POTD Michael Pineda's Throwing Motion

=== Sidd Finch Dept. ===

Edit to add, we had a chance to slo-mo Pineda's throwing motion here tonight.   Now we got it.  :- )

What we had thought was an extreme short-arm motion, actually isn't, not as much as we thought it was.   What is strange is that Pineda under-rotates his torso, creating the same effect that short-arm pitchers get but through a different movement.

...........

(Almost) all pitchers turn their numbers to the hitter at least a little bit, and 80%-90% of pitchers, you'll be able to get a glimpse of the ball on the 1B side of their bodies for a moment.  Tim Lincecum is the best example of this, turning so far that he like pinches his neck.  Erik Bedard also does this, and Felix has taken to copying Erik.

Pineda, on his backstroke, rotates his torso virtually not at all.  He simply drops his back knee and sort of slides his left side directly toward home plate -- in a sense without winding up.  Bizarre!   Jim Kaat used to do that.

............

As his hands break, Pineda does reach his hand back until his elbow is about 90% extended -- but because his torso is not rotated, the ball is actually pointing towards the SS side of 2B at this point.  (I don't ever remember seeing any other professional pitcher for whom this is true.)

"At the top," meaning at the moment of "zero gravity" in which he is all the way back, Pineda's torso is only very slightly turned -- maybe a few inches -- and the ball is behind him, hidden from the batter.

.............

Pineda launches into his throughstroke using an incredibly powerful snap of his left hip and shoulder -- and his high right arm now bends again and coils behind his back, "winding the spring" and, coincidentally, keeping the ball in a spot that is completely blind to the hitter.

As his arm starts forward, it accelerates with obvious power, but our original observation remains -- the arc the ball travels to release point is much shorter than average.  So he needs more physical power to do the same work.

But it's an important clarification that his elbow is not particularly bent "at the top."  What is strange is that his torso turns only about 95 degrees to release point, rather than 135 degrees or more.

...............

Pineda has an oddly loose and easy finish - he's one of those long-armed, loose guys who practically touches his left kidney with his hand as he finishes.

...............

All of which helps to explain his "gnat-at-1,000-yard command" -- if we lesser mortals didn't have to rotate our torsos to generate power, we could keep better sight of the strike zone, and better balance etc., too.

...Maddux!  That's who I was trying to think of. ::taps chin::

Maddux didn't rotate much -- just sort of slid forward on the centerline.   Pineda does that, but Pineda uses even less rotation than you see Mad Dog using in the photo.

Maddux brought the ball down low on his backstroke, and hitters could see the ball over on the 1B side of his legs.  Pineda holds the ball about chest-high "at the top" and it remains slightly on the 3B side of his legs.  Other than that difference, you could find two dozen similarities between Pineda's and Maddux' throwing motions.

I wonder what would happen if Pineda brought the ball back lower to the ground, like Maddux.  In any case, Pineda's motion looks fine to me.  He is young, true, and throws awfully hard.  That in itself may be the issue.  Who knows how Maddux' principles would have meshed up with a 97 fastball...

...................

Anyway, it's great work if you can get it.  A 20-year-old could do worse than to filch Greg Maddux' trade secrets.

BABVA,

Dr D

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Comments

Not sure why, but 1st Lt. Hill ended up in Jackson, TN, too.  So you've got:

SP: Pineda -- Robles -- Cortes -- Hensley -- Hill

RP: Fields -- Varvaro -- Paredes

INF: Ackley -- Triunfel -- Liddi (Poythress and Seager ended up in High Desert)

OF: Dunigan -- Peguero -- Wilson (30, 31, 27 HR respectively) -- Kuo Hui Lo

Outfielders aren't really prospects, but it's cool to have a AA team with essentially a full rotation and a full infield that could be in the bigs in short order.

 

High Desert has:

Pitching: Feierabend (rehabbing, they say) -- Kenn Kasparek (best SP at the low-A level last year) -- Maikel Cleto (another from the JJP Mets haul; missed most of last year, but had 24 K in 25.1 IP when he pitched)

Hitting: Poytrhess -- Seager -- Johermyn Chavez ("other" player from the League-Morrow deal)

 

Clinton gets some of the highly touted youngsters:

C: Steve Baron

IF: both Nick Franklin and Gabriel Noriega -- Mario Martinez

OF: James Jones (one to watch) -- and the return of Dennis Raben (listed as RF)

 

I would expect that would put "the Mystery Prospect" Julio Morban at Everett since he's not on the Clinton roster.

