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The EpidemicHow do you create the next Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Mariano Rivera, Justin Verlander, or Aroldis Chapman and not the next Mark Prior, Matt Harvey, Alex Reyes, or Riley Pint?

That question is at the basis of my research into Pitching and Pitching Mechanics and, since 2005, I've been working to answer that question.

Mariano Rivera Pitching Mechanics

Mariano Rivera

Along the way, I identified the cause of, and a solution for, the epidemic of injuries in baseball pitchers; a solution that starts by focusing on the differences in how velocity is created.

Chris O'Leary on Pitching

When it comes to pitching in general, and Pitching Mechanics in particular, I've been thinking and writing about a number of topics...

My approach involves studying the pitching mechanics of dominant and durable pitchers, starting with hall of famers like...

  • Nolan Ryan
  • Tom Seaver
  • Mariano Rivera
  • Greg Maddux

...and modern greats like...

...and the pitching mechanics of frequently-injured pitchers like...

  • Hunter Greene
  • Matt Harvey
  • Alex Reyes
  • Mark Prior
  • Stephen Strasburg
  • Kerry Wood

...and comparing and contrasting how they move and how they create velocity. Combine that with meticulously combing the scientific literature, and the answer to the epidemic isn't complicated.

Justin Verlander Pitching Mechanics

Justin Verlander

I'm probably best known for my research into the Inverted W — the problematic arm action with the pretentious name — and the bogus and libelous attacks on my work, my reputation, and me in Jeff Passan's The Arm, but that's only a tiny fraction of my work, the latest of which includes...

Nolan Ryan Pitching MechanicsWhile criticized by my competitors, my approach to studying and developing pitchers is time-tested.

As my ability to predict injuries makes clear.

First, question everything the pitching mechanics industry says. Don't take anything for granted. Go back to the original sources. Read everything you can on biomechanics, kinesiology, and related fields. Keep up on the journal articles. Buy a high speed camera. Hell, buy four.

Second, study great pitchers who had long careers. Pitchers like Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Mariano Rivera, Greg Maddux, and David Price. Look for commonalities. How do they move? Is it similar?

Third, study pitchers who have had injury problems. Pitchers like Mark Prior, Jaime Garcia, Stephen Strasburg, Matt Harvey, and Jose Fernandez. Look for similarities. Do they tend to move similarly. Do they have similar flaws? Look for differences between the two groups.

After 10 years of studying the similarities and differences between the Nolan Ryan's and the Mark Prior's, I have detected a number of patterns, patterns that I'm working on summing up in a new series of eBooks called Dominant & Durable.

Most Recently

Most recently, I participated in the...

...discussing a number of topics...

  • Hooking the Rubber
  • Lead Leg Stability
  • Stride Length

I also put together a short slide deck to adress one important topic that came up...

Jeff Passan's The Arm

Jeff Passan's The ArmWith the release of the hatchet job that is Jeff Passan's The Arm, and as I put together my thoughts about being part of The Arm, I want to be completely clear about my current position on the key topics related to the pitcher injury and Tommy John surgery epidemic, starting with the root cause of most problems...

...and continuing on to the movement patterns that generally work by compromising pitchers' Timing...

Jeff Passan would have you believe my work has no basis in science, so you might want to read...

For a guy who's work has no basis in science, my predictions are pretty accurate...

Finally, in terms of the solution to the problem, I call it...


Stephen Strasburg Flat Arm SyndromeThe Inverted W is one of the chief culprits behind the epidemic because it tends to create a Timing problem, and Timing problems — not arm actions or positions — are one of the main reasons why pitchers get hurt. For example, Stephen Strasburg's pitching mechanics are problematic not (just) because of his Inverted W, but because his Inverted W predisposes him to something I call Flat Arm Syndrome. I discuss this topic at length in my Inverted W and Stephen Strasburg podcast.


The best way to sum up my philosophy and my approach to studying and developing pitchers is with two words.

Dominant and Durable.

While most of the industry — knowingly or now — is focusing on developing relievers, my focus is on creating great major league starting pitchers; pitchers who throw hard with nasty stuff while also staying healthy. While some would say that's impossible, I am driven by the success of pitchers like...

  • Mariano Rivera
  • Nolan Ryan
  • Tom Seaver
  • David Price

...and my focus is on discovering and explaining how they became as good as they were and are, while still staying healthy.
   Along the way, I have come to understand the main causes of the pitcher injury and Tommy John surgery epidemic and why pitchers like Jose Fernandez, Matt Harvey, and Stephen Strasburg and others can't stay healthy.


The EpidemicThe Epidemic is my ongoing investigation into the root causes of the pitcher injury and tommy john surgery epidemic. It grew out of my efforts to keep my sons and their friends healthy — to keep what happened to me from happening to them — by applying my experience troubleshooting large computer systems to the problem of pitching injuries. Along the way, I also happened to learn a lot about troubleshooting hitters.


I made a number of pitcher injury predictions during 2015.


I understand the current emphasis on velocity. It makes everything easier. The problem is, there is a difference between how modern pitchers are being taught to create velocity and how great, durable pitchers like Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan created velocity. That difference explains the injury problems of Mark Prior, Matt Harvey, Stephen Strasburg, Jose Fernandez, and many others.

I have spent the past 10 years studying the pitching mechanics of Tom Seaver, Nolan Ryan, David Price pitchers who were both Dominant and Durable and incorporating those lessons into my DVDs and eBooks.


As I explain in The Epidemic, one reason why pitchers are increasingly getting injured, and needing Tommy John Surgery, at increasing rates is due to how they were taught to throw. Throwing Mechanics 101 discusses proper throwing mechanics and how to develop them.

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