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2019 Preseason Forecast
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|2015-04-07 14:00:00 (link to chat)||Hi Doug, thanks for the chat! What are your thoughts on Perry Husband's idea of Effective Velocity? I've read a few articles back from the summer and fall of 2014 and it seems to make a lot of sense to me. Seems that one of your mentors (I believe), Tom House is a believer too. It makes Trevor Bauer all the more intriguing to me as well. Do you know of any other pitchers who openly advocate it?|
(Shawn from Office)
|I'm a huge fan of EV, and Perry has done some fantastic research on the subject. I remember when he brought the info to us at the NPA 10+ years ago, and though he originally discovered the phenomenon for hitting applications, we immediately saw the value for pitchers. There are some pitchers that have had an intuitive sense for EV (Maddux was famous for this, had sequences based on batter reaction time and pitch location), andI think that the infomation can be even more "effectiuve" when the catcher and coach are on board. (Doug Thorburn)|
|2015-01-21 15:00:00 (link to chat)||How did you begin your study of mechanics? How do you continue that study? |
(bumphillips from Downtown)
|Awesome question, and thanks for the interest.
I began my dive into pitching mechanics at the National Pitching Association, working with Tom House. I wore a lot of hats at the NPA, from coaching to directing the motion analysis program, the latter of which honed my eye for pitching mechanics.
That study continues today, from scouting with Perfect Game to the evaluations of professional players that are seen in Raising Aces. Never stop learning. (Doug Thorburn)
|2014-06-27 14:00:00 (link to chat)||I've been reading through your book with Tom House and was wondering if you had any other suggestions on books to supplement that.|
(asuit11 from South Jersey)
|Thanks for taking an interest in "Arm Action," and I certainly recommend Tom's other books for a good read on pitching, such as "The Art & Science of Pitching" and "The Pitching Edge." He also co-wrote "The Diamond Appraised," with Craig R. Wright, published back in '84, and despite it's age the book provides good insight into the common misconceptions between sabermetrics and coaching/scouting that are still in place today. I also recommend Perry Husband's work on Effective Velocity and how it impact the approach for both hitters and pitchers - check it out here: http://www.hittingisaguess.com/ (Doug Thorburn)|
|2014-06-27 14:00:00 (link to chat)||Is it scientifically proven that a pitcher with a longer stride will have a curve that breaks later?
Although I agree that a longer stride will make a pitchers stuff more effective I suspect the pitcher will adjust his curve to the shorter distance to the plate. So initially having a new long stride will create curves that break too late and end up being up in strike zone. Eventually pitcher adjusts the curve lower.|
(HeftyLefty from CA)
|We studied the issue at the National Pitching Association using high-speed motion capture, and a longer stride is directly correlated to a deeper release point. Check out "Arm Action," the book that I wrote with Tom House, to see some of the scientific evidence: http://www.amazon.com/Action-Path-Perfect-Pitch-Million-Dollar/dp/1606790420
Ideally, that release point should be consistent for all pitch types. The shape of the break will be determined by degree of supination and grip, requiring minimal adjustment to account flight distance of the baseball (which will typically be less than one foot). Of course, this is a much more difficult adjustment for pitchers who use the "twister" curve, with a twist of the wrist near release point. (Doug Thorburn)
|2014-02-28 14:00:00 (link to chat)||I'm in my mid-30s and recently starting playing baseball in an adult wood bat league (not very competitive). I played through high school and pitched a little, put probably never had great mechanics. If I want to try pitching a few innings a few times a month, what advice and books/videos/resources can you suggest to help me stay healthy?|
(Jeff from Maryland)
|I'm guilty of bias here, but Tom House's books are excellent for both mechanics and conditioning. I would start with "The Art and Science of Pitching" and also consider "Fit to Pitch" and "The Pitching Edge." If you are interested in the crazy motion analysis stuff that we did at the NPA, (shameless plug incoming) then check out "Arm Action, Arm Path, and the Perfect Pitch," which I co-authored with House.
On the jukebox: Metallica, "Creeping Death" (Doug Thorburn)
|2014-02-28 14:00:00 (link to chat)||Does Ian Kennedy have a chance to resurrect his career and become a viable SP again in San Diego? Thanks|
(Tony from The Tundra)
|Absolutely. is baseline mechanics are awesome, and though his stuff may not be elite, he has proven successful when his delivery is honed timing-wise.
