Jacob Bukauskas was signed by UNC after his freshman year in HS. He went to summer school so he could skip his senior year and start college a year early at 17 years of age… However after some serious weight training in the off season took him from a slender 170 lbs to 195, his low 90’s fastball has jumped to the upper 90’s, hitting 99 at a recent pro scout day. He stands 6’-1”.
Has UNC lost their recruit? Below a link to his vid on Skillshow.
He was sitting at 95 in two spring scrimmages and hit 97 in his home opener Friday night. He was occasionally wild high Friday but is consistently within the sometimes generous HS strike zone. And if the zone is at all big, no chance, as threw 25 straight strikes in one scrimmage earlier this spring striking out 9 in a row. He has excellent command of a late breaking slider thrown in the mid 80’s and he mixes in a change-up not because he currently needs it, but rather he understands what lay ahead. Perfect Games reports he can “flat out pitch” and I’ve read nothing but complements regarding his maturity, composure, and work ethic.
What’s not to like? Size was a question mark but he has addressed that as much as possible. His only problem is he is so good, so young. It’s been reported Jacob wouldn’t turn 18 until October after the draft thus he would likely be the youngest player taken.
His lower body mechanics resemble Verlander with a big step over. Interestingly, his upper body mechanics are not very Verlander like at all IMO. I’m seeing a strong symmetrical W (scap load) from Bukauskas as compared to Verlanders circle up arm path.
[quote]Jacob Bukauskas, RHP, Stone Bridge HS (VA)
Yet another prep power arm who is rising fast, Bukauskas is a 6’-1”, 200 pound right-hander who has been hitting the upper 90s this spring. He adds two potential secondary offerings in a deceptive change-up with late fade and a tight slider. He has great command of all three and has been blowing away the opposition this season with 50 K/3 BB over 22.2 shutout innings, allowing just seven hits. He is generating a lot of first-round buzz due to his three-pitch mix, command and upside. Committed to North Carolina.[/quote]
Nice clips of a pitcher whose mechanics illustrates just about all the biomechanical throwing conceptS that I developed at SETPRO which are:
Throwing a baseball efficiently and effectively is simply a matter of developing and transferring momentum from the core of the body to the fingertips.
Throwing a baseball efficiently and effectively is simply a matter of rotation and coupling that rotation efficiently and effectively.
Throwing a baseball efficiently and effectively is simply a matter of developing momentum rapidly i.e. TEMPO.
Throwing a baseball efficiently and effectively is not about stride length, pushing off the rubber or any of the other “cues” that are called “good mechanics”.
Throwing a baseball effectively and efficiently is not about arm strength per se. It’s about the ability of the arm to withstand the whipping forces created by effective utilization of the body’s rotation to throw the baseball.
The biomechanics and kinesiology of throwing a baseball efficiently and effectively includes the following SETPRO concepts>
Equal and opposite.
Rotation into foot plant.
Bow Flex Bow sequence.
Rotation around the front hip joint.
Pulling the Scaps back together to create the throwing “fishhook”.
All of these add up to maximum throwing efficiency which results in the least amount of effort to produce the greatest return on that effort which includes velocity, movement, and control. Efficiency and effectiveness typified by a number such as :
Unlike Kyle Boddy whose 25 min.diatribe ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5vo0SRBxjd0 ) on everything and anything that he can think of to make him sound like he knowS something, throwing a baseball, throwing a baseball efficiently and effectively is relatively simple IF you ACTUALLY KNOW the fundamentals of how the body actcreate efficient and effective throwing.
Would that others would pitch with 20% of the intent Bukauskas did - the world would surely be a more fun place to watch pitching in.
As for the SETPRO 2.0 stuff (really 1.0 since there have been no iterative developments on it, constantly seeing Paul repeat the same information over and over convinced there is nothing else to find), I have no interest in engaging Paul since he’s incapable of having a reasonable conversation where he might actually learn something new.
Indeed! Thanks for the response XJ. I only hope readers recognize and appreciate the value of your above summation as it represents many years of intense study and accumulated knowledge to be found nowhere else.
