Japanese Pitching

Daisuke Matsuzaka

Link to Video of pitcher with amazing stuff

Knowing that Boston will fork out over 50 million to put this guy in a Red Sox uniform…What do the Japanese know or teach about pitching that we don’t? I understand they have a six man rotation. What are they teaching for mechanics and workloads?

Nothing new in those mechanics. I don’t know about their training methods.

I agree with DM that there isn’t anything too unusual about what the Japanese are doing.

Near as I can tell, the Shuuto and the Gyroball are just variations of the screwball and the slider.

I do think that Matsuzaka’s reliance on throwing a lot of different pitches, most of which move significantly, is a bit unusual. This resembles what Mike Marshall talks about; he doesn’t want his guys to throw a straight anything. Everything should move, in his opinion.

I took a quick look at Matsuzaka’s mechanics in my blog…

…and think that Matsuzaka has very solid, but also very conventional, mechanics.

One thing that is distinct among Asian pitchers (e.g. Japanese, Koreans, and Taiwanese) is that they seem to be relatively more likely to be submariners. That was one thing I noticed in the World Baseball Classic.

P.S. I just took a deeper look at this video clip…

…and noticed a couple of things.

  1. I like how he starts from the wind-up. Stop the clip at 52 seconds into the clip and notice how simple it is; he starts with his GS foot behind the rubber. This is an unusual, but legal, delivery and resembles some of what Mike Marshall talks about with respect to his Wind-Up Set position. You can also see this at 57 second.

  2. The pitch that he throws at 45 seconds, which I think is a curve based on the catcher’s actions, is absolutely wicked. It both cuts in and drops. It’s kind of like a slider but with a better break. He throws the same pitch at 52 seconds.

  3. His motion is a little jerky up to the point at which he goes into his leg lift, which may screw up the timing of hitters. He seems to jerk more at 57 seconds, which would be a balk if there was a batter on base.

The first time I remember this site got all crazy about this guy was this spring. I recall at that point he had an arm issue, or rumor of arm issue.
One thing I’ve noticed with the Japanese is they tend to “free-style” the wind-up more, looks like artistic expression more that a mechanic (Nomo and the over yer head arms while you turn around and look at the center fielder motion, comes to mind). And also the differing arm angles which include submariner and using many different angles for one pitcher.
I know they are very regimented in their approach to warming up and conditioning, UNF head coach Dusty Rhoads talks about them showing up hours (5 to 8) before a game and just throwing and excercising and well name it they did it pre-game (This was at the Olympic level).

I’m actually quite confident Matsuzaka really throws two pitches.

Fastball and a slider, read lots of articles on him trying to find info on the gyroball, and I’m confident I read that.

Also, arm care via pitch count really hasn’t traveled across the Pacific yet, or they’re ignoring it…

A Japanese pitcher pitches his game, and then the next day is throwing a bullpen. They will throw thousands of more pitches in a season. This would possibly be the reason for arm problems.

Also part of the reason people are willing to fork over so much money…, well for one they can, but a justification is that Matsuzaka is only like 25 years old. So basically you get a pitcher possibly more polished than Verlander, around the same age…
I think Verlander could easily get 50 million from teams trying to lock him up for a while.

Also in Boston and New York, half of the fuel to sign him would be that the other wants to sign him as well. Simply keeping him off your rivals roster will help whether he is on yours or not.

CF I remember you did a ton of research on this, looks like it went full circle.

Just thought of about this:

Saw in popular mechanics they had a piece on the gyro.
Since I have a lot of respect for the magazine’s information, it’s definately worth posting:

Large, and good article on the gyro, and Mr. Matsuzaka.

I think this is possibly the most important piece of info for the gyro:

Also it says Jeffrey Niezer, who Will Carroll (biggest hype creater for gyro in my honest opinion, also an arm health expert) apparently taught the gyro to no longer throws it in College, and says it so resembles a slider he wasn’t really worried about it.

The attached file (from quoted paragraph) is here: http://media.popularmechanics.com/documents/gyroballvariation.pdf
Great explanation of the physics in layman’s terms.

Short piece that was published in A recent issue (maybe the current)

Yeah, I’d really like to see Matsuzaka pitch on a regular basis, gyroball or not.

To bad it will not be in a Minnesota uniform…

Either way, his stuff is electric.

Overall I feel somewhat disappointed from the hype generated by the gyroball, without the substance to necessarily back it up.
I think it appears to be this amazing pitch for lack of information. Basically it caries an aurora around it because people see something that looks good, and do not understand it really.

As the bulk of info is in Japanese, and no one has sat down to translate it per say. And stuff would get lost in translation anyway further complicating matters.

Is the gyroball still an individual pitch- I think so, the velocity it is thrown at and the break, aren’t really seen from other pitches.
At 90+ miles per hour the only breaking balls like that would be a slider and cutter. The cutter has little movement period. The slider seems to have less and less movement with added velocity for most pitchers. The gyro definately has some real break at high speed if the tape I have seen is really the gyroball, or else an extremely gifted breaker that no one else replicates.

Edited to make sense in English, lol (I type and think at different speeds)

I agree with you Chris, I think its a curve, and a very nasty hard throw curve at that. Wish I you tube had some footage of Blylevens curve so I could compare them, Ian.

i don’t like japanese pitchers for the simple reason that they take way too much time between pitches that can grow the ball game to half an hour longer sometimes.where are the no-wind up pitchers!!!??? anyone remember jim kaat in his old days? 3 minutes an inning even if he loaded the bases :lol:

Yeah I do not like the slow pitching either, but they’re in control.

I prefer pitchers working quickly both playing and watching.

Quickest game I’ve ever played was in LL, 1 hour 4 minutes, 6 innings final score of 3-2.