Over at the Baseball Think Factory, one scout did an analysis of Pat Neshek's mechanics. It is called "Bringing Some Sidearm Cheese." I've often wondered myself how Neshek was able to deliver with such velocity for someone who threw with unconventional mechanics. I hesitate to say that Neshek is a side-armer or submariner; he is, but he's different.
The scout gives three reasons why Neshek can throw hard for a side-armer. Reason one is his tempo. Tempo is something that I was introduced to in another article a few weeks ago. My understanding of tempo for a pitcher is how quickly the pitcher gets rid of the ball once he begins his delivery to home (when he separates his hands). And Neshek does do that well.
Reason two is Neshek's ability to "scap load." The frames in the article are somewhat amazing. Neshek really gets his elbows back. He needs to be very flexible to get his elbows it that position before delivery. It also seems to generate power like a rubber band. The further you stretch it, the more power it generates when released.
Reason three is Neshek's ability to maintain a firm front side. Side-armers almost always just fly open. When viewed in slow motion, I couldn't believe how Neshek firmed up his left arm and brought his elbow into his shoulder. At the beginning of his delivery, it appears that he is going to fly open--and he does with his hips. But right as he gets to the power position, his elbow comes to his side and he firms up. And he does it without pulling down with his elbow.
The Tom House school of pitching changed of alot of what we know to be good pitching mechanics. I don't know a whole lot about them, but I know firm front side is key. I realize that I am repeating much of what you can read at BBTF, but I was really amazed that as unconventional of a delivery as Neshek has, he still uses some of the basic keys to good pitching mechanics. I think it is a testament to mechanics that conventional pitchers are taught.
After Monday night's Twins-Yankees game, the lack of position player depth of the Twins became obvious to me. I knew they had a terrible bench going into the season, but I guess I didn't think losing a guy like Cirillo (or even White for that matter) would be bad. I was wrong. As a result of BOTH Cirillo and White going down, we are going to be giving lots of at bats to Jason Tyner and Josh Rabe. And that's not good. Cirillo is a nice bat to have at 3B/DH against occassional lefties (as long as those at bats don't come at the expense of Jason Kubel). Losing Cirillo and White makes this punchless lineup alot more punchless.
The other thing I was worried about after Monday's game was Jason Bartlett. JB has been awful so far. Bad defense. Bad offense. In fact, he and Nick Punto are, in my opinion, the biggest reasons for the Twins' poor start on offense. They need to get on base for the offense to score runs. They haven't. And the offense has not scored any runs because they sure as heck can't hit home runs (three to date.... ugh). I wasn't worried about Bartlett's ability to play through this and look more like Jables version 2006. What I was worried about was whether Gardy would let him, especially after Alexi Casilla was called up yesterday. In today's Strib, Lavelle E. Neall III quoted Gardy as wanting to get "Barty" going again, indicating that Jason has a longer leash. He even went as far as making excuses for him, saying that the turf has been tough to get used to. That is the type of behavior that Gardy usually reserves for veterans (see Carlos Silva). So I guess my fears have been assuaged for the time being.