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Staying Back Might Be Holding Them Back

Your recommended reading for the day comes from The Hardball Times, where Paul Nyman has done a vastly thorough job (complete with video) of breaking down Justin Verlander and Jeremy Bonderman in an attempt to explain their dwindling velocity this season. (Here's Part One of his feature.) Of course, this is a moot point for Bonderman now, as he very likely won't pitch again until 2009, and Verlander sure looked good on Wednesday. But the analysis provides something to look for through the remainder of this season, and into next year, as well.

It's a long read, but worth sticking with because after the initial video evidence seems to show no difference between this year and last year, in terms of each pitcher's mechanics, the tape does show crucial elements in their respective follow-throughs that could be affecting their velocity.

And for those of you who aren't fans of pitching coach Chuck Hernandez, Nyman might also give you some evidence to back up your criticisms. Specifically, Verlander and Bonderman might be losing some m.p.h. on their fastballs because of something Hernandez is coaching them to do. In fairness to Hernandez, however, it seems many pitching coaches at all levels of baseball might be drilling the same advice to their pupils.

But I've probably already said too much. You should go read the article. It's fascinating stuff.

(via Rob Neyer)