Indeed! Thanks for the response XJ. I only hope readers recognize and appreciate the value of your above summation as it represents many years of intense study and accumulated knowledge to be found nowhere else.[/quote]
Well said, HG!
I owe everything to Paul’s work! By far and away, the best out there!
This pitcher’s mechanics are classic Setpro, for sure, and I knew Paul would like them. Three pitchers immediately came to mind for me when watching the videos: Sonny Gray, John Smoltz, and Bob Feller. Paul, any thoughts on that?
WARNING THE FOLLOWING POST BORDERS ON “yardbirdian” VERBOSENESS. READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED
Yes, intent is a very important component. But you can have all the intent in the world and still not achieve anything close to maximum throwing efficiency and effectiveness.
It’s my opinion that Bauer has great intent but doesn’t throw with the best efficiency which then affects his effectiveness.
I take great pride that the concept that first developed almost 15 years ago with respect to how the body swings and throws have changed very little. To me that says I had it right from the very beginning i.e. an understanding of what it takes to optimally swing and throw. As opposed to what I would call the pitching instruction reinvention syndrome where every to three years the pitching guru needs to make a new discovery in our to continue to be relevant i.e. sell product and services.
From my perspective developing throwing swing effect of this boils down to three fundamental areas:
Mechanics and when I say mechanics I’m talking about classical mechanics i.e. the physics aspect of throwing in swinging.
Biomechanics which from my perspective is how the body satisfies the physics requirements of optimally throwing and swinging.
Kinesiology/motor learning and control i.e. how the body acquires and affects movement skills.
From a mechanics perspective and to a large degree I feel very comfortable with what I have learned over these almost 20 years regarding the physics and biomechanics of throwing in swinging. When you see players such as Bukauskas whom body all of the key physics and biomechanics elements that I’ve talked about for years what else am I supposed to “uncover”??
Because from my perspective based on my own attempts to swing and throw as well as working with many players the physics and biomechanics mean little or nothing. What really matters is finding a way to get the player to move their body in such a fashion as to satisfy the mechanics and biomechanics that are typical of all high level pitchers. So why should I waste my time trying to find something “new” that would have little or no value to developing a player’s throwing in swing capabilities.
Anyone who is familiar with SETPRO and Wolforth knows that up until the time that I did my first seminar for Wolforth he nothing more than a Tom House spokesman. Six weeks after I did my first seminar he came out with the Athletic Pitcher Program which was largely based upon the information I presented at the seminar. The athletic pitcher program is based almost entirely upon developing intent to throw the baseball. And as I said previously you can have all of the intent in the world but still be mechanically inefficient.
So from my perspective and what I spent the last 10 years trying to do (new stuff) is to understand how the body acquires and develops movement skills.
One thing I’ve learned regarding the acquisition of movement skills is that any attempted talk about individual muscles and what they’re doing is exercising foolishness in futility. Why? Because there are an infinite number of ways that the body can achieve a specific movement pattern. And even for the most well practiced movement pattern it never occurs the same way twice with respect to how the body uses its neuromuscular system.
So whenever summary starts talking about muscles and their role in throwing a baseball I cringe. Because it has very little if any value with respect to teaching players how to optimally throw the baseball, my opinion. Why? Because how do they actually exert conscious control over those muscles during a ballistic activity such as throwing a baseball 90+ miles per hour?
And if you think they’re so important then how does one explain the following?
[quote]The Ulnar Collateral Ligament in the inner part of your elbow is necessary for daily functions. The UCL is necessary to turn a doorknob. The UCL
is necessary to throw something. Many pitchers have torn their UCL and have never been the same type of thrower.
Well, one pitcher was born without a UCL. Yet that pitcher, R.A. Dickey, is still going strong today at the age of 35.
In 1996, Dickey was living the dream. He was part of the 1996 US Olympic Baseball team that won bronze in the Games. About a month before the
Opening Ceremonies, Dickey was selected by the Texas Rangers with the 18th pick overall. Dickey was going to have a huge signing bonus.
Until the Baseball America cover, Dickey, a hard-throwing right-hander from the University of Tennessee, was on Baseball America’s 1996 Olympic
preview cover along with fellow USA starting pitchers Kris Benson, Billy Koch, Seth Greisinger, and Braden Looper.
