Sunday, February 21, 2010

Marshall's Mechanics

Back in December, I published a piece called "How not to throw a baseball", which concerned Yankees' prospect Brett Marshall.  Marshall had TJ surgery last year, and I noted that a gif of him throwing in high school displayed awful mechanics.  Chief amongst my concerns was that Marshall didn't have his forearm vertical at footstrike. This means that when a pitcher's lead foot plants, his arm is supposed to be cocked and vertical, pointing up.  If it is "late", and is horizontal or even pointing down (a la BJ Ryan and Yankees RHP David Robertson, sadly), then you place stress on the elbow ligaments and seemingly increase your risk for rupturing those ligaments and needing Tommy John surgery.  For reference, here is the gif again:


Yankees blog NoMaas published an interview with Brett Marshall on Thursday.  Check out this exchange midway through the interview:

GW: Are you planning on changing your mechanics at all due to the injury?
BM: I’ve been working on my mechanics since pitching instructs, since day one basically. I think [my mechanics] hurt me from throwing so much in high school. I played every position there was and never really gave my arm a break. I just had bad mechanics back then. I look at them now and they were not good at all. I’d mainly leave my arm behind and have to catch it up which puts a lot of stress on the elbow.
Emphasis mine.  Marshall is spot-on.  This was exactly my concern, and it is good to see that Marshall will attempt to rectify the problem upon his return.  I'd be interested to know whether this was something that Marshall realized on his own or had explained to him by Yankee staff.  I'm guessing it is the latter, which is encouraging.  Of course, it will remain to be seen if Marshall can recover from TJ, and if his revised mechanics will mean a loss of effectiveness.  One always has to wonder if the risky mechanics a pitcher employs are the reason that the pitcher is able to garner the velocity he needs to be successful, and whether he will still be able to pitch at the same level if he alters them. 

If you have a chance, make sure to check out the interview.  It's an interesting read, especially the parts in which he discusses how the Yankees modified his repetoire. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice analysis. I guess I should be checking you guys out more often. My bad.