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:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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=== 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.

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BABVA,

Dr D

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Comments

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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