Dickey was looking to accept the Rangers’ $810,000 bonus offered until an odd twist of fate occurred.
A team doctor picked up that issue of Baseball America and noticed that Dickey’s right arm was hanging rather awkwardly at his side. The physician
recommended the Rangers examine Dickey further, leading to an incredibly bizarre discovery.
It was found out that R.A. Dickey, a man who had never felt pain in his arm before, was missing the Ulnar Collateral Ligament, the primary tissue
in the elbow that stabilizes the elbow.
So the Rangers then pulled their offer of $810,000 and replaced it with a far cheaper deal of $75,000.[/quote]
The explanation is simple (for me anyways) the body is incredible machine that has an affair number ways of solving a movement goal. In other words there is an infinite number ways to use one’s muscles to achieve a movement task.
Your attempting to describe what’s happening with muscle groups during the pitching process is starting to sound a lot like Mike Marshall and Yardbird, again my opinion.
And then attempting to support your belief system with your peer-reviewed studies starts to sound like Brent Porciau and his attempt to support his propaganda by pulling any and every study can find.
When it comes to how the body awfully throws the baseball these studies are nothing more than very small pieces of a very large puzzle. And trying to assemble this puzzle requires expertise in many disciplines including physics, mechanics, physiology, motor learning, kinesiology to name a few.
And based upon my experience with the medical community I would say the least beneficial expertise with respect to how the body optimally throws his understanding human anatomy i.e. the medical profession.
I also challenge you or anyone else to tell me exactly what of value was contained in what I call your 25 min. diatribe? And what I mean a value is what could be applied by the average person here? To me it was nothing more than an attempt to show how much you know what in the process showing how little you do know. And if that sounds harsh that must be taken contacts with your attempts to question SETPRO concepts such as equal and opposite, inverted W and the like. I’ve been at this too long and have many people who have had great success with the SETPRO concepts allow someone such as yourself a free ride when and if you want to challenge my knowledge of how to awfully throw a baseball.
I’ll end “my diatribe” with a little plug from someone else. That someone else is Derek Johnson who for many years guided van about University and many of their pitches to the Major Leagues. Derek is now Minor League Pitching Coordinator for the Chicago Cubs and this is what he had to say when asked Johnson who he felt most influenced his ideas and philosophies as a pitching coach.
First let me say that a pitcher does not need to “overtly” display all of the SETPRO biomechanical “mandates” that I listed in order to optimally throw the baseball.
It simply a matter of developing maximum rotational momentum and then converting that momentum into a whipping action to throw the baseball.
John Smoltz is the picture that made me understand the importance of arm action in throwing the baseball and specifically was the poster boy for the inverted W. The inverted W as I called it embodied a number of important biomechanical concepts. One of the most important was creating the “loop in the whip”. How many times we heard about a pitcher having a very whippy arm action. While the inverted W in my opinion is a precursor to developing this whipping action.
And contrary to what spans spectrum of misbelief, purposeful misinformation, and simple stupidity the inverted W does not, never did mean lifting the elbow above the shoulders. Part of it was a problem my part possibly in that I should’ve called it something else i.e. the flat W or the lazy W. I use the term inverted W because in my mind it emphasized that the throw began much earlier in the delivery than most people thought i.e. it actually started before handbrake but handbrake was important reference point that as soon as the hands start to separate that’s when the throw began. And for most pitchers this meant that the forearm was in the downward pointing position. Combine this with pinching the scapula i.e. scapula loading and you get the inverted W at least in my mind you did.
Bob Feller was another important biomechanical model in particular his step over move i.e. rotating into foot plant. Feller does much more than the step over move but he is a great example that emphasizes this important rotational momentum generator.
I really hadn’t looked at Sonny Gray until this post. Again he’s a Vanderbilt product i.e. Dereck Johnson. But Derek will be the first to say that the best coaching he did with Gray was simply to do nothing other than let the kid throw the baseball. Said the same thing to me about Price. What’s interesting about Gray is he has a relatively high arm slot, almost identical to Bauer. Which then gets me thinking about doing comparison…
Clip taken a Bauer from August 9 game, sixth inning strikeout to end the inning, 95 mph fastball. Clip of Gray taken his last outing 96 mph fastball.
