Listen to Kinesiology Expert Tonight
Tonight on “Inside China Basin,” Joe Castellano will be interviewing Sport Kinesiologist Angel Borrelli, a scientist who focuses specifically on the pitching motion.
FYI, China Basin is an area within San Francisco; the podcast is focused on the baseball Giants. Though this is not a Giants blog, obviously, some of you may be interested in listening — and perhaps calling in questions to — the show.
The show airs live at 9:30 p.m. EST (6:30 p.m. PST) on Spreecast, and welcomes callers.
Thanks and all the best,
House spent many years experimenting on young professional arms with only bits of knowledge — the Rangers pitchers of the 1980s were virtual guinea pigs. Maybe after 30 years of playing mad scientist some of the paint he’s been throwing on the wall has finally stuck, but in general he’s dangerous because he’s always used science the way many use statistics – applying the bits and pieces that fit his personal theories.
I did some cursory research on the story you cite — the pitcher is Steve Delabar. If indeed Delabar is throwing in the mid-90s because of House, then I expect to see dozens if not hundreds of pitchers throwing 95+ next year.
The point about staying perpendicular to the plate till your foot lands was well articulated. I’d always assumed that, to get the toe pointing toward home, you’d land with your hips already partly pointing home, as most pitchers do.
Dr. Borrelli’s description of what she teaches pitchers certainly makes it sound as if pitching coaches are not well equipped to do even the instructional part. It seems to me like the thing she wants pitching coaches to handle is observing stuff in a pitcher’s motion with the naked eye, spotting fatigue and flaws. Once a flaw is spotted, fixing it is the province of the scientists. Sounds worth a shot…
I like her take on pitch counts: pull a guy when he’s tired, regardless of what the pitch count is.
(If the Mets had done that from 1997-2001, Rick Reed would have gone 9-2 with a 3.20 ERA in 150 innings every year.)
Then correlate the recovery to how many pitches he threw, and he’ll be in good shape for next time, and ought to be able to build pitch counts through the season. This is actually what the big innings guys did in the 1980s and much of the 1990s. In 1993, Randy Johnson averaged 115 pitches per start in May and 137 pitches per start in September.
As for landing, the toe ideally would be partially closed — similar to how batters land in their stride (in fact hitting and throwing are incredibly similar acts). The front/landing foot then pivots as the hips explode. If a pitcher lands with an open toe, the hips are likely to also be open, which means they won’t have much affect on velocity.
Yes, pitching coaches are not well equipped to even COMMENT on mechanics. Even less equipped are knuckleheads like Mitch Williams — who regularly spouts off about pitching mechanics to millions of people on TV.
Re: pitch counts, recovery, and work load — when I coached NCAA pitchers we had a progressive throwing schedule that worked starters up to 180 pitches every 7th day. That may seem incredible but we factored in pregame bullpen session and between-inning warmups (plus 15 pitches per inning). Kids reached that amount over a 8-12 week period. I wonder how many MLB teams factor in warmups when doing their pitch counts?