happened to Justin Verlander? He broke as a result of an ill-conceived effort by
pitching coach Ron Wolforth to fix a phony flaw
An effort that was TWICE preceded by episodes of Triceps
Warning signs that were ignored.
This is an overview of what happened to Justin Verlander. For
more detail, see my...
I saw Justin Verlander's problems coming well in advance, as is
shown by my...
What Happened to
If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
It's such a basic rule of thumb.
Yet it was violated, breaking Justin Verlander, my favorite pitcher.
JV's the pitcher I tell pitchers to study and emulate, if not copy.
Or he used to be.
2020 May 8
So what happened?
Why did Verlander have Triceps problems?
In 2015 and 2020?
Why does Verlander now need Tommy John Surgery?
The answer can be found in my tweets.
2020 March 6
And in the Conventional Wisdom about pitching mechanics.
After coming off of a Cy Young season in 2019, Justin Verlander
was told by a pitching instructor named Ron Wolforth that he needed
to change his pitching mechanics — to become more consistent with
the Conventional Wisdom about pitching mechanics — if he was going to last.
Wldorth's rationale was that JV had a flaw called
Forearm Flyout that he had to fix if he wanted to keep pitching
beyond 40 years of age.
The problem is that was a complete misdiagnosis.
And, generally, a TERRIBLE idea.
And I said as much, starting in November 2019.
I immediately noticed those changes in March 2020.
Completely predictably, that led to arm problems.
Verlander & Duffey
The change was initiated by an instructor named Ron Wolforth, who has the ear of Verlander,
and who thought JV did the same thing as Tyler Duffey.
So Wolforth told JV he needed to change before he broke.
The problem is Wolforth's analysis was — obvously — flawed.
As a result, Wolforth moved Verlander from an ideal pattern
to a problematic one. A problematic
pattern that is entirely consistent with the Conventional Wisdom
about pitching mechanics.
The same Conventional Wisdom that explains why modern pitchers
throw harder but can't stay healthy.
As a direct result.
Verlander vs. Duffey
Justin Verlander's arm problems start with Ron Wolforth and his concept of
(Pitching) Forearm Flyout, which Wolforth illustrates using Tyler
Duffey of the Twins.
Wolforth a few years ago diagnosed Verlander with
(Pitching) Forearm Flyout and prescribed the
Connection Ball as the cure.
Justin Verlander Using a
Connection Ball in 2015
The problem is that, like prescribing antibiotics to a patient
who doesn't have an infection -- an anology I use in
Pitching MRSA to explain the problem with the
Tommy John Twist -- Wolforth's prescription didn't FIX the problem.
Because the problem didn't exist.
And, worse, but as a result, CREATED a problem.
Justin Verlander had problems with his Triceps.
Historical photos of Justin Verlander, from his time with the
Detroit Tigers, show that, while JV WAS a Long-Armer, he NEVER had a
problem with (Pitching) Forearm Flyout.
Ron Wolforth, I guess, confused Verlander's Long-Arming -- which
many people are prejudiced against for reasons most can't explain --
with (Pitching) Forearm Flyout.
As for why people don't like Long-Armers like JV, I can't find a
reason, much less a good one.
Tyler Duffey's Problem
Don't get me wrong.
What Tyler Duffey does is BAD.
But it's not (Pitching) Forearm Flyout.
Rather, Tyler Duffey has a Timing problem as a result of a
particularly bad version of what I call the
Tommy John Twist.
See how Tyler Duffey
Points the Ball at Second Base? While his pitching arm is
And creates a major Timing problem.
His arm is LATE.
But it's not Pitching Forearm Flyout.
And it's VERY different than what Justin Verlander does.
Justin Verlander's Mechanics
As I discuss at length in my
analysis of Justin Verlander's pitching mechanics, at no time
has Justin Verlander ever employed the Tommy John Twist.
JV has never Pointed that Ball at Second Base.
Instead, and as pictures show, Verlander points the ball at THIRD
BASE, which is what pitchers do naturally.
What got Justin Verlander into trouble is the elbow angle changes
-- flexion rather than extension -- that Wolforth had JV make.
How Wolforth took Justin Verlander from Long-Arming to
For reasons that are historically indefensible.
And that led to his elbow problems.