Bauer listed at 6’1" 190 pounds, Gray listed at 5’11" 195 pounds.
Interesting similarities and also demonstrates that small changes mean a world of difference with respect to throwing the baseball at this level of competition.
Bukauskas hit 100 on some guns Monday striking out 18. Article in the Washington Post today along with a video.
Blistering fastball has Stone Bridge RHP JB Bukauskas rocketing up MLB draft boards
[quote]As a high school junior who planned to graduate after three years, Bukauskas had to submit paperwork required by the MLB Commissioner’s Office to become eligible for the 2014 draft.
He was cleared in early January, and MLB scouts soon began to visit. They wanted to see if Bukauskas had increased the velocity of his pitches after he took the fall off to add weight to his 6-foot-1 frame. When scouts last saw him pitch at the Perfect Game Underclass All-American Games in San Diego in August, his fastball topped out at 93 mph.
With a focus on squatting exercises, Bukauskas added 30 pounds to bring his weight to 195, and in late February several MLB scouts flocked to Sterling’s Pinkman Baseball Academy, where Bukauskas trains with his off-field pitching coach and the academy’s founder, John Pinkman.
After a brief warmup, Bukauskas threw the fastball that changed everything. The number ‘98’ appeared on the LED scoreboard connected to Pinkman’s Stalker radar gun, and the scouts in attendance looked at one another.
Pinkman, who hadn’t seen a high school pitcher reach that speed in years, asked one of the scouts to retrieve his radar gun out of the car. Several pitches later, the scout’s gun read 99[/quote]
Almost forgot…did someone mention the old mule kicker? :alieneyes: :alieneyes:
Yes! The mule kick lower body action is exactly why I compared him to Feller. And that got me thinking. Bob Feller probably had no idea what he looked like while throwing the ball until after reaching the major leagues and was video taped then. Video wasn’t very readily available at that time, and I’d be willing to guess that on the farm in Van Meter, Iowa, there wasn’t any video. That got me to thinking- how would I throw if I didn’t know or care what I looked like, and had no worries about injury? I like that idea!
When Bukauskas committed to UNC he was no more than a 3rd to 5th round draft pick.
So now what? When you are throwing up triple digit numbers in a years time at that age, you are going to be offered some serious money. I just can’t imagine the pressure on that kid and everyone around him to keep that arm healthy until the check clears. So that’s progress now a days.
Feller…his biggest worry was making sure all the farm chores got done before he went off to school in the morning. That was an arm that only comes along once every hundred years. He was signed at the age of 16 by Cy Slapnicka for a dollar bill and an autographed baseball.
As pointed out in previous posts Bukauskas’s delivery shares several characteristics with other elite level throwers so I thought it might be informative to have a look at those mentioned… Gray, Smoltz, Bukauskas, Feller.
Over the weekend I’ll try and add some more detailed clips as time permits. I’d like to explore some of those thorny questions surrounding the so called linear vs rotational debate, such as why Gray and Lincecum are able to take tremendous strides without seeming to compromise their rotational abilities, and why the vast majority shouldn’t be trying this at home.
I find Bukauskas to be more efficient in several areas, tempo (ie aggressive later hand break leading to more efficient arm path), rapid scap load and unloading actions (note the glove arm/hand John Smoltz like reaction ), rotation around front hip joint. Is JB “whipping” and Bundy “muscling”? As Paul Nyman has said you have to create a good loop if you want to crack the whip.
I’ll clean the above thoughts up in a later post. In the meantime what do you think?
Video comparisons can be an effective learning method but there are some obvious limitations one needs to be aware of. We are usually limited to the video that can scrounged up off the internet which is oftentimes shot and captured at speeds other than 30fps. Add in all the other variables such as different camera angles, different field conditions, along with various pitch types, and it becomes obvious that precise comparisons are very difficult to achieve. Obviously the ideal comparison would be two pitchers throwing the same pitch type, in the same game, shot with the same camera zoom and angle…which is going to be really tough for Feller, and difficult for Bukauskas…at least for awhile.
