The Invisible Fastball. "Six decades ago, a minor league pitcher accomplished something we'll never see again." (Single page version)
Harvey Dorfman, author of The Mental ABCs of Pitching and The Mental Game of Baseball, died on February 28th. A sports psychologist, Dorfman counseled hundreds of baseball players, mentoring some of the best players in the modern era. Mike Pelfrey called Dorfman after nearly every start. Roy Halladay, before he was "Doc," went to see the Dorfman and continues to give his book on pitching to all young pitchers. A 2009 profile of "Dr. Baseball" explained how Dorfman worked, "One week I’m Hamlet, the next week I'm Bozo. You come to me with a certain disposition; I better know who to play…. I am neither an asshole nor a saint, in totality. I am whatever is required at the moment."
Sabermetrician in Exile. Voros McCracken's radical idea -- that pitchers have very little ability to induce batters to hit into outs, and succeed mostly insofar as they can strike out a lot of hitters and give up few home runs and walks -- has changed the way baseball teams are constructed. (Heard of BABIP? That's him.) Every major league team has employees who rely on McCracken's insights. McCracken, struggling to make his rent in suburban Phoenix, isn't one of them.
He was previously introduced to the blue a year ago wherein he was heralded as the most incredible pitching prospect of all time. A year later, almost on cue, Stephen Strasburg makes his MLB debut tonight in Washington DC amid much fanfare. [more inside]
Meet Stephen Strasburg. He throws 103 miles per hour. He has a devastating slider, curve, and change-up. He is the sure first #1 draft pick going to the Washington Nationals. Why is this soooooo significant? Scouts peg him as joining the rotation immediately and thus completely skipping the minors. Unreal. [more inside]
Chris "Disco" Hayes is a relief pitcher at the AA level in the Kansas City Royals organization. As a submarine pitcher, his unorthodox delivery is easy to spot. He's developed quite the following-as much for his blogging as his pitching. It all started when he was selected as a blogger in the Arizona Fall League, and blogged an 'interview' with Uber-Prospect Matt Wieters.
Mariano's Gonna Cut You, and other stat-and-graph filled baseball analysis from Beyond the Boxscore. [more inside]
In their book The Secret of the Miracle Pitch, Japanese researchers using supercomputers modeled a potentially unhittable breaking pitch called the "Gyroball". Baseball has been simmering with debate over whether anyone can actually throw it. Seekers of the elusive pitch claim that Japanese superstar and MVP of the 2006 World Baseball Classic Daisuke Matsuzaka throws one, and cite this high-speed video (YouTube) as an example. Another video exists, of high school ace Joey Niezer purported throwing it. If it actually exists, the Gyroball would be the first new pitch developed in almost 40 years.