I thought I’d mix it up a bit and show you the ugly side of mechanics.
Without saying anything further, I give you Mark Redman.
This might be your first impression…
That doesn’t look so bad.
At first glance, Mark Redman’s mechanics look pretty normal. His rhythm and tempo are decent. While he’s not the quickest pitcher in the majors from the top of his knee lift to release, he’s certainly not the slowest. He seems to have good balance. He finishes to somewhat of a firm front side. Not bad right?
On the above clip, focus on his body, specifically his lower half.
1) See how Redman carries his hips/legs/torso forward aggressively forward using momentum to his advantage? Nope.
2) How about his aggressive torso rotation into release after his front foot lands? Not there.
3) How about that ultra-aggressive finish? Again, no.
Redman demonstrates some of the classic “tall and fall” principles where he gets himself to the “balance point”(top of his knee lift) and then begins a “controlled fall” towards home plate. He’s not using his body as well as he could. I could go on and on about this, but let’s not beat a dead horse and go straight to…
I’ve compared Redman to Oliver Perez (left), a pitcher who has pretty good arm action. I’ve slowed the animation down at the really ugly parts.
Notice how Redman’s arm has little horizontal loading. “Loading the scapula,” the term for bringing the arm/elbow behind his body(towards 3rd base for lefties) is an important factor in creating arm speed. Also notice how in the beginning frames of this animation, Redman’s arm seems to straighten up. I like seeing at least a slight bend of the elbow, as Perez shows.
How stiff does Redman’s arm look compared to the loose, elbowy, whippy arm of Oliver Perez?
When he ugliest swing meets the ugliest arm action in baseball, special things happen. I encourage all my readers to find (and tell me where to find) the clip of Gabe Kapler homering off Mark Redman.
Mark Redman, today’s nominee for worst arm action in the world.