Pitching Mechanics Analysis
Jess Todd is currently tearing up the minor leagues, so I'm
feeling pretty good about how I rated him in the 2007 draft.
Here is the e-mail exchange I had with the person I was working
This guy has a bad delivery and arm action BUT a plus slider
at 84-85 and late hard tilt. Solid out pitch and fastball is
90-93. He is a one inning guy and maybe best chance would be as
After looking at a couple of video clips of Jess Todd throwing, here's what I
had to say.
Here are my thoughts...
1. His delivery IS unusual. Feels pretty max-effort. I'm not
sure that it's necessarily bad (but it may mean that he's topped
out in terms of velocity).
2. Timing seems to be better than Welker's (at least in the
front view). PAS forearm seems to be pretty much vertical at the
moment his shoulders start to turn.
3. I like his arm action better than Welker's. His PAS elbow
doesn't get too high (but it is borderline). He also seems to
lead his hand break more with his PAS hand than with his PAS
elbow, which is good.
4. Points 2 and 3 make me wonder if Todd is actually a better
starter prospect than Welker. Why was he closing? Has he had
injury problems or problems with stamina? Was it just due to the
fact that he only had two pitches?
5. His major reverse-rotation of his shoulders reminds me of
Bob Feller (which is good) but also of Rick Ankiel (which is
6. He seems to kind of leap toward the plate like Roy Oswalt
or Tim Lincecum.
7. Lower body action reminds me of Bartolo Colon.
8. I like his stride (but he does seem to stride somewhat
9. Seems to get very good separation between his hips and
10. Seems to finish in a better fielding position than Welker
(I forgot to mention that I didn't how Welker finished). He
didn't seem to be in a good position to field his position.
FYI, the "Welker" I refer to above is Duke Welker, who was
generally regarded more highly than Jess Todd but who I didn't like due to his
The fact that Jess Todd relies so heavily on his slider
makes me nervous because of the load it puts on the elbow, but
he might be able to survive this as a setup guy or other type of
reliever. Below is a
video clip of Jess Todd pitching in the Spring of 2007.
Notice Jess Todd's good timing and how his Pitching Arm Side
(PAS) forearm reaching the vertical, high-cocked position before
his shoulders start to rotate in Frame 66. Notice how, while
Jess Todd's PAS elbow does get a bit high, it drops before his
shoulders start to rotate. Finally, notice how Jess Todd's hips
rotate well ahead of his shoulders; how in Frame 66 his hips are
open and his belt buckle is pointing at home plate while his
shoulders are closed and facing Third Base.
You can see the same basic things in this catcher's eye view of Jess Todd.
In particular, notice the good timing in Frame 42.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that, while Jess Todd's reliance on his
slider makes me nervous about the long-term health of his elbow,
his overall mechanics look solid and he might be able to survive this if he can develop
a good change-up or even a fourth pitch.