Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Who should wind up? Starters no. Closers yes.

David Price reminded me of something I wrote in the original Radical Baseball document:

Radical Baseball

June 9, 2006

1. Start the closer.

...  The closer is the only pitcher who probably will not need to pitch with runners on base. Why doesn’t he wind up? The starter is the only pitcher who winds up, yet he is the most likely to pitch with runners on base because he pitches the most innings. About 25 years ago people realized that relief pitchers often pitched with runners on base, so relievers abandoned the wind up. But the closer could and probably should wind up. How come nobody has realized that? It’s pretty simple.

Lefty Price beat the Yankees last night 2-1 at Yankee Stadium.  Former lefty starter Al Leiter mentioned on TV that Price uses maximum effort and grunts when throwing his fastball, which Price still pounds into the strike zone effectively even though his velocity has decreased from about 95 to 92 mph.  His SO per 9 innings in 2014: 10.5; career 8.4.

David Price does not wind up.  In fact, he hardly moves, then suddenly launches his pitch.  Price won the American Conference Cy Young award in 2012.  He is still only 28 and will be a free agent after 2015.  This is a subject for a future post: should rich teams be allowed to buy players from poor teams?


Unknown said...

Probably pitching with a windup creates more velocity for the least energy expended. For most pitchers, I would speculate, their command of pitches is better out of the windup than in the stretch. David Price is an outlier. He's an exception, not an example. Same with Walter Johnson, who threw with a motion that no one has copied since, yet maybe five pitchers in MLB history pitched as many games. He said he probably could not throw two or three games like other pitchers throw and still remain active: he'd retire with a sore arm!
Windup or stretch, whatever gives a pitcher pitch command, he will use.

Kenneth Matinale said...

Do any relief pitchers wind up?