One Thing I'll Never Get

MLB teams are least likely to draft a sidearm/submarine pitcher becuase there is more stress on there elbow. But its not true. Body Tilt causes arm angle. So there should be the same stress with any arm angle. Anyone care to clean this up for me.



All the same stress

Theoretically, the same stress.

Sidearm vs. a 3/4 tilt comes into play in a couple different ways. First, sidearm guys have a tendency to have more back problems. That last little bit before release, when the lower back unloads from an arched position doesn’t translate very efficiently from a sidearm tilt. You end up with forces acting around the center of gravity, torque that is not good for the back.

Secondly, a sidearm tilt pitcher has more of a tendency to get more x-axis movement on the front shoulder that causes them to release a little short of optimum. When you release short of optimum, the follow through can happen in more of an across the body, sudden stop motion which puts more stress on the rear rotator cuff to slow the arm down, rather than a safer motion out in front of the body.

future-K,

I think the premise, “MLB teams are least likely to draft a sidearm/submarine pitcher…” is actually wrong.

Yes, I’ve heard individuals here at LTP make that kind of assertion, based on what they may have heard from somebody else, or their “personal experience” or whatever. None of that makes it true.

I’ve personally done the exercise that I suggested in another thread…that is, I spent a rainy day last April compiling the pitching rosters for all 30 MLB teams. Then, I went to the Getty Images site and looked up all ~420 of them. Out of the total ~420 pitchers, I found usable photos of their release point for about 380. I grouped them into RHPs and LHPs and then further broke down these groups into subsets of “over-the-top”, “high 3/4”, “low 3/4”, sidearm, and submarine. After that, the math was simple: In April, 2008, by the definitions I used, there was a total (RHP and LHP combined) of 11% sidearm pitchers in MLB. There was a total of about 7% over-the-top pitchers. There was a total of 2.5% of pitchers who gave clear evidence of using 2 distinctly different arm-slots (one of these was almost always sidearm).

Okay, so far so good. Now…if you can accept that there are approximately 10 % of MLB pitchers who throw sidearm, but the percentage of sidearmers at lower levels such as High School, College, and the Minor Leagues is much less than 10%…then, in fact, the only conclusion a reasonable person could draw is that MLB teams actually favor sidearmers, as long as they can meet the competitive standards in MLB.

There’s a caveat–it is relatively easy to survey a limited group like 420 MLB pitchers and then find most of their pictures on Getty Images. What’s not so easy–in fact, it’s impossible…is to determine whether there are more than, less than, or the same as, 10% of sidearm pitchers in all of the lower levels. The numbers of pitchers is obviously far bigger, and the photographic data simply doesn’t exist.

However, any reasonable person can ask himself “What percentage of sidearmers have I seen with my own eyes at LL, HS, or college level”.

What d’ya think: More than 10%? Less than 10%? About 10%?

[My experience is “Less than 10%”, and I think it is that way at least partly for the reason that lower level coaches may be somewhat more automatically prone to consider sidearm pitching as a “flaw”, or harmful, or some other such baloney…]

Believe it or not I’ve actually only faced 1 side armer in my life. I went 3-4 off him

[quote=“laflippin”]future-K,

I think the premise, “MLB teams are least likely to draft a sidearm/submarine pitcher…” is actually wrong.

Yes, I’ve heard individuals here at LTP make that kind of assertion, based on what they may have heard from somebody else, or their “personal experience” or whatever. None of that makes it true.

I’ve personally done the exercise that I suggested in another thread…that is, I spent a rainy day last April compiling the pitching rosters for all 30 MLB teams. Then, I went to the Getty Images site and looked up all ~420 of them. Out of the total ~420 pitchers, I found usable photos of their release point for about 380. I grouped them into RHPs and LHPs and then further broke down these groups into subsets of “over-the-top”, “high 3/4”, “low 3/4”, sidearm, and submarine. After that, the math was simple: In April, 2008, by the definitions I used, there was a total (RHP and LHP combined) of 11% sidearm pitchers in MLB. There was a total of about 7% over-the-top pitchers. There was a total of 2.5% of pitchers who gave clear evidence of using 2 distinctly different arm-slots (one of these was almost always sidearm).

