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The best pitching mechanics.
Who does that describe?
That's a more complicated question than it first seems, because the answer depends on whether you care about injuries, and injury risk, or not.
If all you care about is throwing hard, damn the consequences.
I DO care about injuries, so my answer to the question of who has the best pitching mechanics reflects an attempt to balance both dominance and durability.
A balance I'm convinced can be struck, at less cost than the Conventional Wisdom would have you believe, assuming you have one thing.
Best Pitching Mechanics
My list of pitchers with the best pitching mechanics — defined as pitchers who were both dominant AND durable — is, sadly, fairly short, especially when it comes to active pitchers, and looks like this, in roughly descending order.
I might also include Carlos Martinez in that list, in third place, depending on whether he's reverted to his classic mechanics or is still doing the Tall & Fall crap the Cardinals taught him, robbing him of his athleticism and ruining him.
The pitchers listed above I obsess about, ordered in roughly descending order based on a balance of velocity and durability.
For years, Justin Verlander was at the top of my list of (active) pitchers with the best pitching mechanics.
That was because of Verlander's superior Timing; how his pitching arm always got UP on time.
Then, at the end of 2019, Verlander went to Ron Wolforth.
Wolforth taught him the DRIVELINE (stuff); made Verlander compatible with the Conventional Wisdom about pitching mechanics.
And ruined Verlander.
A problem I saw coming in advance, and that I tried to warn Verlander about.
To no avail.
Of all the active pitchers, I'd have to rate Aroldis Chapman as having the best pitching mechanics.
The caveat, of course, is that Chapman throws the living crap out of the ball, which isn't absolutely necessary for being successful.
And can significantly increase the risk of injury.
However, Aroldis Chapman moves EXTREMELY athletically and, still, quite well.
I was able to watch Nolan Ryan, on TV, if not in person.
What more do you need to say about a pitcher who was dominating hitters into his forties?
Tom Seaver was right before my time, but I've found enough pictures of him to understand why he was both dominant and durable.
I grew up hearing stories about Bob Gibson...
...and close study of Bob Gibson's pitching mechanics...
...reveals his secret.
What got my attention about Mariano Rivera was his Cutter, which I tried to replicate.
However, the more I studied Rivera, looking for pictures of his Cutter, the more I realized how clean his pitching mechanics were.
As my kids got older, I focused my attention on Greg Maddux, his pitching mechanics, and the ridiculous ways he could get the ball to move...
However, the more I studied Maddux, and as with Rivera, the more I noticed how well Maddux moved, which I suspected was related to his durability.
As for why modern starting pitchers can't stay healthy?
I figured that out by studying Greg Maddux and comparing and contrasting him with modern pitchers like Mark Prior.
As I did, the more obvious it became that modern pitchers LOOKED different because they MOVED differently than the pitchers I idolized and studied ad nausaeum.
The key difference being their Timing.
The position of their pitching arms when it started to come under load as their shoulders started to turn often, but not always, at front Foot Plant.
Mark Prior and his pitching mechanics was where I first noticed the pattern, but he wasn't the only one who helped me see it.
And predict problems.
Living in St. Louis, Anthony Reyes quickly caught my eye due to his pronounced — even worse than Mark Prior's — Inverted W.
Yes, there were guys like Justin Verlander...
...who still seemed to move well, but there seemed to be fewer and fewer pitchers who displayed the pitching mechanics of the greats.
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