High Arm Slot Pitchers

They were talking about how high Joe Blanton’s armslot was, and my inquisitive nature got a hold of me. Who are some other MLB pitchers who have very high arm slots? What does this naturally do for the pitcher and what does it look like to a batter?

Tim Lincecum comes to mind, of course his height may offset that.

As for what it does to the ball im not quiet sure, possibly more 6-12 rotation on the fastball and more 12-6 rotation on curveball. Lincecum isnt the greatest example of what it would look like to the batter seeing as he is only 5’9, but the ball would appear to come in on a more downward plane.

What does this do to the ball and what how does this change the view from the batter?

Some high arm slots:

Chris Young, Jon Rauch, Ben Sheets, Hideki Okajima, Yovani Gallardo, Felix Hernandez just to name a few.

Even though this goes against conventional thinking, does this naturally produce pronation and tail on the ball?

Blanton, Hernandez, and Young all have good two-seam movement. I’m not sure about Gallard, Okajima, or Rauch.

[quote=“Bakersdozen”]Even though this goes against conventional thinking, does this naturally produce pronation and tail on the ball?

Blanton, Hernandez, and Young all have good two-seam movement. I’m not sure about Gallard, Okajima, or Rauch.[/quote]

I think you can have good 2 seam movement from any slot. Young doesn’t really get 2 seam movement, but his ball has very good 4 seam “carry.” He throws fastballs at 86-88 right by guys.

Rauch’s fastball is fairly straight but he gets really good downhill angle from his slot and 6-11 height. Okajima’s ball is fairly straight.

Doesn’t a low 3/4 arm slot or sidearm definitely get easy tail?

Yeah, most sinker guys are low 3/4 to 3/4 but it’s not impossible to do so from a high slot. High slot guys do generally have straighter fastballs.

when the ball is coming out of a high arm slot it confuses the batter
they see the ball coming at a downward angle and they feel they have to swing under the ball for good contact
alot of rays were swing under blantons fastball and over his curve

Mike Mussina is another example. He has good movement on his 2 seam and a pretty dirty 12-6 curve. So maybe it does help but I wouldn’t say thats the reason pitchers do it

Bakersdozen, palo20:

To see an idealized view of the effect of different armslots on the spin axis of an RHP’s 2-seam fastball, check out this short animation:

That’s just one of four related clips, but you can easily find the others at YouTube if you like.

As far as “extra” types of movement on 2-seam fastballs goes, most experienced pitchers believe that you must apply some asymmetric finger pressure to the ball at release.

Yes.

The lower the arm slot, the more natural tail.

How about bigger curve with higher arm slot? Sandy Koufax just basically ‘threw over the top’ and his curve is just plain rainbow

Tom Gordon is another acclaimed high slot guy

[quote]Yes.

The lower the arm slot, the more natural tail.[/quote]

just to add on

i believe this comes from throwing across the body more
when throwing from a lower arm slot your arm comes around more instead of up and down with a high arm slot

re: “i believe this comes from throwing across the body more
when throwing from a lower arm slot your arm comes around more instead of up and down with a high arm slot”

-------“Throwing across the body” has nothing to do with the tailing movement of a sidearmer’s fastball.

It arises because the Magnus force on a spinning fastball released from any pitcher acts in the same direction as the ball’s spin. An “over-the-top” pitcher’s fastball will have a horizontal spin axis and 6-to-12 backspin…so its “movement” is directly opposed to the downward gravitational force, giving a pretty straight fastball that simply stays up longer than most hitters expect. A sidarmer’s fastball has a vertical spin axis and the Magnus force also acts in the direction of this ball’s spin–however, the spin direction is side-to-side for a sidearmer, so the spin-generated Magnus force does not oppose gravity but causes the ball to tail.

[quote]A sidarmer’s fastball has a vertical spin axis and the Magnus force also acts in the direction of this ball’s spin–however, the spin direction is side-to-side for a sidearmer, so the spin-generated Magnus force does not oppose gravity but causes the ball to tail.
[/quote]

but is the arm coming down or across

“but is the arm coming down or across”

------Try to get this straight in your mind: The spin axis and direction of the spin on a ball is determined at the ball’s release point.

Take a look at the collage of stills of pitchers in this video clip:

A RHP’s pure sidearm fastball release will yield a fastball with a vertical spin axis and 3-to-9 rotation (hitter’s view).

A LHP’s pure sidearm fastball release will yield a fastball with a vertical spin axis and 9-to-3 rotation (hitter’s view).

In both of the above cases, there is a Magnus force acting on the ball in the same direction that the ball is spinning. So, from a hitter’s perspective, the RHP sidearmer’s FB will tail in to a RHH. By the same token, a LHP sidearmer’s FB will tail in to a LHH.

LA, I agree that the lower the slot, generally the more run or sink on the ball, but there are certainly exceptions. Mark Prior has a fairly low slot and his ball is very straight. Same with Pedro.

Also, while Tom House doesn’t change arm slots exactly, I think most of his pitchers end up looking very similar since he puts a large emphasis at keeping the head and upper spine level. That makes it difficult to throw from a high 3/4 slot (Maddux is of the few who can pull this off).

[quote=“laflippin”]re: “i believe this comes from throwing across the body more
when throwing from a lower arm slot your arm comes around more instead of up and down with a high arm slot”

-------“Throwing across the body” has nothing to do with the tailing movement of a sidearmer’s fastball.

It arises because the Magnus force on a spinning fastball released from any pitcher acts in the same direction as the ball’s spin. An “over-the-top” pitcher’s fastball will have a horizontal spin axis and 6-to-12 backspin…so its “movement” is directly opposed to the downward gravitational force, giving a pretty straight fastball that simply stays up longer than most hitters expect. A sidarmer’s fastball has a vertical spin axis and the Magnus force also acts in the direction of this ball’s spin–however, the spin direction is side-to-side for a sidearmer, so the spin-generated Magnus force does not oppose gravity but causes the ball to tail.

I must say this is one of the best and most explanatory posts I’ve seen while I’ve been on this site.

Thanks, jpeavy, I appreciate your kind words.

palo20, When you have some time on your hands search out John Walsh’s excellent November 2007 Pitch f/x analysis of Pedro Martinez’ pitches. It’s on The Hardball Times site.

From the data, Walsh believes that Pedro was using 6 distinct pitch types at that time, including at least three kinds of fastballs. Of the FB’s, the pitch f/x data shows that at least one of them had (at that time) a lateral tail into RHHs of more than 10 inches, while another one only tailed in about 3 inches. This study was conducted at a time when Martinez was topping out at about 90 mph and sitting 85-89.