Santi's pitching mechanics, what is wrong?

My son, Santi, is a Junior in High School. He is 5-10, 178 lbs, 17 years old, very athletic. He is somewhat strong —dead lift 350 lbs, front squat 210 lbs, 100 lbs bench press. He is also a smart kid, he scored 1400 in the SAT and 33 in the ACT, his GPA is 3.94. He is aiming at studying and playing baseball for a top academic university, Div II or Div III, in the West Coast or the New England area, may be Texas, Arizona or Florida. Here is the thing. Last autumn he took part of a couple of showcases for pitchers; his FB was clocked at 84 mph, however his FB ranged from 78 to 84 mph; that was a reason for concern, so we try during the off-season to work on closing the gap and being more consistent with his delivery. He lifted weights three times a week and worked with weighted and plyo baseballs. We just found out, during his HS tryout, that he is now throwing 76 to 80 Mph; he hit 80 mph just a couple of times. To be honest I’m kind of lost, don’t know what to do, how to help him. He is kind of frustrated because, on top of all this, he was told that he does not have the speed to pitch at Varsity level, so he most likely will be spending the year on JV. He thinks that he is losing the College baseball train. I told him that is early in the season, that he can regain some of the miles he lost, that summer ball is what really counts. Now Covid 19 happened and baseball has come to a complete halt. He replied to me saying that until we figure out the mechanics problem, regaining the speed won’t happen any time soon. I forgot to mention that he can throw the baseball end-zone to end-zone in a football field, that he can hit 87-89 when doing crow-hops. We want to stay positive, and think that summer ball will happen, that he will have a chance to show his best self to college coaches.

Again, in terms of what is going on with his fastball, I’m lost, this problem goes beyond my abilities. I would like to add that during his freshman season he consistently hit 80 mph and was dominant all season long. His sophomore season was a different story; he was injured and barely pitched during the season. Over the summer, he kind of made a come back, pitched more, but his fastball was again between 76 to 80 mph.

Below you will find a video to analyze. It was taken in October. He told me that during that bullpen he was clocked at 84 mph, although none of his fastballs hit the strike zone, all of them were high. On the other hand, most his off speed/breaking pitches hit the strike zone consistently and were clocked around 72 to 76 mph. What do you see? What is wrong with his mechanic? How it can be fixed?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_FN92cx5WM

This second video was taken during the summer of 2019.

Thanks in advance for your comments and all your help.

Some things are just not adding up. The one thing that stands out is his arm slot looks very unnatural. His head is very tilted to the glove side. I am no expert there. Some other guys can help with that. What stands out the most to me are his lifts? That couldn’t be right. Why on earth is he doing a one rep max on front squats? Who’s idea was that? Is his one rep max on bench really 100lbs? If so, he is very clearly not balanced with his strength. Get him in the weight room with a professional. That would be number one priority. Heck, I’d shut him down and just chalk up this year as done and come back in the fall after three good months of professional training. Good luck to you son.

Wait a second…we need different video. It looks like he has a timing issue with opening up too soon. That would explain the loss of velo. A better view would help in seeing if this is an issue or not.

Wladya,

The mechanical flaw that jumps out at me from a back view is his poor stride direction. To throw with max power and efficiency you want to keep your center of gravity over your driveline. Any movement away from that driveline effects velocity and can hurt control. When your stride direction is off, your forced to compensate in some way to get your release point back on track. By compensating, you compromise the efficiency of your delivery, reducing your body’s ability to convert force to velocity, and potentially increasing the stress on the throwing arm.

When your stride is too open (towards 1st base for a rightly) you force your hips to open early losing rotational power and we all know rotational power is an important component to a high velocity pitcher. Take a look at the images below for a visual of what I am talking about.

LTP%20Santi Stroman%20At%20Landing

Hope this helps
Steve C

I agree with Steve’s comments. But I’d also like to hear about the nature of this pitcher;s sophomore year injuries.

Bx2, thanks for your response. I have to say that he has been working one on one with a certified trainer on a three days a week routine. The weights I posted were taken at the end of the off-season workouts, right before High School tryouts. In regards of the bench press weights, he has been reluctant to give away any information, he said that pitchers don’t do bench press; anyways, through a friend of his, I learned that he is benching roughly 180 to 200 lbs one rep max, give or take.

During his sophomore year he sustained a lower back strain, and little after a hip flexor strain, those injuries overlapped over time. They happened during the off-season and lingered for weeks until April.

Thanks, Steve C, for your assessment. The images prove your point entirely. It is clear that his left toes are pointing towards first base, his hips totally open, and his head is tilted to the glove side — as Bx2 pointed out. However, it is funny that during that outing Santi threw 74 pitches and managed to go eight innings with just two hits and four walks. I don’t know if you were able to see the other clip. It was done in October of 2019 —the first one was done in June. Do you see the same issue there, or do you see an improvement? Here is the video, anyways.

We will start working on his body control. Any advise in terms of drills and other stuff that may help with this issue?

Once again, thanks you!

Be well

Wladya

Wladya,

Take a look at these 3 images. Same issue is happening from this video as well. Landing is well off his driveline. Pitchers must land on a stable front leg on or 1-2" from the midline with the landing knee positioned directly over the middle of the foot from the front angle in order to gain maximum energy transfer from the lower body to the hips and trunk. What I like to see is a pitchers front knee directed towards home plate at foot plant.

With this unprecedented virus and everyone staying inside, now is a great time for all pitchers to work on their mechanics. You don’t need a catcher. Place a mirror in from of you and work on dry drills.

LTP%20Santi%202 Corey%20Kluber%20Front%20View Driveline%20at%20Landing

Steve C

Hi, Steve, I hope you are doing fine.

Here you will find a video of Santi doing a bullpen after a couple of weeks of working on his stride and posture. Do see any improvement on the things you observed?

Thanks!

Wladya