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Justin Verlander's Pitching MechanicsThe 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.

Active Pitchers

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.

Retired Pitchers


The pitchers listed above I obsess about, ordered in roughly descending order based on a balance of velocity and durability.

Justin Verlander

For years, Justin Verlander was at the top of my list of (active) pitchers with the best pitching mechanics.

Justin Verlander's Pitching Mechanics

Justin Verlander

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.

Aroldis Chapman

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.

Aroldis Chapman's Pitching Mechanics

Aroldis Chapman

However, Aroldis Chapman moves EXTREMELY athletically and, still, quite well.

Nolan Ryan

I was able to watch Nolan Ryan, on TV, if not in person.

Nolan Ryan's Pitching Mechanics

Nolan Ryan

What more do you need to say about a pitcher who was dominating hitters into his forties?

Tom Seaver

Tom Seaver was right before my time, but I've found enough pictures of him to understand why he was both dominant and durable.

Tom Seaver's Pitching Mechanics

Tom Seaver

Bob Gibson

I grew up hearing stories about Bob Gibson...

Bob Gibson's Pitching Mechanics

Bob Gibson

...and close study of Bob Gibson's pitching mechanics...

Bob Gibson's Pitching Mechanics

Bob Gibson

...reveals his secret.

Mariano Rivera

What got my attention about Mariano Rivera was his Cutter, which I tried to replicate.

Mariano Rivera's Pitching Mechanics

Mariano Rivera

However, the more I studied Rivera, looking for pictures of his Cutter, the more I realized how clean his pitching mechanics were.

Greg Maddux

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...

Greg Maddux's Pitching Mechanics

Greg Maddux

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.

The Epidemic

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.

Mark Prior's Pitching Mechanics

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.

Anthony Reyes' Pitching Mechanics

Anthony Reyes

Yes, there were guys like Justin Verlander...

Justin Verlander's Pitching Mechanics

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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