Billy Wagner

Ok there is something I don’t understand. Apparently, everyone says Billy Wagner and Joel Zumaya and have the worst mechanics. If this is true, then how can they throw so hard? I thought in order to throw hard you had to have at least decent mechanics. What if those same mechanics work for someone else? Should they still change them? I was just curious because, as some of you have heard, my pitching instructor is having me throw similiar to them, and my elbow feels great (despite tendonitis).

There’s no doubt that Wagner throws hard. However, he’s also had a series of shoulder problems (due to his mechanics) which make him someone you can’t count on from year to year.

I think Zumaya will experience the same fate.

So he has bad mechanics because he is injured? Cant you have good mechs and become injured or is it always the mechs?

you can have the best mechanics and still get hurt, but having bad mechanics will make it much more likely for you to get hurt.

Conditioning can help you tolerate bad mechanics to a point, but ultimately bad mechanics will always cause problems.

So what exactly makes billy wagner’s mechs bad

By getting his elbow so high, it screws up his timing, makes his arm late (e.g. habitual rushing), and increases the load on his shoulder by increasing the rate at with and the force with which his PAS upper arm externally rotates.

There’s no doubt that Wagner throws hard. However, he’s also had a series of shoulder problems (due to his mechanics) which make him someone you can’t count on from year to year.

I think Zumaya will experience the same fate.[/quote]

Keep Zumaya away from Guitar Hero, too.

What do you mean by timing problems? His arm swing is very short, how can he be late? I thought that the short arm swing would get his arm up to the high cocked position sooner.

Because his elbow gets so high, his arm swing is longer than it seems. He also breaks his hands late and gets to foot plant early.

The result is that everything happens EXTREMELY quickly (and forcefully).

His arm swing isn’t short. He has short arms.

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]Because his elbow gets so high, his arm swing is longer than it seems. He also breaks his hands late and gets to foot plant early.[/quote]I don’t agree with either of these.

[quote=“Chris O’Leary”]The result is that everything happens EXTREMELY quickly (and forcefully).[/quote]I do agree with this one.

:worthless:

OK, actually it’s a really good thread. I just wanted to use this new emoticon. :smiley: But if you did have some pics of Wagner’s delivery, it’d be helpful!

http://www.letstalkpitching.com/images/billy_wagner_open_side.mov

Here’s just one from the clips section. Nice emoticon, by the way.

Haha I like it too. So DM do you think that Wagners mechs are bad?

Man, that Wagner sure can throw the living daylights out of that ball! Can’t…stop…watching…clip :shock: .

This is a tossup for me. Sure he has the high elbow, but it doesn’t look like its hampering anything mechanical wise. It seems like more of a mechanism for him to “load up” for the pitch. A style, if you will. But, judging from some of the comments on this forum, the high elbow is a concern for injury. shrug I’m no pitching expert, so I really can’t say if his mechanics are totally wrong or not. He does have great arm action and it seems to flow well after he does poke up his elbow. I don’t really see much wrong with the mechanics. And obviously the Mets don’t either, or they wouldn’t pay him millions of dollars a year to pitch for them :wink: .

Well said, Jay. Your post was very refreshing to read.

It’s pretty amusing when self-proclaimed experts start pontificating on the internet about the “terrible” mechanics of pitchers like Billy Wagner, Mark Prior, Joel Zumaya, or whomever.

It’s just amazing how much expertise some folks are able to develop after only a few years of coaching at the Little League level.

That being said, the “Billy Wagner’s mechanics are terrible” crowd should by all means write and tell him so. Provide him with your plan for improvement.

Ya I see what you guys meen. What if someone changed his arm action? What if then he threw 80 mph? If is mechanics are that terrible, wouldn’t someone have changed his mechanics a long time ago?

The high elbow is a way to create separation and delay external rotation of the arm. Same thing hitters do.


The latissimus dorsi muscle must be used to bring the elbow down to shoulder level as well as the rhomboids “clamping down” the scapula.

Mark Prior’s inverted W is different from Zumaya and Wagner’s because he is very linear, short-arms the ball, and does not rotate his shoulders as much into release. His tempo is too slow as well.

People can say what they want about these guys mechanics, and i’ll agree that maybe teaching to throw like them wouldn’t be necessarily practical. That being said, people talk about Wagner’s durability. Sure he’s had some arm problems, but he’s also averaged about 32 saves for the last 11 seasons. Thats a very effective major league career! He’s also a good bet to get to 400 saves for a career. It’s not as though he’s a sure bet to be on the DL each year. As for Zumaya, the only pitching related injury he’s had albeit in his young career is a ruptured tendon in his right middle finger that came from throwing so damn hard. So sure these guys don’t have effortless smooth mechanics but they also have been very successful throwing the crap outta the ball!