Josh Edgin Among First Cuts from Mets Roster

Josh Edgin was one of more than a dozen players booted to Mets minor league camp. Cited was his unimpressive velocity — and we can easily illustrate the reason for his drop in MPH.

In addition to Edgin, the Mets also sent the following players to the minor league section of Port St. Lucie: Erik Goeddel, Steven Matz, Wilfredo Tovar, Cesar Puello, Logan Verrett, Adam Kolarek, Jack Leathersich, John Church, Chase Bradford, Dustin Lawley, Brandon Nimmo, Cory Vaughn, Danny Muno, and Kevin Plawecki.

No real surprises here, other than possibly Edgin, who figured to compete for a LOOGY spot to pair with holdover Scott Rice. But Edgin’s spring appearances were underwhelming, and his velocity is down considerably.

Interestingly, in several blog and news posts regarding Edgin’s demotion, the headline mentions the lefty’s diminished velocity, while also running this photo:

josh-edgin-behind2

This is an excellent photo in that it captures Edgin’s motion at a very, very important time — foot strike, or, the point when the front foot touches the ground. It’s at this point that a pitcher — in order to hurl the ball safely and efficiently — must have the baseball up in the air, at about a 90-degree angle from the bicep section of the throwing arm, which should be about parallel with the ground and pointed somewhat toward the sky. This point is similar to the “launch position” for a hitter — the spot where the batter has his hands at the highest point at the moment his stride foot hits the ground.

Empowered with this knowledge, take another look at Edgin. Where is his left arm? The bicep is about parallel with the ground, but pointing to the ground. The ball and his left hand are at about a 90-degree angle to the bicep, but pointing to the ground. What this means is his arm is WAAAAAAAY behind the rest of his body. As a result, his arm has to do nearly all the work in creating velocity. Ideally, the entire body powers the ball — the upper and lower half work in sync.

How can Edgin fix this? First, he needs to be aware of it. A longer stride might give his arm time to “catch up” to the rest of his body. Maybe there’s a point somewhere earlier in the motion where he’s doing something extra with his hands that’s causing the arm to be behind. I’m not entirely sure, as I haven’t been able to obtain video of him from several angles. But if he is regularly landing with his arm in the position that is illustrated above, then not only does it explain Edgin’s diminished velocity, but it could also lead to an arm injury, because most of the strain of pitching is placed on the arm.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Dave March 11, 2014 at 8:27 am
    It would be interesting to see if this is a change (consciously or unconsciously) Edgin or the team made. The photo in this article, http://www.nj.com/mets/index.ssf/2012/08/lefty_reliever_josh_edgin_hope.html, has it looking like he took a much longer stride back in the end of 2012 when there was hope he could be an effective lefty out of the pen. Obviously the photo is from a different point in the motion but it makes me wonder if the old motion led to injury or pain that caused him to react by shortening his stride.
    • Joe Janish March 11, 2014 at 10:03 am
      Thanks for finding and sharing that photo. Agreed, he had a much longer stride there. If I get some time I may try to find old video footage; the problem is that 99.9% of broadcasts are taken from the CF camera, and what we need to see is the angle from one of the dugouts.
  2. Steven March 11, 2014 at 11:54 am
    Would an undisclosed injury be a reason that he is unable to do the correct motion, given that this issue is so blatant. It was never clear to me what his injury was last year that shut him down the last two months. In todays day and age I presume that someone will see this article and point it out to him (family, agent) if he is not aware already.
    • Joe Janish March 12, 2014 at 9:58 am
      I think there’s a really good chance that an injury has something to do with the decreased velocity and mechanical issue. Pitchers often are told or think they should “pitch through” discomfort.
  3. DanS March 11, 2014 at 4:50 pm
    Do the Mets still have a pitching coach? Just asking…
    • Joe Janish March 12, 2014 at 10:00 am
      I don’t think it’s fair to put the onus of mechanical evaluation on MLB pitching coaches, as they are not trained to fully understand human kinetics / efficient body movement. Teams should have a kinesiologist on staff to do that, and the pitching coaches should stick to what they know best: strategy and mental preparation.
  4. Quinn March 12, 2014 at 8:38 am
    I am a little suprised to see Muno get the pink slip considering he was making what seemed to be daily appearences.
    While I am not a huge fan of Tovar I am suprised they didnt keep him in camp if not simply for the feint of competition at SS for Tejada.
  5. DanS March 14, 2014 at 6:15 pm
    Sorry, Joe, I couldn’t agree less. If your picking coach can’t pick up a problem with mechanics that may be indicative of another, more serious, problem, then I think it’s time for a new pitching coach.