This blog could be very extensive, however I’m going to try and keep it short and sweet. If you do not know who Trevor Bauer is yet, you will. He was the 3rd overall draft pick by the Arizona Dbacks in the 2011 draft from UCLA ( go bruins!). Bauer may have gone number 1, except he does not fit the typical build of a major league pitcher.
Sounds a little like someone I know 😉
Tim Lincecum is 5’11” on a good day and a whopping 165 lbs soaking wet. And although Trevor Bauer is a more typical 6’2″ he only weighs in at 185 lbs. Both pitchers overcome their physical disadvantages with mechanical advantages, and although Trevor admits to utilizing many of Tims mechanics they do differ in a few ways.
Both pitchers have a long stride length, although Trevor can be deceiving because is is quite a bit taller so its not quite as much as Tim’s 127% stride length. Looking at the two pictures below , both pitchers are just about to strike the ground their lead foot.
If you look at their right arm it doesn’t take a physical therapist or pitching coach to see the difference. Tim is still very early in his motion; meaning he has to get his arm from this position into the full external rotation position very rapidly. The disadvantage is the force on the shoulder, the advantage is the hitter will see the ball very late. With Trevor you can see how far his arm is behind him as his foot comes down, meaning his shoulder and arm will have to catch up to his body and put a lot of force on the shoulder.
When you look a little later in the motion, now both their chests and hips are facing the batter. What I notice most in this phase of their motion is the differences in elbow flexion. When you see more flexion in this position I worry about how much force the elbow is taking. The ligament that protects the elbow in this position is strongest at 80 degrees. So anything more or less puts more stress on the elbow.
Lastly is the difference in follow through.
Tim has the iconic high leg lift, while Bauer uses more of this arm to follow through. Most people will say the follow through doesn’t really matter as far as mechanics, however as a physical therapist I think it does. When Tim lifts his leg, he uses his lower body to help decelerate his arm. Without the leg lift the muscles in the back of the shoulder and back must work harder to slow the arm down, and those muscles can be then prone to fatigue and injury.
So those are a couple of my thoughts on the two. Both are excellent at using mechanical advantages to succeed. I do worry about the longevity of Bauer, so we’ll see how that plays out. People worried about Tim too and he seems to be doing just fine for now.
Just about 1 week until the season starts and I couldn’t be more ready!