Nonetheless, keeping the above in mind a high level of precision is not always required to do significantly revealing comparisons depending on what your looking for. With already too much said, I’ll be playing around in the archives and cutting room this weekend to see if I can come up with something that the seriously interested might enjoy.
Given the instructional purpose of this site, I suspect many a hard working parent is wondering what the hell can be taken away from all this verbosity. I can only suggest that you follow JB‘s lead.
The beauty of Bukauskas is in the simplicity and directness of what he does. Quantitatively inclined engineers prefer to call it “efficiency”, the measure of input/output ratios. Those of a more artistic bent might explain it as “doing the most with the least“, minimalism”, or “less is more”.
Whatever you want to call it… all begins with one simple move, beautifully illustrated by JB.
(Insider tip: lack of political correctness proven to add 5 mph)
Practice this standing up and without stride.
Repeat until perfected. (Note: definition of perfection an eternal work in progress)
All else are footnotes.
Unfortunately 95% of those who do this drill will make the mistake of thinking they have accomplished throwing 101. Consequently they either stop doing it, or cease to focus on it in a “deliberate” manner.
I’ll hazard that 1 in a 1000 will truly master this drill to the point of becoming an elite level thrower. Understandably one might think everyone will end up looking the same… but it doesn’t happen. Uniqueness will always shine through.
Be prepared for a long and joyful process…
[b]“Describing the act of throwing, endlessly complicated… teaching the throw itself, very simple.”
My translation of course…
Sorry I don’t have any 3B view videos right now. Hopefully those with more computer “know how” will capture one of many clips out there and post it here in a usable format, preferably a GIF. or AVI. In the meantime… once again…
[quote]The 6-foot-1 right-hander threw 88 pitches (64 strikes) in posting his first seven-inning complete game of the season and improving to 4-0. With more than 20 scouts in attendance, his fastball was recorded between 94-96 mph in the first inning and it still ranged from 92-94 in the seventh.
He hit 97 mph on his first pitch of the game.[/quote]
Good question. Hopefully Paul Nyman will jump in here and elaborate on the work he has done in this area. Regards Bundy and Bukauskas I don’t think they are physically equal which I’ll get into later. My guess is Bundy would be able to lift more weight if they had a contest tomorrow, especially upper body lifts.
Efficiency can be defined in several ways.
Our concern is primarily with mechanical efficiency.
I recall Nyman having attempted some general calculations regarding input and output for pitchers at one time. It’s likely you would need to get both pitchers into a biomechanics lab to get the quantifiable data necessary to do a valid comparison… an interesting dissertation perhaps.
Nyman has also used frame counting to measure tempo and quickness. For instance how many frames, at 30 fps, does it take for a pitcher to go from peak knee lift to release and from hand break to release. For instance if the videos of Bundy and Bukauskas are both 30 fps Bundy breaks his hands sooner than Bukauskas and ends up taking a longer, slower (more frames) arm path to release.
Yes the exit speeds might be the same, the question being how it’s generated.
The Washington Post article said Bukuaskas packed on 30lbs of muscle over the winter. Which means, he went from 165 lbs to195 lbs. Perhaps a slight exaggeration as his size has always been a question mark. How much of this is muscle compared to body fat, and how long he will hold onto this weight over the course of the season is questionable. I saw him pitch last year and he was indeed a skinny little kid, yet throwing 92 mph.
I think all the weight he has put on was driven more by his desire to get ready for college than the draft… it just so happened, it added 7 mph and has changed his status dramatically.
Bundy was known for his physical training going back to when he was a young kid working out with his older brother. I recall an article saying he had a key to the school gym so he could go lift whenever he wanted which was sometimes right after he pitched. Physically he has always been a bit of a man child and I doubt he suddenly gained 30 lbs between his sophomore and junior year as did Bukauskas.
IMO Bakauskas has likely had very efficient mechanics going back many years and it is the added weight and strength that caused him to jump into the upper 90’s. More so…than say, a mechanical adjustment in his delivery. Also Bukauskas just turned 17 in October?
