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Must-click link: Stephen Strasburg, mechanics and injuries

Mar 8, 2011, 5:00 PM EST

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I tend to glaze over at most stories about pitching mechanics. They seem so jargony. I really have no idea what an “inverted W” is nor do I know why they don’t just call it an “M.”

But today’s story by Tom Verducci in Sports Illustrated is a different thing. It focuses on Stephen Strasburg and his recovery from Tommy John surgery. At the beginning we learn that the Nats are going to try to have Strasburg change his approach. It’s the Crash Davis thing: strikeouts are fascist, so try to get some more ground balls. They’re more democratic.

But then it goes on to explain why Strasburg may have been more likely to need Tommy John surgery than other pitchers. It all has to do with when his arm is fully-cocked and ready to go, and even those of us who aren’t physiologists can understand what Verducci is saying. And, from the sounds of it, what the Nationals aren’t really paying any attention to.

Good article. You’ll learn stuff.

  1. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Mar 8, 2011 at 5:41 PM

    DAMMIT! I done learned somethin’

  2. florida76 - Mar 8, 2011 at 6:38 PM

    Yes, there were experts who warned about Strasburg’s mechanics years before while he was at San Diego State. Unfortunately, some people decided not to listen, and Strasburg may never recapture the magic we saw briefly last year.

  3. mjdkid100 - Mar 8, 2011 at 8:37 PM

    Chrisoleary.com breaks it down better.

  4. Reflex - Mar 9, 2011 at 4:22 AM

    I’ve been pointing this out in the comments here for the past year and a half. Chris O’Leary broke down Strasburg’s delivery back in 07/08 and pretty much called this injury and even the approximate time it would take to hit it. He’s called a ton of other arm injuries.

    The Inverted W(and O’Leary’s website explains why its not a M) is basically a shortcut to power pitching a lot of very young pitchers rely on. It was first popularized by Mark Prior and advocated as ‘perfect mechanics’. In reality it created a timing problem that absolutely destroys the elbow and eventually the shoulder.

    Seriously, if you want to know which phenom pitching prospects are going to have long and healthy careers and which ones are not, check for the Inverted W and its relatives(inverted L is another problem delivery).

    If you want to know why I keep referencing O’Leary, go hit up his archives. I didn’t believe he really was on to something till I started reading his stuff from several years ago about prospects, not just the players he called out as having problems as its easy to throw a bunch of crap at the wall and then only point out the stuff that sticks, but also the players who he felt the concerns were overblown and went into details about why. Tim Lincecum is one in that catagory who he pointed out had a pretty good delivery back whent he conventional wisdom was that he’d break down quickly.

    Seriously, Craig, your pretty serious about understanding baseball. This is one of those things that should actually interest you. Its not quite the dark art that it may seem…

  5. Reflex - Mar 9, 2011 at 5:57 AM

    O’Leary addressed this article and made a few corrections to it here: http://www.chrisoleary.com/projects/Baseball/Pitching/ProfessionalPitcherAnalyses/StephenStrasburg.html

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