Okay, so far so good. Now…if you can accept that there are approximately 10 % of MLB pitchers who throw sidearm, but the percentage of sidearmers at lower levels such as High School, College, and the Minor Leagues is much less than 10%…then, in fact, the only conclusion a reasonable person could draw is that MLB teams actually favor sidearmers, as long as they can meet the competitive standards in MLB.

There’s a caveat–it is relatively easy to survey a limited group like 420 MLB pitchers and then find most of their pictures on Getty Images. What’s not so easy–in fact, it’s impossible…is to determine whether there are more than, less than, or the same as, 10% of sidearm pitchers in all of the lower levels. The numbers of pitchers is obviously far bigger, and the photographic data simply doesn’t exist.

However, any reasonable person can ask himself “What percentage of sidearmers have I seen with my own eyes at LL, HS, or college level”.

What d’ya think: More than 10%? Less than 10%? About 10%?

[My experience is “Less than 10%”, and I think it is that way at least partly for the reason that lower level coaches may be somewhat more automatically prone to consider sidearm pitching as a “flaw”, or harmful, or some other such baloney…][/quote]

Wow…too much thinking for me. Very nice job though flipin

i think its all about velocity
scouts look for 90 mph plus

if i am correct in the real old days you had to throw underhand
then everyone wanted to change because you could throw harder from a higher arm slot

i dont think it should matter
if you get guys out let em play

future-K,

I’m guessing after you went 3 for 4 against the one sidearmer you’ve faced, his coach immediately got on him to change his arm-slot. lol

BleedBlueNOrange,

Thanks for the kind words.

kelvin,

Walter Johnson, a 417 game winner, was not reputed to be a “soft thrower”. Carl Hubbell once struck out Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Jimmie Foxx in succession in an All-Star game although he mostly showed them FBs out of the zone and came in for strikes with his screwball. In more modern times, Dennis Eckersley got it up there pretty good. Pedro Martinez used to be a 95+ guy and Randy Johnson has been clocked at 100 mph although he is now down in the lower half of the 90’s (at how old?).

[quote=“laflippin”]

I think the premise, “MLB teams are least likely to draft a sidearm/submarine pitcher…” is actually wrong.

Yes, I’ve heard individuals here at LTP make that kind of assertion, based on what they may have heard from somebody else, or their “personal experience” or whatever. None of that makes it true.[/quote]

Talk to scouts. Really, the next time you see a pro scout at a game, bring it up … ask them all things being equal, who would they take: a 3/4 guy or a sidearm guy? The scouts that I’m friends with will take the 3/4 guy because – right or wrong – there’s a perception in baseball that sidearm pitching leads to an increased risk of injury. And scouts keep their jobs based, among other things, on their success rate of drafting guys who actually make it to the big leagues and who stay off the injured list. So, again, right or wrong, many scouts (these aren’t “lower level” coaches, as you suggest!) shy away from sidearm pitchers.

randy johnson throws 3/4 and has height
his release point is higher than most

didnt hubbell throw the screwball thats why

Steven,

First, not to make a deal out of it, but yes, I also have some acquaintances among the crowd you mentioned and I have chewed the fat with them on this topic. I don’t think the situation is nearly as much of a ‘stacked deck’ as you do.

I do not dispute that you have personal experience and have heard the opinions you say you’ve heard–I’ve heard this same stuff, too, but mostly at youth levels. The few pro scouts I’ve talked with are very conservative men. They basically don’t stick their necks out for anyone who doesn’t show outstanding competitive skills against his peer group. However, when they see dominance and high competitve ability they know what that looks like, regardless of arm-slot.

If 90% of all pitchers are 3/4, then it only stands to reason that the 3/4 arm-slot will be very heavily represented in MLB. However, that doesn’t mean an individual has a better shot at MLB just because he is 3/4. In fact, it must be more difficult to "stand out’ among that crowd–exactly because it is a big crowd–don’t you think?

