Adam Wainwright and
the Inverted W
Adam Wainwright just went down with
a significant elbow injury. I assume he is going to need Tommy
John surgery. As a result, I have put together this updated piece
that pinpoints his exact problem using more recent video.
Toward the end of 2010, Adam Wainwright
was shut down early. Now it's reported that he is having serious
problems with his elbow and may need Tommy John surgery. Let's go through some frames from a clip of him
pitching and see if we can identify the root cause of his
In Frame 37 above,
Adam Wainwright has the ball at his Pitching Arm Side (aka PAS)
hip and is starting to swing his Pitching Arm back toward Second
In Frame 3 above,
Adam Wainwright has swung his Pitching Arm back toward Second Base
and is just starting to bend his PAS elbow. However, and IMO
critically, his PAS elbow keeps moving upward after this frame.
55 above you can see Adam Wainwright's PAS arm forming a fairly
pronounced "M" or Inverted W
with his PAS elbow above the level of his shoulders and his PAS
forearm hanging down below it. This creates a timing problem and increases the
distance over which, and the force with which, his PAS upper arm
will externally rotate and in place an increased load on both his
elbow and shoulder.
What you see in
Frame 59 above is what led me to be concerned about Adam
Wainwright's PAS shoulder and elbow. Notice that his PAS
forearm is horizontal, not vertical, and his PAS elbow is still
above the level of his shoulders as his front heel plants. What's
more, if you look at the birds on the bat logo on his chest, you
can see that his shoulders have been rotating for a number of
frames (at least since Frame 57). That
will increase the load on both his elbow and his shoulder.
You can see the same
thing in the picture above of Adam Wainwright. Notice how his
front foot is planted but his PAS forearm is horizontal and his
PAS elbow is above the level of his shoulders.
If you compare
this picture with a picture of Greg Maddux at the same
moment, Greg Maddux's PAS forearm will be vertical at this moment and his PAS elbow will be 6 to 9 inches lower. I
believe that is a very significant difference and that if Adam Wainwright doesn't fix this, then his shoulder will go next.
This is Just the Beginning
This isn't just an academic, post-engagement exercise in Monday morning quarterbacking. Instead, it actually
represents an opportunity. Elbows can be fixed, but shoulders are
much harder to fix. Adam Wainwright needs to improve his pitching
mechanics if he is to realize even a portion of his potential.