Stephen Pryor Scouting Report 6.2.12 - Mechanics

=== Checkpoints ===

As y'know, aiki dynamics focus on the center of gravity, its acceleration and the organization of the head and limbs around that CG.  Still, all we have are screen captures here, so we have to start with a static description of the movement.

Here is the live video of the below pitch.  We'll restrict our description mostly to things that are NOT routine for ML pitchers, and remember that things are going to look quite different because of Pryor's bulk:


Pryor's overall pace - his time between pitches - is delightfully fast and confident.  His tempo, the speed at which he accelerates into his motion, is delightfully smooth and slow.  Moe, have a gander at this and tell me if you don't grok a PGA-pro type of takeway?  Smooth, confident, and unhurried?

Just a great, great intersection of pace and tempo.

In the rock back, Pryor connects his shoulders with the center fielder, Japanese-style.  He sticks his foot out, away from his body, as if he were a high wire walker using a pole to balance himself.  This last bit is kind of weird and you wonder whether it will mess up his ability to hold runners.  I dunno.

Pryor has an absolutely instinctive desire to rock his shoulders backward to second base, one that he doesn't think about.  He just loves to get onto his back hip, to raise the hammer before it falls.  Gotta love it.


In the second phase of his gather, Pryor draws a Figure 4 with his front foot.  Probably no aiki sensei would go for this "affectation," the pretzel motion of the lead foot, but to me it gives a type of Japanese "pause at the top" as everything organizes neatly down the centerline.



Now Pryor's lead foot reaches out for the plate as if a blind man were using his cane to find the curb.  The hands separate in such a way as to keep the baseball connected to Pryor's CG, his "one point."  He sinks onto that colossal gluteus maximus and he needs little shoulder turn, which is one reason that his eyes and intentionality are unusually oriented down the centerline throughout.

Dr. Mike Marshall and his "driveline" paradigm would be pleased.  An aiki sensei would be also.



Pryor starts to splay the limbs in four directions, keeping a high front side (glove high and front shoulder raised).  This will allow an arc'ing of the shoulders, creating a downhill angle and, in Pryro's case, a magnificently on-top-of-the-ball release. 

The organization around his hara, his CG, is unpretentious and to the point.  An aiki shihan would speak of great sincerity.  Yes, Pryor sincerely wants to remove the batter's will to compete with him.



This, gentlemen, is called getting on top of the ball.


Dr. D's big complaint, though...  You can't see it here, but Pryor rips his shoulders around with his head.  Here's the video again.

It's one thing to have a max-effort delivery; that's the way that Pryor should pitch, throwing the ball absolutely as hard as he is capable.  Pryor isn't going to be a guy who hits razor-fine spots within the zone; it's good enough for him to hit ANY part of the zone.  Troy Percival pitched that way forever.

But Pryor needs to remove the shrillness from his head yank.  Until he does his most realistic goal is going to be simply to throw strikes.  Ever play Pop-a-Shot basketball in the arcade?  If your eyes are moving like this, it's like trying to shoot at a backboard that is bouncing around.  While you shoot.

You'll notice, too, that Pryor's head is a bit left of his lead foot at release.  This is supposed to be a big no-no.  That's a golden principle, head balanced inside the feet as you let the ball go.


Don't get me wrong.  Felix yanked his head his first two years; Lee Trevino used a grotesque motion his entire PGA career.  The ball wasn't going anyplace on Trevino, and the strike zone is always in the same place for Pryor.   Probably half of the max-effort relievers in MLB have less-than-perfect head movement.  It's a crazy thing they're doing, throwing 97 MPH.

And Pryor was thrown into a terrifying situation in his debut game.  If I had my way, I'd like to see the head smooth out a little, is all.  Stay down the centerline better.  Felix mastered this over time.



The torso is fully parallel to the ground and the right arm clears loosely, not banging against his chest - the decel actually reminds of Randy Johnson, mirror image.  The back leg, a favorite Bill James "tell" for a tiring pitcher, is enthusiastic and comfortable.

Pryor dissipates his energy through his decleration better than most guys half his weight.  He's very graceful for a guy who weighs upwards of 500 lbs.  Impressive caboose, too.

This is the dissipation, anyway, of a man who's going to pitch for 15 years.


=== Dr's Diagnosis ===

Pryor has thrown strikes everywhere he's been; apparently he hasn't been hitting spots with Jamie Moyer surgical precision, but that's fine.  It didn't do you any good that Troy Percival was wild inside the strike zone.

Pryor's motion is "sincere" and without pretention; he gets his belly button into the action and he uses the C.C. Sabathia-sized core greatly to his advantage.  He's not looking at great command inside the zone with such a max effort, but then again you're not talking about Dan Quisenberry here.  You're talking about 99 MPH, strike one.

Would like to see him continue to keep the eyes moving toward the catcher better.  That said, two thumbs way up.  There will be a rookie Pyror and a 4th-year Pryor, and the rookie Pryor looks ready to roll.



Dr D


Klat Categories: 


It's a rock and roll motion, Doc. And smooth on the rock.

