Back to Basics – Inside Marcus Stroman’s Mechanical Changes

 

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credit to Steve Russell for the image

Welcome back, after a half-dozen middling performances on the mound, Marcus Stroman is back and ready to reopen the StroShow this summer. After hearing talk of lost confidence and a demotion to Buffalo, Marcus Stroman has certainly picked himself up nicely in his return to dominance on the mound. In his two previous starts against the red hot Cleveland Indians and World Series champions Kansas City Royals, Stroman pitched for a combined 14.2 IP, only giving up 3 earned runs with 12Ks and just 2 walks. A lot of fans may be wondering how Stroman was able to turn it around so quickly, the answer to that lies in a simple mechanical change that Stroman made on the mound.

June 2016 spelled disaster for Stroman, as the young pitcher saw himself get shelled start after start by other major league teams. A ballooned 7.76 ERA, .357 batting average and 1.91 WHIP in June as a result of Stroman’s inability to keep the ball down meant a change in pitching mechanics for Stroman. These changes included a lower and narrower release point, which has been the catalyst for Stroman’s improvement on the mound.

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From June 2016. Notice how high and wide Stroman’s release is here.

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July 2016. Stroman’s throwing hand is now closer to his hip and his delivery is more polished.

A look above shows that Stroman’s delivery has seen noticeable improvements, the first gif shows Stroman’s throwing release starts at nearly at the same height as his face and his ball is very wide from his body upon release, getting the ball down with these mechanics would certainly be impossible, especially for a pitcher of Stroman’s build.

The 2nd gif shows Stroman’s throwing hand begin at his waistline and then rise and release nearer to his body. This give’s Stroman added ability to get his pitch to sink and spin – two key components to Stroman’s arsenal.

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The difference in Stroman’s horizontal release point in the month of July has been quite noticeable.

Another area that has improved as a result of Stroman correcting his mechanics is his velocity. A less erratic and more polished delivery has allowed Stroman to add a notch on the radar gun to his pitches. This has resulted in Stroman’s K/9 increasing from 6.75 in June to a better 7.36 in July. A look below shows that since making the delivery change in July, all of Stroman’s pitches have increased in average speed, factor that in with a lengthy rest due to the All Star Break and there is opportunity for the velocity to increase slightly more.release speed.jpeg

Perhaps the greatest benefit of the new mechanics is that it has made commanding the ball very easy for Stroman. The polished and narrower release has given Stroman a better feel for his pitches which in turn has lead to less base runners and walks. As seen below, Stroman has seen his walks drastically diminish and batting average more than split in half.STROMAN CONTROL-page-001.jpg

While it may be too soon to say that the 48-39 Blue Jays are out of the storm entirely with Marcus Stroman, his latest results have definitely shown promise in his resurgence. Putting these numbers up against the Indians in the midst of a 13 game win streak and pitching a perfect game to the 6th against the World Series champions is no fluke. Where there’s smoke, there is fire and right now the Blue Jays and Marcus Stroman have caught fire.

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