Summer Throwing Program; A Look at Pitch Design

By Bahram Shirazi (BSEE, MBA, Co-Owner RPP)

Our Summer Throwing Program has many components, including pitch design.  For pitchers looking for more than just velo, we incorporate a Pitch Design component in the program to help improve their overall movement pattern.  The program not only teaches you the science and data analytics that go into pitch design but also how to implement it on the mound. Continue reading “Summer Throwing Program; A Look at Pitch Design”

Pitch Design and Development… The Pursuit of Abnormal Movement

By Bahram Shirazi (BSEE, MBA, Co-Owner RPP)

The article below is from a righty pitcher’s viewpoint.

A while back we wrote about a topic titled “What is Relative Movement? And Why is it Important?” (click here). This article looks to further refine that concept, and it’s a topic that all high-level pitchers should consider at all levels of the game.

Continue reading “Pitch Design and Development… The Pursuit of Abnormal Movement”

How We Assess Baseball Pitch Movement w/ New Tech?

By Bahram Shirazi (BSEE, MBA, Co-Owner RPP)

Note: All reference to ball pitch movement in this article are from a righty pitcher’s viewpoint.  If you’re a lefty just flip the charts over (side-to-side).

The introduction of new tech like Rapsodo cameras is changing the landscape for pitchers at all levels. Until recently, most pitchers would focus on their pitching mechanics and strength training.  Now, technology is bringing a whole new realm to pitching at the point of release and we have a third leg on the stool that can’t be ignored:

    • Pitching Mechanics
    • Strength and Conditioning
    • Point of Release

Continue reading “How We Assess Baseball Pitch Movement w/ New Tech?”

Pitch Design… How to Throw a Cutter

By Bahram Shirazi (BSEE, MBA, Co-Owner RPP)
Robbie Aviles (Pitching Lab Coach)

Today’s article is on how to throw a cutter with pitch design, the same pitch Mariano Rivera made a nice living with, even though his opponents knew it was coming nearly 90% of the time.  Cutters or cut-fastballs move differently than every other fastball.  But before we go any further let’s establish what we consider to be a cutter and there is no better place to go than Rivera’s pitch… Continue reading “Pitch Design… How to Throw a Cutter”

Pitch Development and Design… Pitch-by-Pitch

1. Pitch Development and Design… Basics

Tomorrow’s elite pitchers have to learn and take advantage of the implications of data analysis.  Advancements in technology have brought data to the doorsteps of commercial baseball facilities and the future will be never be the same.

When pitchers are moving at rapidly increasing speeds, observing and evaluating a pitcher’s movements with high speed data capture can be truly eye opening. The amount information can be overwhelming at first, but as you begin to grasp it, the aha! moments begin to accumulate. We are discovering things about pitchers that were unfathomable just a year ago without this technology.  Pitch Design is here and it will change how tomorrow’s pitchers will be trained… [click here]

Continue reading “Pitch Development and Design… Pitch-by-Pitch”

Why Don’t Pitchers Know How to Throw a 2-seam Fastball?

By Bahram Shirazi (BSEE, MBA, Co-Owner RPP)
By Robbie Aviles (Pitching Lab Coach)

For eons pitching coaches have been showing young pitchers how to throw a 2-seam by rotating the baseball from a 4-seam grip to a 2-seam grip and telling them to go-ahead and chuck the ball.  The implication being that a simple rotation of the ball in the hand along a different set of seams will create the desired movement. Unfortunately, we’re going to bust that myth today and throw away years of pitching instruction!

Tech is here to help us learn how to throw a 2-seam fastball.  It’s meant to have just a little less velo than a 4-seam, but break more laterally, towards arm-side.  However, most pitchers (at least in our universe and we are willing to bet everywhere) can’t throw a good one.  After some basic research with Rapsodo and a high-speed camera, we can tell you with 100% certainty it’s not the pitchers fault.  Unfortunately, unbeknownst to most pitching coaches, the seams alone don’t create the movement.  Something else is responsible for it.

We aren’t here to lay blame on anyone.  Who knew?  Well, Dr. Alan Nathan did.  During an interview with Fangraphs (11/5/2013), Dr. Nathan (University of Illinois, THE baseball physics dude… Lol) said “I’m relying on laboratory experiments that seem to show that all other things being equal, a four-seam pitch and a two-seam pitch, if the spin axis were oriented exactly the same, would break exactly the same.”

Think about that for a second!  Back in 2013, he was basically saying that if the baseball is held differently but released similarly to generate the same spin axis, then both the 4-seam and 2-seam pitches will break the same way.  This basically implies that generally the seams may have little to do with ball movement.  So, we tested it here recently at RPP.  The following is a summary of our findings.

Regular 2-seam – Here is the data and high-speed video from an actual 2-seam.  We labeled this “Aviles Pitch A: 2-seam”:

    • Total Spin: 1768
    • True Spin: 1767
    • Spin Efficiency: 100%
    • Spin Axis: 01:34
    • HB / VB: 15.1 in / 14.1 in.

2-seam w/ 4-seam Grip – Here is the data and high-speed video from our Myth Buster pitch (pitching cue was “think about throw a 2-seam while holding a 4-seam grip”):

    • Total Spin: 1780
    • True Spin: 1780
    • Spin Efficiency: 100%
    • Spin Axis: 01:36
    • HB / VB: 15.0 in / 13.7 in.

Here is the data side-by-side, including a regular Aviles 4-seam pitch.  As you can see, so long as you release the ball the same way off your fingertips to generate the same spin axis, you can create similar movement by throwing a “2-seam pitch w/ 4-seam grip” as a regular “2-seam pitch”.

Here is a better visual of both pitches along with a regular Aviles 4-seam (in blue):

Our Myth Buster pitch (yellow) has basically identical movement to a regular 2-seam pitch (red, hiding behind the yellow).  What does that tell you? It basically says that the orientation of the seams by themselves don’t necessarily generate the direction of movement.

In a prior article “Pitch Development and Design… What is Relative Movement?”, we reviewed how spin axis determines the direction of movement.  So, if you want to throw a 2-seam and it makes you feel better holding the ball like a 2-seam then god bless, but make sure you tilt the axis to get the results you’re looking for.

So, why do so many 2-seams suck? Because young pitchers haven’t been taught how they can tilt the axis for various pitches.  Rotating the ball along the seams by itself doesn’t create a 2-seam. Myth Busted!

A Comprehensive Report on Rapsodo Pitching Data

By Bahram Shirazi, Nunzio Signore and Robbie Aviles

Rapsodo Pitching

During the past year, we have spent endless hours crunching pitching data and there are some unbelievable and amazing conclusions which we would like to share with you. This report is a summary of approximately 10,000 pitches thrown by 50 high school-level pitchers, randomly selected from our various winter, spring and summer programs. The new Rapsodo camera system exposes a great deal and explains why “the eyes lie”. We are willing to bet that our findings are not unique but rather common place in youth pitchers everywhere. Continue reading “A Comprehensive Report on Rapsodo Pitching Data”