1

Grumpy's picture

Grumpy

Wonder why no one is talking about him helping this year.  Might be a nice add for a playoff run.

Is the concern based on slowly increasing IP?

3

RockiesJef's picture

RockiesJef

People quiet because no one wants to j--x a potential stud that was actually raised on the hometown farm?  I think you have something on the slowly increasing IP?  When there has been some innings logged, he will be the talk of the blogs.

I would be interested if part of the arm problems last year was from this kids growth and having the pitching motion continually adapt to size.  It sounds like he still has good rotation of his body (rotation of hips and shoulders with the arm following) putting less pressure on his arm.  Being jumbo size he probably doesn't have to "coil" first (like the smaller Lincecum) before he has the fast rotation.  Size and strength, at that point, don't need to build as much leverage.  Lots of variations.  Kind of like a Lee Trevino had some very pecuilar movements but was incredibly consistent and when it counted, had perfect fundamentals.  Let's MP can have a live arm for years to come!

 

 

4

As you probably remember Jeff, that was precisely the syndrome they assigned to Morrow's shoulder problems in college -- huge gains in strength that taxed the "weak links" in his body.

c-points

5

RockiesJeff's picture

RockiesJeff

Jeff, the trouble with living out of town when I wasn't reading the blogs....more ignorant on much of that with Morrow, etc.  I had read in the Seattle papers when he was drafted how his velocity shot up from about 90 to high 90's in one year from growth, etc.  I always wonder during those growth spurts how many times a kid is throwing a curve, slider or just to the radar audience.  Today so many kids all lift which can add stress to those muscles.  Those don't automatically spell injury but I think during growth have to clearly increase the odds. 

I have been looking for video on Pineda as I am curious but have not found as work demanded something of me today!  I grew up on the Jolly Green Giant. I would like to watch one pitch now!  From what little I have seen of him, it is amazing with the growth, added speed on pitches, etc, he has been able to keep his control.  What Morrow never had.

6

Pineda's already anointed to SP in 2011, it would seem, and ya there's no use "jinxing" the guy by hard-selling him and then having a big disappointment if he's injured.

They want to take a year and manage his health, apparently.

The usual measured, rational Seattle Mariners logic recently.

7

Taro's picture

Taro

Looking at the picture on the other thread, Pineda has zero, literally ZERO hip-shoulder seperation. I still haven't seen vid, but I don't like that for a hard thrower since hes pretty arming the ball.

How's his timing? Is his arm close to 90 degrees vertical at footplant?

