Down in Arizona at the Fall League, there were some freaky things going on — and I’m not speaking about the loud lady with the flags and the one-woman chants up front. Take a look at a couple of these strange athletes.
It’s not polite to laugh at his pitching motion, or call him a “Large Lincecum,” because that’s just mean. Also, Josh Collmenter pitched five innings with eight strikeouts and no walks on November fifth – pushing his record to 3-0 – so he cares little for my tawdry jokes. But, it is a little funny. Joel Henard of Baseball Daily Digest interviewed Austin Romine at the AFL Rising Stars game (last clip of the bunch) and asked Romine about Collmenter’s delivery. According the Yankees’ catching prospect, it seems that Collmenter’s funky release point is part of the reason for his success. If I’m hearing Romine correctly in this clip, it sounds like the high release point makes his curveball harder to pick up right away, and that just reminded me of garik16’s excellent piece debunking the idea that the release point was important to a curveball’s success. Then again, as Mike Fast showed us in his recent treatise on release points, we are still learning a lot about them since they aren’t specifically tracked by the pitch f/x cameras.
Maybe Fabio Castillo should be in the major leagues like yesterday? He may only have limited bullets in this delivery. I’m not a doctor or a scout, but all that recoil at the end of his delivery can not be healthy. Then again, pitchers are successful with all sorts of strange deliveries, right Tim Lincecum? Perhaps as we get better at mapping a pitcher’s motion and release points, we’ll get better at using that information to predict injuries and find the appropriate best practices.
With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.