Regardless of any of this discussion, the photographic evidence seems very clear and, to me, it trumps individuals’ opinions:

No matter what individual scouts or coaches may have told you or me, or what their personal biases may be, I am claiming there is photographic evidence for about 10% of current MLB pitchers who throw sidearm.

Apparently, no matter what scouts or coaches may say privately, a sidearmer who can pitch competitively at MLB level apparently has at least as good a chance as anyone to make it to the show.

Of course, if 50% of all HS, college, and minor leaguers were sidearmers, and only 10% of MLB pitchers were sidearmers, I could not make these assertions with a straight face.

But the premise here is that only 10%, or perhaps even less than 10%, of all lower level pitchers are sidearmers…do you disagree with that assumption? If the number is 10% among the general population, then there is no actual bias against sidearmers in MLB. If the number is lower than 10% among the general population, then MLB is actually favoring sidearmers…

Yes indeed, Carl Hubbell threw the screwball, and he threw it almost exclusively. As a result, when he would stand with his arms at his sides the palm of his left hand faced out. He literally screwed up his arm. And this has nothing to do with the sidearm or any other delivery.
I was a sidearmer, and it was a natural delivery, and I found it easier on the arm and shoulder than just about anything else. I never had any back problems either, and a lot of this was due to good mechanics, including something I had picked up—watching how the Yankee pitchers did this. They would drive off the lower half of the body, using the legs, the hips and the torso in a continuous motion, which not only generated the power behind their pitches but also took a lot of pressure off the arm and the shoulder. I picked up on that, worked with it, and incorporated it into my delivery, and I remember one time I was talking with my pitching coach and he asked me how I had picked it up. I told him, and he smiled and said something like “Good for you.” At one time he asked me if I ever threw the screwball, and when I replied that I didn’t, he said "Good for you. You don’t need it."
With all the other snake jazz I threw, I certainly did not need it. 8)

laflippin, fair enough :slight_smile:

Thanks for your kind consideration, Steven. Fairness and thoughtful discussion are two great strengths of LTP–I’m pretty sure that starts at the top.

kelvin,

re: “Randy Johnson is 3/4”…

Randy Johnson shows at least two distinct arm-slots: (1) sidearm and (2) low-3/4. I’m not going to argue with you about which arm-slot he uses most, but do this: Go to the Getty Images website and search the following pictures:

71712849

71511228

71531212

57572362

57535259

These are sidearm deliveries, captured at the release point.

They are just 5 of the 1067 available photographs of Randy Johnson at Getty Images; however, there are many more that are similar. There are also many photographs showing RJ releasing with a low 3/4 delivery.

So, you can call him a 3/4 pitcher if you like; however, he also happpens to have a prominent sidearm delivery that he uses routinely.

How many of these guys were southpaws?

Hose

Over the years I’ve seen a fair amount of sidearm/submarine pitchers at the amateur level – on the high school playing field while being discreetly “look at” and those making their way after that, and I can honestly say that I’ve relinquished any opinion or suggestions, and even went as far as refusing a stint for a rehab coach’s job … all because sidearm/submarine players require very special care and coaching. And it’s not because there super brittle or that these guys are any less of an athlete … it’s just because I’m not familiar enough with the techniques and protocols of this style and the associated demands placed on the body, not to mention the mindset of the player. And I’m not alone in those ranks as far as pitching coaches go.

It’s been my experience – not all that impressive either, that these guys fall into two categories … on any given day… they’re either great … or… they’re a train wreck. On the other hand I know some guys will survive just like any other pitcher … ERA and other statistics thrown into the mix, and the usual win some – lost some conversation at the nearest sports bar … but … and I do mean but… to say with any predictability that a sidearm/submarine pitcher will be a pitcher of record for a given game is a roll of the dice. Again, I’m not quoting chapter and verse from any record book, or spotlighting any specific player(s). And yes,… I do know pitcher that will contradict that last sentence.

