Screwball and Pitching Mechanics

Hey everyone,
I have a couple of questions.
First I will give you a few details.
I am a 16 year old pitcher in my 3rd year of playing club baseball here in Australia. I pitch ever Saturday (start) and usually throw 4-5 innings. My ERA during the first 7 games is 4.28.
I can throw 2 and 4 seam fastball, screwball, curveball and Im working on a changeup.
Recently my coach organised a tutor for me, you may have heard of him. Tristan Crawford, he plays in the Minors for the Minnesota Twins. He plays at the same club as me when he’s in Australia.
It was our first session on Tuesday and he told me everything was perfect except my mechanics needed a slight improvement. I was opening up too soon you see and thus losing velocity.

First question. Do you have any tips on mechanics? drills? anything that could be of use? Maybe even explain how a proper windup should look like?

Also, I asked him if I should be throwing my screwball, I am the only one in the league who can throw a screwball, and it ALWAYS finds the strikezone, maybe even more than my fastball. It is my number two pitch and I love it. But instead of throwing a screwball, he told me to stop throwing it and work on a circle change.

Second question. Do you agree with this?

Thank you for your time…


I pitched 6 innings, gave up 6 hits, 2 BB, 2 ER while striking out 5.
Mainly fastballs with a curve mixed in every now and then.
We won 10-5.

Stay away from the screwball. Maybe you can throw it now, but too much and too often and it’ll literally screw up your arm, no pun intended.
Remember what happened to Carl Hubbell? When he was throwing it he threw it almost exclusively and it got to the point that when he would stand with his arms at his sides the palm of his left hand faced out! Later on the same thing happened to Fernando Valenzuela.
You have other pitches you can use. I remember one time when I was talking with my pitching coach (an active major league pitcher), and he asked me about the screwball. When I told him I didn’t throw it, he said “Good for you. You don’t need it.” Indeed I didn’t; I had a lot of “snake jazz” I could use, headlined by a very nasty slider which I threw sidearm—as I did all my pitches. :baseballpitcher:

Zita, this kid stopped posting a couple of years back…he developed arm issues and wouldn’t do anything about it…talk about ripping ones hair out…he just wouldn’t see a doctor.
Then he came back as a coach, he was a really nice kid, but hasn’t posted for about a year as a coach.
The date is viewable on the upper left of each post.
Fernando had a fairly nice career with that screwgie though didn’t he? He was still pitching in the Mexican Leagues just a couple of years ago…now he’s a latin broadcaster…I wish I could get more bio stuff on the likes of Carl Hubbell, and some of those outstanding 20’s, 30’s and 40’s pitchers…I just finished a retrospective on Red Smith’s choice articles from those eras…fabulous book (Some really neat stuff on Satchel Paige), if you do to the Books Thread in the Off Topic Dugout, it is one of the books I have offered to send to whomever, for free…so…if you are interested…just follow the instructions listed there.

hes right it will mess up your arm

jd, I think I know the book you’re referring to. It’s a terrific volume called “Red Smith On Baseball”, and it’s a wonderful collection of articles about the game and those who played it. There’s a story about the “shot heard round the world”, and another great one about a game that was played near the end of the 1950 season, Yanks vs. Red Sox, in which the Sox’ Dominic DiMaggio led off with a triple—and that was as far as he got. I have that book in my ever-expanding library of books on baseball.
It’s interesting, the way some people will quit playing and then return as a coach and they still didn’t learn anything! I’m reminded of a guy named Joe Kerrigan, who wasn’t much of a pitcher, and when he became a pitching coach he did everything all wrong, and he still does everything all wrong. :homeplate:

Well I hope your great critique sparks some kid or other posters interest enough to get someone to ask about it so I can share it. Some of those stories are so fantastic and timeless…One of the really interesting things to me is that the color barrier would have been broken by Satchel Paige or Josh Gibson in the 30’s had they agreed to take THE PAY CUT!!! And oh man so many other things just a treasure of interesting stuff. I am somewhat remiss, I have an entire other listing of books that I’ve haven’t yet listed…I’ll get there though :wink:

Adamsmith…I don’t recall Fernando ever being on the DL for his pitching arm being messed up. The scewgie is just a crazy pitch…you show it…which means that immediately your other pitches are shown…i.e. not the screwgie it’s a heater…or hook, one has to really have a buy in to it. Not many ever got the hang of it…sorta like the K ball as it is unique.

I don’t see the point of a screwball, why wouldn’t you just throw a normal curve.

Well if you are left handed it makes a big difference. As a righty not so much of a big deal unless you’re a finese reliever. Why?

Lets go with the lefthanded scenario:

  1. One you’re not overpowering no big heat , no tremendous curveball.

To left handers -your curve is still going to be effective because lefties dont see it that often. Also you can drop down and get the batter to bail most of the time.

To right handers you have some problems-you cant blow them away with smoke, you going to use your curve mostly as a back door pitch. You’re going to keep your fastball and change up away (and down)and if you throw a slider its probably for a “jam job.” Frankly a cutter might be a better choice for this than a regular slider.

The screwgie gives you an out pitch that you can either front door or get a swinging strike away. Its is extremely hard to read because the ball looks like it is coming straight at the batter. It has more prounced movement than a circle change even if the circle is turned over. The circle “runs” away and down, but the Screwgie “breaks” away and down (because its spinning form 11 to 5 or 1-7 if your throwing it left handed to a righty).

THAT is the difference. Is it worth it? Hmmmm. I wouldy say if you are left handed or if your are righthanded and are having a difficlut time getting lefties out.

Here’s a scenario:

You throw low 3/4’s and are righthanded. This means your fastball to a lefthander will run away and down. Your change up (if a circle change will run the same way). Your breaking ball is not going to have a lot of depth because at the most from low 3/4’s your’re going to get a 2-8 break siutable for back dooring a curveball only. Now add a screwgie that breaks from 11-5 (or more likely from low 3/4 from 11:30 to 5:30) to lefties. You know what the lefties are saying? Holy Crap what was that!
They dont see it very often, it breaks away from them -not just fades. Now they have a problem!

Here’s a sequence:

Fastball low and away.
Cutter up and in
Screwgie low and away.

You moved the batters eve level twice-changed the movement thrice, changed speeds 3 times-in all life blows for that batter in general-

Isn’t that what pitching is all about??? Ian

a screwball for jams would be great, but to throw one as much as your fastball is just asking for bad things to happen.