.
One of my readers
from Rotoworld.com asked me to take a quick look at the
mechanics of Ubaldo Jimenez. In general, I like what I see.
The photo above is a
good example of striding sideways. Notice how Ubaldo Jimenez is
leading his stride with his Glove Side (aka GS) butt cheek and his
GS heel. This will help to keep his hips closed until just before
his GS foot plants.
The photo above of
Ubaldo Jimenez is a good example of hip/shoulder separation.
Notice how his hips are rotating ahead of his shoulders.
In the photo above
of Ubaldo Jimenez, notice how his hips have continued to open up
while his shoulders have stayed closed.
This photo of Ubaldo
Jimenez is pretty much perfect.
First, notice how his hips are rotating
well before his shoulders. Second, notice how his Pitching Arm
Side (aka PAS) elbow is
just below the level of his shoulders. Third, notice how he is
showing the ball to 3B, not to CF or 2B as some people teach.
The only thing I don't like about this
photo is how his elbow is bent 90 degrees. I have a theory that
this may increase the load on the UCL. If I'm right, Ubaldo
Jimenez should be free of shoulder problems but may have elbow
problems. Of course, the other variable with respect to elbow
problems is whether he pronates or supinates his pitches.
The photo above of Ubaldo
Jimenez shows the same things. Notice the huge hip/shoulder
separation; how his belt buckle is pointing at the target while
his shoulders are still closed. Also, notice how his PAS elbow
is well below the level of his shoulders.
The photo above of Ubaldo
Jimenez shows the same things as the photos above. Again, notice
the large hip/shoulder separation and the location of the PAS
elbow below the level of the shoulders. Additionally, notice how
his GS toe is pointing pretty much directly at the target.
Manuel "Manny" Corpas
A reader from
Rotoworld.com asked for my opinion of Manuel "Manny"
Corpas of the Rockies. While what I see makes me nervous, at
least Manny Corpas is a closer, which -- ala Billy Wagner --
should tend to prolong his career despite the obvious problems
with his mechanics.
As Manny Corpas
strides towards the plate, he leans forward toward 3B and his
Pitching Arm Side (aka PAS) elbow gets quite high, but still
below the level of his shoulders. However, Corpas' mechanics
aren't necessarily bad at this point.
photos above of Manny Corpas shows that as his torso comes
erect, his PAS elbow stays quite high in a pretty classic Inverted
As the two photos
above show, rather than dropping, Manny Corpas' PAS elbows stays
quite high, in a position of Hyperabduction,
as he starts to externally rotate his PAS upper arm
In the photo
above, Manny Corpas' PAS elbow is still very high as his PAS
upper arm continues to externally rotate.
What all of this says to me is that Manny
Corpas' mechanics are putting a tremendous amount of strain on
both his shoulder and his elbow. The only thing that is likely
to save him is that he is a closer.
Given the Rockies'
recent run through the playoffs, I have had a chance to see a
lot of Jeff Francis. He keeps his Pitching Arm Side (aka PAS)
elbow quite low, which is generally good. However, I've been
wrestling with is whether his arm action is more Mark Mulder or
more Greg Maddux.
After analyzing Jeff Francis' pitching
mechanics, I think he is more Greg Maddux than Mark Mulder,
which is good for both him and the Rockies.
Like Greg Maddux,
after breaking his hands, Jeff Francis "plunges" his PAS
hand to behind his Glove Side (aka GS) butt cheek. This will help
him hide the ball from the batter and improve his deception.
Like Greg Maddux,
after coming out of the "plunged" position, Jeff Francis
leads with his PAS hand, rather than his PAS elbow. As a result,
Jeff Francis' PAS elbow stays relatively low during his arm swing,
and always well below the level of his shoulders.
There are a couple
of things notice in the two photos above of Jeff Francis. First,
notice how his PAS elbow stays well below the level of his
shoulders in the "W" position (ala Greg
Maddux). Second, notice how Jeff Francis' timing is better
than Mark Mulder's. Where Mark Mulder's shoulders would have
started to turn at this point, Jeff Francis' are staying closed as
his shoulders as his hips open up underneath them.
In the two photos above of
Jeff Francis, which represent the moments just before, and just after, his
PAS forearm has passed through the vertical high-cocked position, notice
that while Jeff Francis' PAS elbow is higher, it is still below the level of
his shoulders. Also, notice how Jeff Francis' hips are rotating well ahead
of his shoulders, which will enable them to powerfully pull his shoulders
All in all, I really like what I see in the arm
action and timing of Jeff Francis. Assuming he does a good job of
conditioning, I think he has a better than average chance of having a long,
Another View Of
I just came across
another photo of Jeff Francis that reinforces my positive view
Jeff Francis is
doing a number of good things in the photo above. First, his
hips are rotating well ahead of his shoulders, which means that
he throws the ball with his entire body and thus is very
efficient. Second, notice that his Pitching Arm Side (aka PAS)
elbow is just below the level of his shoulders in "W"
position. Third, notice that he is showing the ball to First
Base (since he's a lefty), not to Center Field or Second Base.
Finally, Jeff Francis's timing seems to be quite good. His
shoulders don't rotate very much until his PAS forearm is in the
vertical, high-cocked position.
The Pitching Mechanic -