MSG T wrote:Except that Nolan Ryan, Randy John and Roger Clemens weren't all that dissimilar from Maddux and they were power pitchers.
The problem with Strasburg, and with Prior before, was that their pitching arms weren't in the right position when their torso started rotating and moving their arms towards the plate. That does two things. First, it causes a timing problem. Their arms are still rotating to get their arm vertical, and get into the correct position. That essentially makes their arms late. Second, and related to the first, is that rotation puts a huge amount of stress on the pitching shoulder and elbow.
When I get to a computer, I'll post a couple of pics, but when your front foot hits the ground, you pitching arm (from the elbow to hand) should be vertical (hand above elbow). When Strasburg's foot hits the ground, his elbow and hand are parallel to the ground, not perpendicular. This puts a ton of stress on his elbow and shoulder. If he doesn't fix his motion, he'll need surgery again before long.
Know who else's mechanics weren't all that dissimilar from Maddux? Strasburg, from the comparison posted. That's pretty much my entire point.
Strasburg has what is called an inverted W (I didn't come up with the name). His pitching arm isn't vertical when his front foot hits the ground, that's where his problems start (Prior had/has the same motion, with the added bonus of hitting heel first with his front foot). The other guys you bolded have their arms vertical when their foot hits the ground. Note the pictures below, look at Strasburgs pitching arm position while his foot is clearly on the ground, while Maddux' arm is higher than Strasburgs and his foot hasn't hit yet. I will admit, it's easier to see when watching video and going frame by frame. Also, I know it doesn't look like much, but, when you see what happens as the hips turn and the torso starts pulling the arm through, it becomes much more obvious. Strasburg is still raising his arm as those things are happening and the others aren't, and that puts more stress on the arm/shoulder than guys who aren't doing that.
Power pitchers with good mechanics will have similar mechanics to guys that aren't power pitchers, they are just able to get more out of their bodies. It's no different than hitters, guys with tons of power will have similar hitting mechanics as guys that don't, they just get more out of the swing. Are there outliers in each example? Sure, there always are. But those are outliers, not the norm.