Stigma of "undersized" pitchers?

what’s the deal with the the “undersized” pitcher? if a guy has good stuff that is under six feet AND has performed at a high level, then why are teams (collegiate and professional) hesitant to sign them?

all you hear is that bigger guys are somehow more “durable”, but it seems to me that mechanics factor most into someones durabilty. ]


Daniel Ray Hererra is among the smallest pitchers in professional baseball today. He is 5’ 6". It is because of him, and him alone that I think I have a chance to make it to the minors.

[quote=“the_K_king#2”]what’s the deal with the the “undersized” pitcher? if a guy has good stuff that is under six feet AND has performed at a high level, then why are teams (collegiate and professional) hesitant to sign them?

all you hear is that bigger guys are somehow more “durable”, but it seems to me that mechanics factor most into someones durabilty. ]


There’s a couple of things going on, and they really need to be understood, but more often than not, aren’t.

The most important thing is, there’s a totally different mentality that goes along with “projecting” a player into the future as in college or professional ball, as opposed to a player having success, even a lot of it at the level he’s at.

The other thing is, there’s really only 3 ways to overcome the “bigger is better” and/or “faster is better” general belief. The 1st is blind luck, and believe me, that doesn’t happen a whole lot! When it does, its usually that some particular player meets a particular team’s needs almost perfectly, and there’s no one else available. More often than not, it’ll happen in college where the “better” players either can’t swing the additional costs, or that they just don’t have the grades.

The 2nd one is that the player throws so hard, like a Billy Wagner, that there’s no way he can be ignored. The last one is that the player has some kind of “connection”. An example would be a long time player in the organization’s son, the guy who built the $300M campus library’s nephew, etc…

As far as mechanics go, chances are if a player has the size and the velocity, they may actually project better if they have lousy mechanics because it may be believed that they can always be fixed. But durability is something different. Chances are if a player is small but has been very durable all through HS, the thinking will be that its just a matter of time, especially with all the wear and tear already on him. But if he’s big and looks like he’ll be getting bigger and stronger, not only will the thinking be he’ll be more durable, but because there are so few small guys given the opportunity at higher levels, the rationale will be that the vast majority of the big strong guys are the ones who don’t break down. And keep in mind that out of 1,000 big guys, it would take 100 bodies to make up 10%, but when there’s only 10 little guys, if only 2 break down, the claim would be they break at twice the rate, and it would be true.

There are a lot more factors, but that’s pretty much the gist of it.

Bigger and taller pitchers can throw with more of an angle from the mound down and through the plate, this makes it harder for the hitter. Pitches are not as “flat” and it’s easier to create more movement.

ok…but how does being taller make you more durable?

Hold on K_king! Don’t be so quick to give up on something just because someone gives you a reason! THINK son!

Does a 6’5” pitcher release the ball higher than one who’s 5’6”? Well, you’d think so, wouldn’t ya? But if you bet you life on it, it wouldn’t take you very long before you were dead as a doornail because you’d lost that bet! :wink:

The release point certainly can be affected by a player’s height. But, not all players who are say 6’4” have arms the same length, use the same posture as they deliver the ball, but more importantly, have the same arm slot. So, a pitcher who throws sidearm and is 6’10”, likely has an RP a lot lower than one who’s 5’11” and comes right over-the-top. Likewise, a pitcher who has extremely long arms and fingers will likely have a higher RP than one who’s the same height but who’s arms and fingers are shorter. And it will likely be true that a pitcher who is very upright and doesn’t bend his knees a lot in his delivery, will have a higher RP than someone the same height that really gets down like a Tom Seaver.

What I’m saying is, just because one pitcher is taller than another doesn’t meant he will be throwing more “downhill”, even though that’s the dogma most people buy into.

There is also some dogma running around that a tall pitcher like a Randy Johnson who throw the ball at 97MPH will effectively look to the batter like he’s throwing harder than a short one like a Billy Wagner because he’ll release the ball closer to the plate. That too would be true if all pitchers had strides equally relative to their height. IOW, if a 6’6” pitcher takes a strike at 100% of his height, it would be a 6’6” stride. Therefore it would only be reasonable that a 5’10” pitcher striding at 100% would release the ball at least 8” earlier. But just as pitchers have different postures, arm lengths, and arm slots, many have very different stride lengths as well.

And think about this. Assuming a mound is correctly set up, the longer the stride, the lower the RP will be. Remember, the slope of a mound drops 1” per foot, so if a pitcher strides 8’, his landing foot will generally be about 2” higher than the plate. So if that same pitcher would stride 2’ less, the down angle would be significantly better.

What I’m trying to get across is, there is no simple answer! People try to make like there is, but even though it might be true if all things were equal, all things are NEVER equal! :wink:

well put. lol

Love Danny Ray. Have you seen this?

that was a great article…i think everyone is pullin for him

Yes, excellent article. Thank you kyleb

Now as for height…I am directly between Herrera’s height and Lincicum’s height. Tim has an amazingly efficient delivery, not only maintaining velocity, but also minimizing strain on his arm. At 5’ 11" throwing in the low and mid 90’s and durable as Wakefield, he is a phenom. But maybe not. We can all be durable with proper conditioning and care for our arms, along with efficient delivery. The less resistance you give your arm, the longer you will last. Your body is like a car engine. If you are riding your brakes while trying to drive, your engine is going to go bad way too soon, even if the miles aren’t that high.
That was quite a spiel. I will leave you guys to it.

This seems to be the same situation as with the fireballers. Many scouts nowadays are not only obsessed with speed, speed and more speed but also with feet and inches. They seem to have completely forgotten about guys like Bobby Shantz, who was five-six if he was an inch and was one of the best pitchers in the major leagues. There were many more like him. And I was a real shrimp, five-four, and I didn’t have a fast ball to speak of—but I more than made up for it with a good arsenal of offspeed and breaking pitches, control and command, and on top of that I was one of those infuriating sidearmers who used the crossfire much of the time. I won more than my share of games as a starter, and as a late-inning reliever when needed I rescued more than my share of games. So. 8)