Pitching Mechanics Analysis
A lot of people have been asking me to take a look at
Cardinals prospect Jaime Garcia. I DVRed the game today and am
looking for some high speed film of his mechanics. In the
meantime, here are a couple of interesting pictures I have found
of him pitching.
The photo above is a picture of Jaime Garcia at the release
point (of what looks like a fastball). Notice all of the
shoulder tilt and the fairly high arm slot as a result. One
thing I like in this photo is the glove around the glove side
pec, rather than flying out to the side like Rich Harden (see
below). What I don't like is how the Glove Side (GS) knee is
locked, because this can lead to at least knee and hip and
possibly arm problems by increasing the shock on the system. I
also don't like how Jaime Garcia leaves his Pitching Arm Side (PAS)
foot behind on the rubber, because this can stop a pitcher's hip/shoulder separation
What I prefer to see at the release point is what Nate
Robertson is doing in the photo above. Notice how he still has
some flex in his GS knee and his PAS foot is well off the rubber
and his PAS knee is bent roughly 90 degrees.
Above is a second photo of Jaime Garcia that is a bit
awkward-looking, and worrisome as a result.
While Jaime Garcia is showing tremendous,
Lincecum-esque hip/shoulder separation in this photo, he also
seems to be leaning back toward Third Base quite a bit in this
photo. While he has to do this because of his high arm slot, I
am worried about the strain it puts on the lower back. It's one
thing to rotate the torso and spine 90 degrees as Tim Lincecum
does. As Chad Bradford showed with his lower back problems, it's
something else -- and something probably worse -- to rotate the
torso and spine 90 degrees while also leaning forward or back. I
am worried about Mark Worrell's lower back for the same reason.
Not to be a total downer, I do like the non-90-degree
angle of Jaime Garcia's PAS elbow in the photo above.
Let's Go To The Tape
I wrote all of the above before I had seen any video of Jaime
Garcia. While I didn't find any high speed video of Jaime
Garcia's pitching mechanics, I did manage to extract some
high-resolution, 60 Frame Per Second video.
I'm not thrilled with what I see.
As I said above, the photo above of Jaime Garcia is quite
unusual. While he's showing good hip/shoulder separation, his
body position is a bit off. If you look at the video below, you
will see that his body position in this photo is the least of
The problem is that Jaime Garcia breaks his hands with his
elbows (see Frame 38). While he doesn't get to the classic
Inverted W or
Inverted L positions, he still develops a timing problem as
The thing to notice is how in Frame 45, as his GS foot
plants and his shoulders start to rotate, Jaime Garcia's PAS
forearm is at least 45 degrees short of vertical. As a result,
in Frame 46, Frame 47, and especially Frame 48 Jaime Garcia's
PAS upper arm is in a very odd position, as if it's dragging
behind his body (and showing some signs of
It hurts my shoulder just to look at Frame 48.
I don't think Jaime Garcia's elbow problems are a
fluke. Like BJ Ryan, I think Jaime
Garcia is headed for Tommy John surgery followed a couple of
years later by shoulder problems.
The bottom line is that Jaime Garcia is not the answer
to my Cardinals' prayers.
I just learned that Jaime Garcia needs Tommy John surgery.
I'm not at all surprised, given his unusual arm action and
resulting timing problem.