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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rick82We don't have a Big Papi, but Jesus could be our Big Sloppy1 hour 51 min ago
rick82For the right side, let's hope for a growth between the ears and a shrinkage around the gut and thighs of one Jesus Montero. Versus lefties, the dude has a lifetime batting average of .318 and OPS of .827. That would help take the sting away when Pineda is dominating the AL East next season.1 hour 52 min ago
rick82But holy cow, Seager: .300 BA and .893 OPS in Safeco for 2014. That's real star territory there. We need to get more of that from our lefties. Looking at you LoMo, Ackley, Saunders, Miller.1 hour 57 min ago
rick82Actually, take that back. Just spitballing, but Joyce is redundant with Ackley and Saunders around.2 hours 33 sec ago
rick82Saunders and JJ is veteran grit plenty for the bench. And bsr, the slugging for Cano in Safeco is interesting. Seager was a monster at Safeco, slugging .523 in 2014. We just need to locate and sign more hitters like him. I would like to pry Matt Joyce from Tampa.2 hours 6 min ago
MtGrizzlyWishful thinking, Matt. I've seen that same number posted every off season.3 hours 28 min ago
MtGrizzlyThat would be my bench, Bat. Saunders, JJ, Taylor and Sucre. But I'll bet that Lloyd will want some veteran grit there.3 hours 34 min ago
SABR MattWhere did this 120-130 million payroll come from? I'll believe it when I see it.3 hours 39 min ago
Bat571So, in late innings, behind by just a run or two, they decide to walk LoMo - put in JJ and let him drive the pitcher nuts like we've seen he can do. He may not be the big OF bat we need, but he could be quite the weapon off the bench if he can play any of the OF spots plus 1B. Ignoring Willie Bloomquist for the moment, a bench of Saunders, Taylor, and JJ, would be quite the quiver of weapons.13 hours 41 min ago
Bat571I bet Miller, Taylor, and JJ all get reps at other positions next spring. I can understand that JJs speed is wasted if he's a 1B like he was in college, but if he's a bench guy anyway, then put him there when you need to to get him on base in late innings. And his size and athleticism are in Olerud's class. So, bye Smoak and Morales - LoMo and JJ will do just fine - and we still have Willie and Ackley if need be.13 hours 53 min ago
Bat571Look at the post-ASB numbers for some of the M's, though - Saunders .952(!); Morrison .789; Miller .794; Ackley .783, and Cano .808. Now think of Kemp or VMart or JoeyBats between Cano and Seager and maybe Rios hitting .300 batting 7/8 when someone else sits for a day. I could live with that. And then Jackson with a bouce-back, Seager improving, and JJ learning to hit bendy stuff as the 5th OF & BU 1B - yeah, I'd get excited!14 hours 1 min ago
bsrWow I totally missed that Matt Kemp had a 600 SLG after the ASB and wound up at 850 OPS for the year with 25 HR. 9 in September. That would have been nice to have.15 hours 10 min ago
bsrCano's SLG was actually higher at Safeco this year, 470 vs 440 on road. The key question for this offseason will be how to get more hitting, and specifically do we go for another Star and hope he can also juice Cano's production (eg, steal the Detroit roster model by signing V-Mart), or do we try to finally patch the black holes with reliable Civics? To me, the bullpen is already good, and rotation depth should be addressable fairly easily without breaking the bank. Payroll will be $120-130M I predict, which should offer some real flexibility and we can finally see if Jack has what it takes to get us to the promised land.15 hours 18 min ago
bsrCano's season stat trend the past 3 years is so fascinating. He is like a metronome in BA and OBP: 313/314/314 and 379/383/382. I mean, that's just incredible. He's been losing SLG though, and cutting down the K's as well. I really hope he can regroup in the offseason having experienced a year of Safeco / being on a bad hitting team, and figure out a way to get back to 20-25 HR next year. 14 is not enough from our best hitter unless they can get another lineup anchor to match him with.15 hours 27 min ago
bsrSeager wound up at 788 OPS. M's yet to produce an 800 OPS hitter since A-Rod. In MLB this year, 35 players hit this level. Seager had the #42 OPS in MLB. Very good, but not good enough for the 2nd best hitter on a team with no depth. Hopefully next year he'll get over the 800 hump, he's been improving bit by bit each year.15 hours 47 min ago
rick82Haven't heard from Jeff in a while. Hope everything is OK.16 hours 50 min ago
rick82Another thing to watch this offseason: will ownership get serious. Gordon, where are you "hearing" this regarding a potential sale? Anything beyond old Baker speculations?21 hours 42 min ago
SABR MattI hope they do get sold. And to someone who lives in the U.S., watches baseball occasionally, and...um...gives a crap.1 day 1 hour ago
rick82Matt, it can't be so hard. We've have GMs in the past whose names no one would ever remember who could find these guys: In 1979, we signed this guy to a free league contract: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/hortowi01.shtml (Willie Horton), and later flipped him with other spare parts (yes, the expansion era Mariners had spare parts) for this guy: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/z/ziskri01.shtml (Richie Zisk).1 day 1 hour ago
Gordon GrossWell sheesh Matt, hurry up and buy controlling interest! I hear the Ms might be for sale. For a paltry 900-ish million they can be yours.1 day 1 hour ago