This piece is my original analysis of...
While it's been superceded by better analyses, I've retained it so people can see what I said about Mark Prior, when.
Mark Prior's Pitching Mechanics
I have long believed that the
root cause of Mark Prior's injury problems is his pitching mechanics.
While I have analyzed Mark
Prior's pitching mechanics before, I haven't been able to do
so using high-quality video or from the best angles. As a result,
that has limited the quality of my analysis and the ability of my
readers to see exactly what I'm talking about.
Mark Prior - Frame 23
In Frame 23, Mark Prior is just about to break his hands.
Mark Prior - Frame 24
In Frame 24, Mark Prior has just broken his hands and is starting his arm swing.
Mark Prior - Frame 25
In Frame 25, Mark Prior is continuing his arm swing and is striding toward the plate. Up to this point, I love what I see. Mark Prior's lower body and arm action are pretty much perfect up to this point.
Mark Prior - Frame 26
Frame 26 is where Mark Prior
starts to go off the rails. It's not obvious, but what Mark Prior
is doing is leading his arm swing with his Pitching Arm Side (aka
PAS) elbow. Some people call this breaking the hands with the
elbows. The result is that Mark Prior's PAS elbow will end up much
higher than is safe. That will put him in a position to damage
both his elbow and his shoulder.
Mark Prior - Frame 27
In Frame 27 you can see how Mark Prior has continued his arm swing, and you can see how his PAS elbow has continued to come up. The PAS elbows of Greg Maddux, Roger Clemens, Randy Johnson, and many other great pitchers never get this high during their arm swing.
Mark Prior - Frame 28
In Frame 28, Mark Prior is at a
position that I call the Inverted
W (or simply the "M"). Notice how his PAS elbow is
both above and behind his shoulders and his PAS forearm is hanging
down nearly vertically beneath it.
Mark Prior - Frame 29
In Frame 29, Mark Prior is
landing sharply on his Glove Side (aka GS) heel, but that's the
least of his problems.
Mark Prior - Frame 30
In Frame 30, Mark Prior's
shoulders have just started to turn. Notice that the word
"Trojans" on his chest has shifted to the right as his
hips have started pulling his shoulders around. However, at this
moment Mark Prior's PAS elbow is still extremely high. It is well
above the level of his shoulders in a position of Hyperabduction.
This can lead to an impingement injury of the muscles of the
Rotator Cuff, as well as other problems.
Mark Prior - Frame 31
In Frame 31, Mark Prior's shoulders have continued to rotate and his PAS upper arm has externally rotated, which has caused his PAS forearm to "bounce" or lay back toward 2B. While this looks problematic, it is actually normal and doesn't not have much to do with Mark Prior's problems. This happens to every pitcher's PAS upper arm and forearm.
Mark Prior - Frame 32
In Frame 32, Mark Prior has just released the ball. One thing you can see is that Mark Prior stiffens his GS knee near the release point. This is a trick that some pitchers employ that makes me nervous because I think it can increase the stress on the elbow (and possibly the shoulder as well). There are better, and less stressful, ways of maximizing the rate and distance the hips rotate.
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