Remember well those UVA showcases, my son fortunate enough to pitch against the Wahoos years later.
First let me say if your serious about doing video evaluation you will need to get at least 2 views (2B, 3B), and preferably 4 including 1B, H, of your son throwing at maximum intensity.
Some may not be aware that in his younger years Bartolo Colon was one of the hardest throwing pitchers in baseball. While this may not be my favorite arm action type, Colon’s ability to generate 100 mph velocities as a young man indicate that bringing the ball close to the ear is not necessarily detrimental. Provided, of course, you are doing many other things well to support that type of arm action.
Is it coincidental that many catchers have successfully converted to high velocity relief pitchers using a similar technique? Motte for instance.
Several important things to note regarding Colon… First, the intent to throw the crap out of the baseball is obvious.
Second, he is an excellent example of “pelvic loading” among other things…timber!
“Pelvis Loading” is a term coined by Paul Nyman (coach XJ on this site) of SETPRO. Colon was one of his first case studies leading him to further develop concepts such as “pinching the hips”, the “step over”, and “leading with the sole”, (to mention only a few). I don’t want to speak for him so hopefully he will jump in here.
Incidentally I have only watched the first few minutes of the instructional video posted by Coach Baker because at about 2 minutes in, the video instructor said of Chapman.
IMO and with all due respect….the above observation was enough to indicate to me that the video instructor doesn’t really understand what Chapman was doing to load his pelvic region. What he thought of as the “weird” and “contorted” use of the lead leg is in fact excellent technique…a preliminary stride leg pinching action essential to optimizing the pelvic load/unloading sequence.
At the risk of oversimplifying, one final word to those whose hope it is to play at the collegiate level and beyond…SPEED. The following is far from exhaustive but should help to formulate your goals and stay on track.
There are 4 quantifiable things that are going to end your baseball career other than injury, and 3 of them have to do with speed. The 4th poor eyesight is correctable to some extent. Needless to say your sport specific skills need to continually improve to keep advancing but with each new level greater speed will be required.
Lack of bat speed:
You don’t hit the ball hard enough, and your slow bat makes it impossible to wait on the breaking ball, a sure career end-er.
Lack of running speed:
Simply said you’re not fast or quick enough, obviously position dependent.
Lack of throwing speed:
Again position dependent…but surely most important for pitchers, catchers and left side infielders. At every advancing level you will be expected to throw harder from LL, BR, HS, college, until you’re eventually signed at the professional level. Once your an established professional it’s a different story, but good luck getting signed to a scholarship or professional contract without it.
I recall Derrick Jeter as a young man quickly ascending the ranks being asked what it was like. He said at each new level every aspect of the game just keeps getting faster….running, hitting, fielding, throwing. You either keep pace, or it’s over.
Of course even the great ones eventually can’t get around on the “high hard one”, lose range in the field, and can’t make the throw from hole the way they once did.
The cycle of a baseball career complete. The first part trying to achieve elite level speeds, the second part trying to hold on to what you’ve got, some doing it far more graciously than others.
There is no avoiding the “greed for speed”, in the form of hitting, running, fielding and throwing. When the stop watches and radar guns come out what is your time? If you’re sincere about advancing you have to make it impossible to be overlooked.
Harder said than done, which brings us to the least quantifiable but most essential ingredient of all…desire!