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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SABR MattMoneyball thought - did the Mariners intentionally leave 1B open because it's pretty easy (theoretically) to work a prospect or platoon bat in there when he's hitting enough to merit the call? The media is talking about how big of a gamble it is for Seattle to count on Logan Morrison. I see five guys queued up in line behind him with a legit chance to be productive: Montero, Weeks, Kivlehan, Peterson, Romero.28 min 24 sec ago
benihanaI'm with you Matt. I kind of want the M's to trade Taylor, Lomo, and Ramirez for Fielder and some $$. What a murderer's row would Cano, Cruz, Fielder, and Seager make?17 hours 25 min ago
DaddyORight re: underground drip irrigation. That's what I was referring to. If you are spending $125 million on ballplayers every year you would think it would be worth it to protect that investment even if it costs a million dollars a year. I dunno, maybe I'm wrong here.17 hours 39 min ago
SABR MattFWIW, I bet 37 roto dollars on Prince Fielder this year. I think he will have a good year18 hours 28 min ago
mojicianHamilton would have been the biggest bust in the history of Seattle. They would have run the entire Z regime out on a rail for 2014 Hamilton performance alone. It says here if you are going to have a star, he should have great makeup. I think Fielder will bounce back. His game wasn't dependent on being a yoga instructor. What he has are large muscles and a disciplined plate approach, see Papi, Big. Fat guys rake.19 hours 23 min ago
SpectatorAnd how about Z whiffing on Hamilton and Prince Fielder before connecting on Cano, the only one who looks to hold his superstar value? Balance of power in the West could turn on those three contracts.20 hours 11 min ago
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SpectatorLloyd says if Bloomie healthy, then Miller and Taylor won't both make roster. At least that's their plan at the moment.20 hours 42 min ago
SABR MattEven with that, i wonder if the system creates irregularities on the surface in ground texture21 hours 6 min ago
benihanaFor turf lawns we are talking 6 to 12 inches below grade. Not something that's gonna pop-up even in warn spots.21 hours 24 min ago
benihanaSubsurface Drip Irrigation for lawns should be buried well beneath the sod. Hoses under the ground, not hoses on the ground. Problem is you need to dig up all the grass, lay the irrigation and then re-sod, it's an expensive investment. But should be recouped with the decreased water usage alone, never mind the injury aspect.21 hours 27 min ago
SABR MattDrip-irrigation may actually be MORE risky for players...replace the rare, small sprinkler head with a labyrinth of hoses lying on the ground.22 hours 9 min ago
DaddyONo doubt, OBF. I have NEVER understood, given the salaries paid out to players these days, why teams don't do more (than they no doubt already do) to eliminate potential causes of unnecessary injury. You can't eliminate injuries that come as a direct result of player collisions, etc, but there is more that can/should be done with facilities. Why have sprinkler heads? I'm no landscaper or hortoculturalist, but isn't drip irrigation more efficient than sprinklers? Doesn't one player-year of injury for a star player due to sprinklers pay for the entire cost of installing drip irrigation on a ball field? Maybe I'm being unrealistic, it's just something that I've always questioned when I hear about such injuries. Another example would be walls and fences, which have shown some improvement over the years with padding but still seem to have unpadded areas that could be rather easily addressed.22 hours 19 min ago
OBFDaddyO... those fields and every field that every player plays on has those same sprinklers and same soft spots... Blame it on extremely bad luck, blame it on injury proneness and ungracefulness like Matt said, but you really can't put this one on the club... thousands of players spend thousands of hours on those fields every spring... Saunders is just the lucky first to trip on a sprinkler head I guess? Yup, Matt, sure glad we flipped Saunders for something useful.22 hours 56 min ago
DaddyORe: Ackley's new baby, as a person I'm happy for him. As a fan, it occurs to me that sometimes the birth of a first child gives a player a new, even stronger reason to succeed.23 hours 27 min ago
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SABR MattYeah...it's a freak injury, but there are players who get freak injuries more often because they are not graceful, or because their connective tissue doesn't handle stress well. Saunders seems to be both not graceful AND prone to injuries that are worse than the triggering event suggests they should be. I, for one, am glad we got value for him in trade.1 day 7 min ago
OBFSoft Spot in the ground has got to be worse than rounding the bases (Snelling) in terms of, "Good grief what did you do to get such bad karma" ranking... Not quite as bad as, what was it, carrying a suitcase up some stairs for Sasaki, though ;)1 day 20 min ago
OBFI feel for Saunders, totally sucks for him, similarly I feel for Derick rose as well (same injury actually, torn meniscus), but JackyZ has to be thinking, :"Heh, heh, heh... see, internet, I TOLD YOU SO!" Lots of sites raked Jack and Mac over the coals for not trusting Saunders and for trading him away (in what they saw as) an unfavorable trade... are they going to issue retractions or admit The M's were right on this one now?1 day 25 min ago
MtGrizzly@ShiDavidi: Michael Saunders stepped on soft spot around underground sprinkler on outfield grass while shagging flies yesterday. Left knee buckled.1 day 45 min ago