Bonus points for his new location, not just for the friendly home park, but now he is a 15-minute drive from his old pitching coach, Mr. Tom House. (Doug Thorburn)
|2013-12-20 14:00:00 (link to chat)||Blue Jays have implemented a weighted ball program, what is your opinion of it? You talk about functional strength, does this address it? Thanks|
(SJE from Canada)
|I am a huge fan of the weighted ball program, which has been spearheaded in the Toronto organization by Jamie Evans, who is an NPA guy (National Pitching Association, my former workplace). We actually developed the weighted ball program at the NPA with Tom House, and the key is to keep the differential weights within a narrow range - under-weighted baseballs at 4oz and over-weighted at 6 oz. There is also a conditioning and training program that goes hand-in-hand with the weighted ball program to safely build velocity. (Doug Thorburn)|
|2013-11-22 14:00:00 (link to chat)||What books on pitching do you reccomend me reading? I'm still working on Dollar Sign on the Muscle though |
(Tim from NYC )
|Dollar Sign is amazing, so finish that up first. Apologies for the homerism, but if you want to know about the fundamentals of pitching as well as the gory details, then I recommend Tom House's "The Art and Science of Pitching." And if you are interested in high-speed motion analysis and the flaws inherent in the conventional wisdom of pitching coaches, then I have to throw in a shameless plug for the book that I co-authored with Tom - "Arm Action, Arm Path, and the Perfect Pitch" (Doug Thorburn)|
|2013-10-11 14:00:00 (link to chat)||Doug - Would love to get your take on the weighted ball program that purportedly resurrected the career of Steve Delabar and that is now being used by many on the Blue Jays' staff. Thank you.|
(R.A. Wagman from markham)
|I am a huge fan of the weighted ball program, which we utilized heavily at the National Pitching Association (using 4oz and 6oz baseballs). The weighting is important, as the lighter ball develops the quick-twitch muscles while the heavier one encourages arm strength, but it is important not to go too far beyond +/- 1 oz. Delabar actually began using the program while working with my old boss, Tom House, and NPA guy Jaime Evans has carried the use of weighted baseballs with him to the Blue Jays staff. (Doug Thorburn)|
|2012-11-09 14:00:00 (link to chat)||How hard do you figure you could throw now? How about before you started studying pitcher mechanics and such?|
(Kristof from Seahaven)
|I blew out my shoulder in high school, but I was never on anyone's draft board, as a groundball-inducing lefty who relied on a splitter and an over-the-top delivery to be effective. The injury was a torn rotator cuff that was misdiagnosed at the time, and though I have learned to throw pain-free (thank you Tom House), I would probably be lucky to crack 70-mph. But I do have decent accuracy (after a dozen or so warmup throws), as well as some natural cut to everything that I throw, elements that I can attribute to what I have learned about pitching mechanics (as well as personal signature).
On the jukebox: Van Halen, "AFU (naturally wired)" (Doug Thorburn)
|2012-05-25 14:00:00 (link to chat)||Craig Wright talks about trying 4 or 5 pitchers as knuckle ballers in the Rangers organization. (In The Diamond Appraised) At least 20 years ago. My often faulty memory says that only one made the majors. Not as bad as it sounds since they were already somewhat failed prospects.|
(Steve N from Delaware)
|The Diamond Appraised was groundbreaking, though I am obviously biased (Tom House co-authored the book with Wright). They had some great ideas back then, but the technology in the naive stages of research, and our modern appreciation of pitcher timing would create a roadblock to such an experiment today (Doug Thorburn)|
|2012-03-14 13:30:00 (link to chat)||In the wake of Bauer's "crazy" training habits, I'm remembering how the Rangers threw footballs on their offdays in the 80s: did that catch on? I want to say Tom House was the pitching coach: exercising my neurons rather than googling.|
(JT from Exhibition Stadium)
|After Googling rather than exercising my neurons, this is what I found: "When he was pitching coach for the Rangers, House had his pitchers warm up by tossing a football. He since has acknowledged some of his methods were incorrect, a fact that bothers some who wonder why he didn't take the time to fully research his practices before implementing them."
I haven't seen any Bad Spring Training Twitpics of pitchers throwing footballs, so I'm guessing this didn't catch on. By the way, if you didn't click on that link in the last sentence, do. (Ben Lindbergh)
|2008-07-09 13:00:00 (link to chat)||Good answer, Will, thanks. Chris Lincecum seemed very dogmatic to me, reminding me of Mike Marshall a bit, though the latter's ideas are much more heterodox, of course. Do you feel that there is a particularly high amount of rigid thinking in and around the biomechanics area - clearly there is too much, but do you think it somehow lends itself to individual orthodoxies? Given the amount of scientific or semi-scientific inputs within the field, I would expect a moe circumspect attitude in general (like yours).|
(Mike W from Chicago)
|Yeah, I agree. No one has the right answers, but Chris Lincecum at least has one major leaguer he can point to and say "see, my stuff works." I owe so much of what I know to Tom House, who took time out of his busy schedule to help someone like me when I knew next to nothing, that it will always form the base of what I know. But Tom changes when he learns something new and I think I learned that as well. I think what Ron Wolforth does might be the closest to what I teach, though he's far more concerned with velocity than I am. I'm always willing to listen and learn. Mike Marshall has a lot of solid science behind what he does and as I wrote in my book, I think certain parts of his motion can be used, especially the simple driveline. (Will Carroll)|
|2008-07-09 13:00:00 (link to chat)||Will, if a pitcher wanted to develop or work on a new pitch, how would they go about doing so? Do they just throw it more? Are there certain arm exercises they do?|
(Chris from Chicago)
|This is a really broad question. I always say I can teach someone to throw a new pitch in about ten minutes. Patrick Hruby proved that to be something of an exaggeration when he watched me teach a group of kids the gyroball for an ESPN article. Took me about half an hour. To MASTER a pitch takes a lot longer. I'm relatively sure that it was Tom House that said it takes 1000 pitches in practice to master a pitch. Then again, some guys will never get a pitch for various reasons. I killed myself to teach a kid a breaking ball, but then I noticed something in his delivery, tried teaching him a screwball, and it worked like that. (Will Carroll)|
No BP Roundtables have mentioned this guy.