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White Sox pitching coach compares Strasburg to Mark Prior, Kerry Wood

Jul 29, 2010, 3:58 PM EDT

White Sox pitching coach Don Cooper was on Sirius XM this morning, and the subject of Stephen Strasburg moving to the disabled list came up.  Here’s Cooper, making every Nationals fan in the country faint:

“Strasburg does something that I call an upside down
arm action.  Listen, I’m not wishing this guy bad by any stretch,
but for him to have some problems right now when they are really, really
watching him.  What are they to think when they are trying to get 220
[innings] from him?  He does something with his arm action that’s
difficult for a guy, in my mind, to pitch a whole lot of innings on.  I
call it upside down arm action, some people call it an elbow lead, whatever you
want to call it.  It reminds me a little bit of Kerry Wood.  It reminds
me a little bit of [Mark] Prior. I hope I’m wrong with this because
he’s an oustanding pitcher.”

But that can’t be! Strasburg has perfect mechanics!  Oh, wait . . .

  1. Jonny5 - Jul 29, 2010 at 4:20 PM

    He just came short of saying Upside down W didn’t he? Rut roe….

  2. geoknows - Jul 29, 2010 at 4:27 PM

    I have heard several experts state that they do not care for Strasburg’s mechanics. Chris O’Leary, whose website you linked, has him on his list of “Pitchers with Problematic Mechanics,” but he does state that he’s not as bad as Prior:
    http://www.chrisoleary.com/projects/baseball/pitching/ProfessionalPitcherAnalyses/StephenStrasburg.html

  3. Jonny5 - Jul 29, 2010 at 4:28 PM

    Here’s something else on it. http://www.proballnw.com/03-2009/strasburg-drafting-bad-mechanics/

  4. Josh Fisher - Jul 29, 2010 at 4:37 PM

    Look…it’s bad mechanics, period, to accel and decel a shoulder this quickly. Some guys can handle it. The rest aren’t major league starters for more than a few years. Being able to tolerate these forces is nothing more than an evolutionary lottery ticket. Looking at mechanics and saying a guy *will* or *won’t* get hurt is silly, as is saying two skipped starts–in a year he is set to get shut down anyway–is a harbinger of bad things to come.
    What the Nationals are doing is to *prevent* Strasburg from becoming Mark Prior. Given that their season doesn’t matter, they’re right to take every precaution. But these are fickle things, pitchers’ arms, and there’s not a whole lot we can do but be cautious where possible and acknowledge that 220+ innings pitchers are rare beasts indeed.

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