So what does the gyroball do? According to Dr. Alan Nathan of the University of Illinois, the "pure gyroball" has a rifle spin that is perpendicular to the direction the ball is traveling. In essence, the ball spins clockwise (from the pitcher's perspective) while traveling from mound to home. This spin causes the pitch to drop more quickly than a normal fastball. Tilting the pitch to the side, so that the spin is somewhere to the right of perpendicular, causes the pitch to rise or at the very least not drop as quickly as a normal fastball. This video is the closest I have seen to a pure gyro. You'll notice that the ball drops rather than moving laterally.Carroll's article has already sparked some debate, including a pro scout who contacted another BP author to counter some of the article's observations. I'm sure that those comments will work their way into the discussion in due time, but the bottom line seems to be that this pitcher stands to inject something legitimately new into the American game. We'll have a better idea once he's actually stateside and his videos can be dissected by every scout and armchair pitching coach as to exactly what that is, but the chance to see such innovation with our own eyes has to rate among next season's most tantalizing prospects, regardless of your rooting interest.
...[T]he second variation of the pure gyroball is what I've assumed was the gyroball until recently. The work of ESPN's Patrick Hruby and Dr. Nathan have led me to discover that the "gyroball with side force" is the pitch that I have been teaching. By tilting the axis of rotation slightly up, the ball now moves laterally, away from a right-handed hitter. By tilting it down, the ball moves in on a right-handed hitter. In the time I've taught the pitch, one of the strangest actions was that occasionally the ball would break in rather than out, something that I simply couldn’t explain until now. This "side force" pitch should also break down, something that's not always seen. I think that the pitch is often thrown as something of a combo of the "side force" and "lift force" variations.
When thrown "properly," this variation on the pitch breaks hard away from a righthanded hitter. While I'll stand by my guesses that the pitch will break in feet rather than inches, Dr. Nathan's calculations that the pitch wouldn't break more than a normal slider interest me. I believe there may be some "optical illusion" to the pitch. Since it is normally thrown to initially travel towards the batter, the sharp break back to the plate may be throwing off our views. However, I have watched this pitch from every angle. I’ve stood in against it, and hate it every time. I have stood behind the catcher and behind the pitcher. I have even seen it thrown in games, and to me and others around me, the pitch appears to move more significantly than a slider.
...I've been teaching this pitch to a small group of pitchers for a couple of years, though I don’t evangelize the pitch. I find that most pitchers that throw it say that the pitch puts less stress on them than sliders do. I've worked with one minor-league pitcher who told me that it's as easy on his arm as a fastball. I am hoping that we can find out with high-speed video whether this is the case or not.
What's lost is that Dr. Himeno, the Japanese physicist that discovered the pitch, and his team have essentially created three, perhaps four pitches with their research and one grip. For pitchers with a great kinesthetic sense and the willingness to work on the pitch, the mechanics created by Himeno's supercomputer-based research have created a whole repertoire of pitches. I think it’s more likely that in the short term we’ll find that most pitchers will be as I believe Matsuzaka is now--working on the pitch, but not in complete control. When Matsuzaka told Jeff Passan of Yahoo that he hadn't perfected the pitch, I now believe that he meant that he could not control which variant he was actually throwing, rather than he did not throw the pitch at all. It holds that a pitch that cannot be controlled isn't thrown much, something born out by scouting data.
I LIKE [Humberto] Sanchez, but I'm not crazy about him. Good stuff, but consistent conditioning problems and at the same time, he's played four full seasons, and he's yet to get through even ONE without missing significant time.• Jaret Wright to the Orioles: absent the medical reports, I trumpeted his acquisition by the Yankees three winters ago, and I was oh so wrong. I will gladly pay $20 never to see him pitch again, though given that he's still in the AL East, I'll have to settle for never having to root for him again.
[Kevin] Whelan might be a little underrated, however. I like anyone who throws four different fastballs, and he has true set-up man potential.
[Anthony] Claggett, despite some eye-popping numbers, is pretty marginal on a stuff level. He's your classic plus slider/average fastball minor league reliever -- a combination that rarely works as guys move up.
June 2001 July 2001 August 2001 September 2001 October 2001 November 2001 December 2001 January 2002 February 2002 March 2002 April 2002 May 2002 June 2002 July 2002 August 2002 September 2002 October 2002 November 2002 December 2002 January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010
Subscribe to Posts [Atom]