Jacob deGrom is undefeated with a stellar ERA. But he has lost 3 MPH on his fastball and could be facing a long stint on the disabled list if an issue isn’t addressed soon.
There’s an old axiom followed like law among baseball pitching coaches: “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” It applies to pitchers who perform well despite correctable flaws in their pitching motion. The New York Mets ace Jacob deGrom is a perfect example — as of this writing, deGrom is 3-0 with an ERA just a hair above 1.00. So what’s there to fix? He’s pitching superbly, when you look at the results.
But upon closer examination, two things jump out to even the untrained eye: he’s striking out only 7 batters per 9 innings, and his average fastball velocity is at 92 MPH. Those fine numbers for many pro pitchers, but they’re dramatically down for deGrom, who in 2015 dominated the competition with a 9.66 K/9 rate and a fastball that hummed at 96 MPH. At age 27, should be getting better — or at least maintaining — rather than getting worse.
Strangely, Mets officials pointed to a “heavy workload” in 2015 as the cause for deGrom’s diminished velocity, and completely ruled out a lat strain deGrom suffered after his first start of the season. I say “strangely” because it’s illogical to consider that last year’s innings could affect a pitcher who had about four months of rest prior to spring training — if he was still feeling less than 100% after that kind of layoff, then something physical is wrong and should have been checked out during the offseason. More illogically is stating that a pitcher’s lat is not related to his velocity. What’s the real story? Listen to this podcast to hear from a certified expert of body movement and troubleshooting pitching mechanics — sport kinesiologist Angel Borrelli.
Additionally, in this podcast you’ll learn why pitchers should IMMEDIATELY address forearm tightness, as it can quickly lead to an ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) tear and Tommy John surgery. We use Angels pitcher Andrew Heaney as an example, and Angel Borrelli troubleshoots Heaney’s mechanics, going into full detail about the timing flaw that caused his elbow flexor strain AND what he needs to do to fix it. That’s right — not only does she analyzes, but she offers a solution. As the late Mel Allen used to say, “how about that?”
During the “Teaching Moment” of this show, we discuss gadgets and drills that are supposed to “improve” the pitcher’s stride. Have you ever administered, or done, stride drills, pitched off a spring-loaded contraption, or attached something to the ankle as a means of changing the stride? Then you will want to listen to this segment — you may be shocked at what you hear.
If learning about lat strains, the lat’s relation to velocity, forearm strains, and stride drills aren’t enough to entice you to listen, then maybe you’ll be interested in a free tip to improve pitcher’s command — that comes in the “Location” segment. Listen below.
Please consider sharing this post with pitchers, coaches, and parents who want to learn how to improve pitching while staying healthy. Consider adding yourself to the email list so you can find out when the next podcast is out (that’s the ONLY purpose of the email — no junk). And/or, subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or Stitcher.