I think two of the reasons for the lack of this style from those coming up through the park and rec amateur ranks is due to very poor pitching surfaces that youngsters must tolerate and the lack of coaching (like myself) in training and tutoring players using this style. On the other hand I’ve seen some darn good sidearm/submariners that could have made it big time … if not for scouts, recruiters and coaches like myself.
I know my ignorance on the fine art of bringing along a youngster or keeping a game plan together for an accomplished , mature player using this style is something that I’m not proud of … but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if I’m the norm … not the exception in today’s game.

When I was first starting out I remember another pitching coaching – whose assistant I was, remark one time about the “slingshot” delivery style. He said that in the game of pocket billiards ( pool) there’s this unusual Q stick that called a bridge … and you grab it and use it when you’ve got no other chance of making a particular shot. Well, pitchers that use that slingshot delivery are like that … when you’ve got that special situation, grab the Q stick… the slingshot …. and give it a go. A poor excuse for current methods and scientific training and baseball strategy, but I honestly wish I could give a better answer for what I see the pitchers of today being used for as sidearm/submarine pitchers. But then again, I’m dating myself and showing lesser expertise on the subject.

Oh, by the way … nice post laflippin, very enjoyable reading. I wish I had the benefit of someone like yourself to explain things the way you do, thirty years ago.

Coach B.

[quote]Randy Johnson shows at least two distinct arm-slots: (1) sidearm and (2) low-3/4. I’m not going to argue with you about which arm-slot he uses most, but do this: Go to the Getty Images website and search the following pictures:

So, you can call him a 3/4 pitcher if you like; however, he also happpens to have a prominent sidearm delivery that he uses routinely.[/quote]

probaly all those pics were sliders
his hand was under the ball at release
and his plam faced the plate
for to be any other pitch you fingers must be on top of the ball a little

the way it moves i think he uses the lower arm angle to throw the slider
and the higher for his other stuff

Sorry Kelv, Flip is right on. Randy is indeed sidearm, or a very very very low 3/4. Within 2 or 3 degrees of sidearm.

[quote=“kelvinp”]

probaly all those pics were sliders
his hand was under the ball at release
and his plam faced the plate
for to be any other pitch you fingers must be on top of the ball a little

the way it moves i think he uses the lower arm angle to throw the slider
and the higher for his other stuff
[/quote]

Well here is the opposite. A slider from a higher slot and a fastball from a lower slot.


Coach B, Thank you for the kind words and thoughtful discussion. It’s just my opinion, but…I’ve always felt the very best coaches were those who could most often figure out how to use many different types of good players to advantage, rather than just the few that closely fit a model of the coach’s own personal strengths. Terry Francona managing the 2004 Red Sox comes quickly to mind.

xv,

Thanks for posting the RJ pix, I still haven’t figured out how to do stuff like that. (Probably it’s better that way…I have way too many pictures of baseball players on my computer.)

Hose,

With the caveat that my survey was carried out in April, 2008 and pitching rosters do change over time, I found that 27% of all MLB pitchers were left-handed. This is at least double, perhaps nearing triple, the percentage of lefties in the ‘normal’ human population at any given time. So, yes, baseball does indeed strongly favor left-handed pitchers (much to the chagrin of my young son, who is a hard-working RHP). The upshot of this situation is: Assuming for the moment that talent-level, skill, etc, are equal…a typical left-hander does have a 2x to 3x better chance than an RHP to make it into MLB.

So what, if any, are the consolations for a RHP? Well…as a rightie you will generally do better than lefties at any of the sports-centric Catholic schools (okay, okay…I’m only kidding!! It’s only a joke…). Ummm, other advantages of being a RHP…well, almost everything in everyday life that has a sense of ‘handedness’ (like scissors, rifles, and doors) are made for you, and not for LHPs. Most coaches are righties, so LHPs get most of their training in a mirror-image of how they should be doing things…maybe that makes 'em crazy. LOL

LMAO

Of course, lefties claim they’re the only ones in their right mind.

Hose