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MtGrizzlyTo be fair, it's not as if Smoak had any success with his 'old' batting mechanics.2 hours 25 min ago
moethedogModern coaches would probably try to fix M. Ott or S. Oh!15 hours 15 min ago
moethedogChanging a hitter's stroke is more tricky than we wish to admit. There is a lot of investment by a player that has to be discarded, some can't do it. Many struggle because the stroke they have is their natural one, and the right one given their particular set of physical skills, make-up, vision, etc. Just telling a player to "go the other way" and assuming that fixes him is problematic, as is much "teaching" in that regard. PGA Tour-level players regularly "lose it" as they try to make mechanical fixes, some never get it back. What we think is purely mechanical is often bio-mechanical, meaning that a persons body optimally functions is a certain way. "Fixing" that may not be a fix. You older guys will remember Keith "Silk" Wilkes, the former UCLA and NBA player. He had a completely weird jump shot stroke that you would teach to nobody...but it worked.15 hours 16 min ago
moethedog"Fixing" it would have been disastrous. I think both Smoak and Ackley have been "fixed" to death. leaving them alone would have been a much better option. Some guys can be changed for the better. Some can't. Leave those guys alone. Hitting coaches (like swing coaches) are paid to coach, so they do. But I think in the majority of cases they would be better (at the MLB level) if they just said, "Swing a lighter bat" or "stand closer to the plate" or "take a day off" a lot more than they do. Not every problem can be "mechanically" fixed.15 hours 17 min ago
DaddyOI hope Smoak figures how to carve out a productive MLB career for himself. Meanwhile, he remains just one of a number of M's can't-miss hitting prospects who so far have sputtered and missed. A team can only pitch so well. Meanwhile they have to score some runs. Of course that sentiment is preaching to the choir.16 hours 14 min ago
SABR MattMcClendon's impulse to get Smoak to hit the opposite way and get on top of the ball was, (assuming this analysis is correct) the right thing to instruct. Smoak wanted to be a power hitter though. A power hitter's brain with a contact hitter's actual power because his swing was greedy and mechanically flawed.17 hours 12 min ago
SABR MattJust had an interesting discussion with a hitting instructor who used to intern with the Yankees the year I was there about Smoak. He thinks the Mariners fouled up Smoak's swing mechanics. He sees in Smoak's vids, a guy who starts the bat head too low in the zone and whose swing is too wristy, meaning when he wants to hit for power (gets a cookie pitch), he is going to have to swing up at the ball and the barrell will be at both an upper-cutting and a hinged (pullside) angle. If he squares it up with that funky contact plane, the ball will be a very high fly ball (subject to warning track outs)...and if he gets funny contact, he will ground out to the pull side. Hey...remind me again...what were Smoak's main out types? When he looked at scouting vids of early Smoak...he didn't start the bat head too low and his swing was way less wristy.17 hours 13 min ago
Bat571I suspect the Ms let Blake walk, though. If he's smart, he'll run to the D'backs and sign for whatever to get a chance to work with Dave Duncan. He's the classic Duncan project - big RH that doesn't overpower people and needs to learn how to pitch.1 day 10 hours ago
Bat571Griz - I think Blake Beavan is still in the org. He was outrighted to Tacoma in August, and can become a free agent if not put back on the 40-man by a date that's pretty soon or signed to a new minor league deal, but the Ms still have a shred of the return left.1 day 10 hours ago
DaddyOThis has nothing to do with current conversations, but I sure like Joe Panik. Not just his stats, but the way he plays the game. This guy is going to be a fixture for a LONG time.1 day 13 hours ago
misterjonezLove to see the decision made on Smoak. The M's seriously need to re-evaluate their offensive development program, but when it's time to cut bait it's time to cut bait. LoMo looks like a better bet, and neither one projects as a world beater. Here's hoping Smoak can turn into Adam Lind in Toronto; I wish him well.1 day 13 hours ago
moethedogSo here's the Lind attraction: Career vR he is .293-.349-.510! (Career vL he's .212-.257-.331) In a platoon situation at 1B or DH, he would be a terrific (and relatively cheap ($) add. Is Montero the vL bat to go with him? What is the cost of trading for Lind? But if you want to bring 115 starts of vR mashing, Lind is a guy to consider.1 day 14 hours ago
MtGrizzlyAll of the guys that came to Seattle in the Cliff Lee trade are now gone from the org.1 day 14 hours ago
SABR Mattand at least one of those catchers that did make the final three isn't even major league average defensively...I'll let you guys figure out which one. :)1 day 15 hours ago
mojicianSpeaking of rigged, what about Zunino's gold glove nomination? He caught the filthiest pitching staff in the American league, he cheated and stole caught strikes on a grand scale with his pitch framing, and then there are the tangibles: His AL Rankings: Second in catchers ERA, Fifth in baserunners nabbed, Third in fielding percentage, sixth in passed balls despite catching the magic changeup, the shuuto, and the Pax Curvanus, Second in games played. It is hard to come up with any measure of a catcher that Zunino isn't near the top of the leaderboard.1 day 16 hours ago
mojicianWhat about DJ making the AFL all star game with his .641 OPS and Kivlehan snubbed with his .913 OPS? This seems rigged.1 day 16 hours ago
mojicianSmoak's gone? Heh. That was a long and painful relationship. I hope he does well.1 day 17 hours ago
moethedogI always felt he belonged in the NL.1 day 18 hours ago
DaddyOSo the promise of Smoak in Seattle disappears. What we hoped to be fire turned out to be water vapor.1 day 19 hours ago
SABR MattSo..What would you give up to get Adam Lind?1 day 19 hours ago