happened to Stephen Strasburg? In sum, his (at best) borderline
Inverted W arm action created a
problem where his pitching arm wasn't UP and in the
correct position at the moment his shoulders started rotating and
his pitching arm came under load.
Instead, it was FLAT, or nearly so.
A flaw I call
Flat Arm Syndrome.
While moving as he did likely helped Strasburg throw harder, at a younger
age, it worked by overloaded his pitching arm.
And there's No Free Lunch.
Despite Jeff Passan's dishonest and desperate smears in The Arm,
the facts don't change.
This piece is an overview of what happened to Stephen Strasburg. For
more detail, see my...
What Happened to
When it comes to
his pitching mechanics, the
thing that most likely comes to mind when Stephen Strasburg's name
comes up is the infamous arm action
with the pretentious name.
However, and as I first explained in 2007
with respect to Mark Prior, and again in
What the not so durable guys do is they take their
elbows back but they also take them up. Now, that's actually
painful to do, but it's not that bad in and of itself. The problem
is that when you take the elbows back and up, you can end up with
That Timing problem is visible in the picture below.
You can see the same pattern in this sequence of images from
Stephen Strasburg's debut.
Stephen Strasburg - Frame 17
Stephen Strasburg - Frame 18
What's the big deal with Stephen Strasburg's Inverted W arm
Stephen Strasburg - Frame 19
Stephen Strasburg - Frame 20
See how, as a result, his pitching arm starts turning, and coming
under load, when his pitching arm is FLAT and not UP?
Stephen Strasburg - Frame 21
Stephen Strasburg - Frame 22
What's frustrating is that Stephen Strasburg appeared to have —
mostly, at least — fixed this problem in, and by, 2019.
Thus his success in the post-season.
However, he wasn't able to maintain that fix, leading to his
problems in 2020 and 2021.