He rocks back onto that ack leg, gets into that straight line position, and then just unrolls to the plate: Leg, hips/shoulder, arm.

I'm glad you mentioned the glutes, too.

This is smooth-easy/powerful-low stress (as much as 100 MPH can be).

Sam Snead, if he threw a ball. Or Freddy Couples.

Those kind of motions last forever.


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Tacoma RainI just hope that Bat is right about the Erasmo for Rollins trade23 min 43 sec ago
MtGrizzlyYeah, Erasmo is just here as a hedge against injury at this point.2 hours 5 min ago
Gordon GrossErasmo's gonna get traded for a low-A nobody to a team in dire straits with their rotation. He almost has to be.2 hours 16 min ago
Bat571With Olson's performance, and comments like that on Pries, Erasmo's hold on a roster spot is pretty tenuous. I keep expecting something, especially with Rollins hitting 94 in a 3 up, 3 down 5th. But then again, maybe the 'Stros would rather have Rollins back if he's doing that.4 hours 23 min ago
Bat571The Pencil on Pries: "I've been impressed," said manager Lloyd McClendon. "He's a strike thrower, he shows a lot of poise. I'm excited about him being at the Triple-A level. It certainly gives us more depth with our starting pitching, in case we do have injuries. That's a nice feeling. I can see why people in our organization like him a lot. He's pretty good."4 hours 31 min ago
SABR MattElias will be in MLB...either s second lefty or as a starter6 hours 27 min ago
Tacoma RainI like the Correia signing, but I have to question Correia's thought process6 hours 56 min ago
Gordon GrossThat's basically the plan as I see it, yeah TR - unless Elias is used as a long man to get through April when pitch counts are still restrictive and see where we're at. I'm looking forward to seeing Gilheeney in the pen too, actually - he still has good arm talent, especially for a lefty, and might just need the Maurer kick in the pants from going to the pen to turn really interesting again. Major league rotation of Felix / Kuma / Paxton / Happ / Taijuan. You really gotta love that...7 hours 2 min ago
Tacoma RainAnd that's with Gilheeney, Snow and Anderson in the bullpen who also started more than 10 games last year in Tacoma.7 hours 6 min ago
Tacoma RainJust so I am getting this correct... Tacoma's rotation will be Elias, Hultzen, Pries, Olson, and some veteran from the group of Germano, Correia, Kickham, Caraway, A Fernandez if healthy... and possibly Erasmo or Rollins. That sounds pretty full to me.7 hours 20 min ago
Gordon GrossYep. A more cutthroat org might trade or cut Bloomie to make sure that both dudes are on the roster. Weeks is bringing a raft full of gloves to the park anyway, so Bloomquist's vaunted versatility is being taken over by the new McLemore. Doubt we'll see that though.8 hours 3 min ago
MtGrizzlyThe Miller-Taylor competition is going to be some kinds of fun.8 hours 16 min ago
Gordon GrossMiller with 2 jacks in this game, Zunino with one. Gotta love our glove-man power.8 hours 19 min ago
moethedogWalker and Miller! Bloomie whom? Saunders is way less worth our time than Correia, Matt. If this is one for the other, I have no argument.8 hours 35 min ago
Gordon GrossIf you don't know Olson, he was a nice little arm at Gonzaga, very accurate but a lefty who threw high-80s - fine as a lefty (I'm thinking when we drafted him), especially if he finds a couple mph in the pen. And with his delivery he hides the ball well, and that slider is pretty killer. A bit like Sherrill. I wouldn't have tried to start Sherrill, though, and Olson started all 27 games he appeared in last year, at 2 levels - and put up a mid-3s ERA up through AA. So he's got a repeatable motion (even though he will change the amount of sidearm he uses just to get another angle on hitters) and stamina - and let's not forget accuracy. Don't see a lot of slider guys with walks under 2 in AA. He's a fascinating dude. I assume we're gonna let him pitch out of the rotation in AAA this year, but he's another plug-n-play guy if that 2nd lefty spot opens up in the pen - or even a long man role.8 hours 40 min ago
Gordon GrossOlson Ks the side. DEFINITELY wants consideration as a full-bore reliever and not just a specialist - and that's at worst. Gotta love always grabbing a couple of these arms in every draft.8 hours 46 min ago
Gordon GrossOlson throwing a nasty changeup to righties now - nice. I always liked him as a LOOGY, but he wants consideration as more, and keeps getting better.8 hours 49 min ago
Gordon GrossJeebus. Nasty sliders, knee-buckling curves, running heat up and in... bring on the season for Taijuan!9 hours 5 min ago
Gordon GrossCorreia is better wall-splatter than Saunders for just that reason, Matt - rather have another choice if the only guy down there is Pries. I still expect to trade Erasmo for somebody's minor leaguer - maybe to the Rangers? Phillies? There is an early rash of injuries to deal with for several teams.9 hours 17 min ago
Gordon GrossTaijuan is destroying people. And his running barehanded catch of a little infield flare was impressive too. His curveball in the second just fell off the table, and the run on his fastball is really nice considering we've got 4 weeks til he actually has to start a game. Somebody wants to stay in the bigs.9 hours 19 min ago