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> February 2009
The Pitching Mechanic
Real-Time Illustrations and Analyses of
Proper and Improper Pitching Mechanics
The Pitching Mechanic - March 2009
*Same Old BJ Ryan*
I just came across this photo of BJ Ryan from earlier today.
It's clear that BJ Ryan's mechanics haven't changed significantly and
that he still has a significant Inverted L
in his arm action. As a result, I expect his problems to continue, and
to migrate to his shoulder next.
*Is Jeff Francis the Next Mark Mulder?*
It was recently announced that Jeff Francis has been having shoulder
While some people have been using this as an opportunity to pound
on me and to say that this proves that I don't know what I'm talking
about, the truth is that I'm not totally surprised by this. As a result,
and like the whole Freddy Garcia experience
I am using this as an opportunity to refine and improve my theories.
Back in October of 2007, I took a quick look at the pitching
mechanics of Jeff Francis
While I mostly liked what I saw, at the time I stated that I had some
questions about Jeff Francis's arm action, and in particular his low
Pitching Arm Side (PAS) elbow, and wondered whether he was going to end
up like Greg Maddux or Mark Mulder.
I now think that Jeff Francis is fairly likely to end up like Mark
Mulder because they are both LHPs who share a common problem; *they both
pull in early with their Glove Side (GS) elbows which creates a subtle
timing problem and increases the load on their shoulder.* Their low PAS
elbow is the result of this problem, more than the cause.
This problem was made clear to me just a couple of days ago when a
friend of the blog was showing me some stuff using Right View Pro. He
showed me a couple of clips of Mark Mulder during his time in Oakland
where something really stood out. I then confirmed it with some footage
of Mark Mulder that I have access to.
The photo above of Mark Mulder is really the money shot. The thing to
notice is that his PAS forearm is vertical and in the high-cocked
position at this moment. However, notice how much he has pulled in with
his GS elbow at this moment; it's in a pretty significant position of
That is going to cause two problems.
First, it's going to cause his PAS elbow to drop and to negatively
adduct (and drag) into a mechanically weak position as his body tries to
maintain what Tom House calls an equal and opposite position (although I
think equal and opposite is something the body does to maintain balance
rather than something a pitcher has conscious control over). Second,
it's going to cause his shoulders to start rotating early, creating a
timing problem that is going to increase the load on the shoulder (at
I'm still trying to find some decent video of Jeff Francis to
definitively confirm this, but I have found some stills of him that
suggest that he has the same basic problem; that he pulls in early with
his GS elbow, creating a timing problem and increasing the load on the
First, the photo above shows a suggestion of a timing problem. Notice
how his GS foot has planted but his PAS forearm isn't yet vertical.
The two photos above show some evidence that Jeff Francis starts to pull
back with his GS elbow before his PAS forearm is vertical.
The photos above show quite definitively that Jeff Francis pulls back
with his GS elbow before he reaches the high-cocked position. Notice how
his GS elbow has adducted (moved behind the Coronal Plane or the back)
as his PAS forearm passes through the vertical, high-cocked position.
Although Jeff Francis's PAS elbow doesn't seem to drop and drag as
much as Mark Mulder's PAS elbow does, he does seem to pull back with his
GS elbow a bit early and this does seem to create a subtle timing
problem that could explain Jeff Francis' recent shoulder problems.
Finally, while I need to find some good video to confirm this, I wonder
if Ryan Madson's rather strange arm angles, and in particular the
negative adduction of his PAS elbow, are caused by a similar problem. In
the picture above, his PAS forearm is only just passing through the
high-cocked position but his GS elbow has already pulled back and
While people are constantly pounding on me and my ideas, and trying to
make the case that Mark Prior's pitching mechanics
have nothing to do with his problems, I am finding that more and more
people are putting forth ideas that are thinly-veiled derivatives of my
Dick Mills has spent some time lately talking about the the
relationship between arm action flaws and injury rates. First, he
suggests that BJ Ryan's problems are related to his arm action
among other things. Second, he seems to understand that the Inverted V
Good for him.
At least people are starting to believe that there is a
relationship between pitching mechanics and injuries.
*Stephen Strasburg Analysis*
Stephen Strasburg's name has popped up at the top of a number of lists
of draft prospects. As a result, I just did an analysis of the pitching
mechanics of Stephen Strasburg
I'm not thrilled by what I see.
The Pitching Mechanic - January 2009
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