=== Half Time Dept. ===
If you were to take Snell's first three innings, and triple them, and express them as a pitching line, you'd get this:
9ip 15h 9r 9er 9bb 3k
If you were to take Snell's last three innings, and triple them, and express them as a pitching line, you'd get this:
9ip 12h 0r 0er 0bb 6k
Snell's first two pitches of the game, he:
1) landed on his heel, with
2) his toe angled into the Rangers' dugout,
3) straightened his knee early ... and then
4) hyperextended it jarringly as his weight traveled over his front foot.
During the rest of the first at-bat, he landed more on his toe, straightened his knee much later, and never hyperextended the knee. For the rest of the first inning -- three outs, one walk, one hit -- he was off-and-on.
In the second and third innings, Snell was locking up his front knee 80-90% of the time. It was simply amazing to me how much difference this made in his "bite" and control.
His pitches mushy and wild, the Rangers tatoo'ed him for 3 hits, 2 walks, a smoked liner, and 2 other outs over the next nine hitters.
Then Rick Adair came out to the mound, with 2 on and 0 out in the third, and went back to the dugout, and Snell landed much more lightly on his toe the rest of the game.
Have no idea whether Adair addressed it, or maybe Adair addressed something else that, in turn, caused Snell to land less heavily on his front foot.
But, WHOOM, Snell's light deceleration returned, and the very next pitch (the first pitch to Kinsler) Snell threw a hellacious 80-mph drop pitch right at the knees. The rest of the game, Snell's pitches had the bite again.
He went 4.0 innings from there, 5 hits, 0 walks, 2 strikeouts, and threw much better.
For 2010, the silver lining is that Ian Snell has shown the star arsenal, and he's obviously not far off of realizing it.
=== Rhythm ===
This is just a quibble, but Snell has a habit of throwing a pitch and then hustling off the mound, three steps in an unpredictable path, to demand the ball back from the catcher.
Jack Nicklaus, in Golf My Way, pointed out that a golfer will hustle away from his shot after he strikes it when he finds the shot unpleasant. It's an effort to get the experience over with.
A golfer who is enjoying his shots will stand there, club over his shoulder, admiring his shot in leisurely fashion. The guy who smacks the ball, puts his head down, and stomps away is not enjoying the game.
You could construe Snell as eager for the next pitch, but I read him as wanting to get away from the pitching rubber...
Snell is very "busy" between pitches. He walks around behind the mound before he takes the rubber. He's a little bit jittery as he takes the sign. There is a lot of wasted energy in his motion. His feet don't land in the same place twice. After he throws, he practically jogs away from the rubber.
All in all, he looks kind of like Seneca Wallace in the passer's pocket when he's on the mound. :- ) The feet are always ready to go somewhere.
By contrast, starting pitchers like Brandon Morrow and Doug Fister are calm and still on the mound, take very few extra steps, and get comfortable in one particular spot.
:- ) I had a friend in school who, when it was his turn to rebound for me shooting baskets, would "move my feet" if I hit five in a row. He'd toss the pass back just far enough away that I had to re-set my feet. Just to be a jerk, you know? LOL.
Part of "rhythm" is to move the feet less, not more. Greg Maddux took it to the point to where he wanted the catcher to throw back the ball so that he didn't have to move his mitt.
Snell's the opposite of a starter's rhythm. He has a closer's rhythm -- max effort, nervous energy, let's get this over with.
Anyway. First thing I'd do, with Snell, is talk to him about rhythm, and about landing on the front toe. This kid has barely gotten started on his potential.