[quote]“He puts big numbers on the radar gun,” a national crosshecker said. “He was 96 or 97 the day I saw him. He’s a little guy with a big arm, but he’s not as big as Dylan Bundy and it’s not a smooth delivery like Bundy. It’s max effort. It’s a big arm in a little body.”
Agreed he may not be quite the physical specimen that Bundy is, as already discussed above. However he throws equivalent velocities not because he has a “big arm in a little body” but because of his exceptional throwing technique…and his body certainly isn’t “little” any more.
Fortunately for Bukauskas those who think along similar lines will pass on him should he decide to go Pro. It’s likely this attitude caused many teams to pass on the likes of Billy Wagner. Bukauskas’s personal situation is obviously entirely different but his physical transformation and drive are very similar.
[quote]THE BOY WAS SHORT and wispy, only 135 pounds as a senior, so the few professional scouts who came around the baseball field at Tazewell High always told coach Lucian Peery, "He’s too small.
" Coaches from Virginia Tech came by to watch the boy throw, too, but left saying the same thing. But by the time Billy Wagner was a sophomore at tiny Ferrum College, the scouts were back and the coaches from bigger colleges who spurned him were trying to convince him to transfer. Peery, who was Wagner’s coach at Tazewell, always thought Wagner’s immense desire would take him "as far as he wanted to go. He was always full-speed, whether he was shagging fly balls in the outfield and wanted to catch every one or running sprints while some of the other boys were moving maybe half-speed. "He worked harder as an athlete than anybody I saw in 25 years of coaching.
" Wagner grew four inches to 5-11 in college and added 30 pounds of muscle with weightlifting, Peery said. He added zip to his fastball and suddenly baseball wasn’t just a refuge for Wagner anymore - it was a career. After his junior year, he was taken 12th overall by the Astros in the 1993 draft.[/quote]
More details on how the Bukauskas transformation took place.
[quote]The gains he’s showed in his velocity this spring didn’t happen by accident.
Bukauskas worked extensively over the winter with his high school head coach, Sam Plank; his high school pitching coach John Griffin; with John Pinkman, who runs the Pinkman Baseball Academy and is his personal pitching coach; and with his father, Ken Bukauskas.
The first thing the group did, according to Jacob Bukauskas, was eliminate a lot of the running from his training regimen, since that was counter-productive to his efforts to add muscle weight. It was an effective strategy as Bukauskas put on about 25 pounds and is now listed at 6-foot-1, 195-pounds, up from the 6-1, 170 he registered at the Perfect Game Underclass All-American Games in San Diego in August.
He attributes his gains in velocity not only to his added weight but also to a strength program put together by Plank and his father, Ken. Most of the added strength and muscle is in his legs, and he also credits some assistance he received from several Stone Bridge High School football players.
“Some of the football players showed me around the weight room a little bit and they showed me that the ‘squat rack’ was definitely the place for a pitcher to be,” Bukauskas said. “That’s where I spent most of my time this winter and most of the weight has been added to my legs, but I did a little bit of upper body stuff, too.”
And that is where a pitcher has to exercise some caution.
“I’ve got great coaches around here that have told me that I need to be careful when doing upper body stuff just for obvious reasons – you don’t want to hurt your shoulder or your back or anything like that,” Bukauskas said. “With the upper body lifting, it was just mostly a lot of light weight stuff. But it was with the squats where we definitely focused a lot of our energy on, and I attribute most of the (added) velocity to my legs.”
He also credits Pinkman for helping him tweak his mechanics ever so slightly, which allowed him to pick up some velocity as well as improving his command of off-speed pitches. And he doesn’t want to down-play the influence of his father.
“My dad, he’s kind of the guy I can always lean on to talk about everything that’s going on with the decision that will be coming up soon,” Bukauskas said. “He helps me keep my head on straight and focus on baseball, and keep my mind on schoolwork and everything else I need to focus on; he tells me the other stuff will take of itself if I keep doing the right things. He’s my quote-unquote ‘rock’ that I lean on all the time for advice and stuff like that.”[/quote]