Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nats tweaking Jackson's windup

Associated Press photo
The Nats believe Edwin Jackson tips his pitches when throwing from the windup.
VIERA, Fla. -- Upon signing Edwin Jackson earlier this month, general manager Mike Rizzo mentioned that the Nationals might try to tweak the right-hander's delivery from the full windup after noticing he posted significantly better number out of the stretch last season.

It didn't take long for members of the coaching staff to pick up on one possible problem this morning during Jackson's first bullpen session of the spring.

Watching Jackson throw from the windup, pitching coach Steve McCatty detected the 28-year-old dropping the ball for a split second from his glove and potentially showing it to the batter before reaching back to throw it. McCatty asked Davey Johnson to take a look, and after watching himself, the manager asked catcher Wilson Ramos for his vantage point behind the plate.

"I did notice it from the windup that he did show more ball," Johnson said. "It wasn't real obvious. Actually, I went down and asked Willy Ramos: 'Can you see the seams?' Because I didn't have my telescope glasses on. I could see the fingers, but I couldn't see the seams. But [Ramos] said: Yeah, he could pick up the seams in the windup."

Jackson manages to hide the ball better when he's pitching from the stretch, which may explain in part the unusual difference in his stats when comparing the two motions. When Jackson pitched with nobody on base last season (ie. from the windup) opponents hit a whopping .339 with a .478 slugging percentage. When he pitched with runners on base (ie. out of the stretch) those numbers plummeted to .239 and .373.

Is it possible the disparity was due entirely to Jackson tipping his pitches?

"Hitters, we try to pick up pitches," said Johnson, a former second baseman. "This is a new variation. I haven't heard that one or seen that one. ...

"Now, he wasn't throwing breaking balls, so I don't know if there's any variation when he changes the grip. But all of that stuff is just part of us getting to know him."

The Nationals believe it should be a fairly simple thing to fix and plan to work with Jackson (who signed a one-year, $11 million contract) this spring on correcting the problem.

29 comments:

waddu eye no said...

aha! first to comment!
too bad i have nothing to say.

but y'all knew that

gyfng

natsfan1a said...

Nor do I, except for - second! :-)

Anonymous said...

just make him pitch from the stretch the whole time. problem solved.

Tcostant said...

I like they are tring ti fix the issue, but not fond of telling the rest of league the issue...

Anonymous said...

if this was really an issue, you'd think that the hitters on one of his many teams would have told him when he got there: "hey, we hit you better than we should because we could see the ball in your windup. you may want to fix that now that we're not trying to hit you anymore." i'm skeptical that it really will make a difference.

MicheleS said...

If they fix his problem, he can be a legit #2 (and possibly a #1), although, he won't be pushing JZ or Stras out of that role. And then I would take our starters over any others in the league!

MicheleS said...

And did you know that bon bon's go really well with Koolaid?

Knoxville Nat said...

MicheleS,

Do bon bon's go real well with a cold beer while sitting on my sofa and watching a game on television? Guess I'll have to wait for MASN's first ST televised game to find out.

Anonymous said...

the o's are using rick petersons biomechanical analysis,why dont the nats?

Doc said...

Thanks for the analysis update, Mark!

Now that's real baseball stuff, on everybody's part!

Still, it seems strange that Jackson could pitch for 8-9 years in the Bigs and nobody else picks up on it, like Dave Duncan, or Don Cooper, two well-respected pitching coaches that EJax played under.

Watching MLB Network, I see that Eric Byrnes has joined H. Reynolds and D. Pleasac at the Nats' Koolaide stand.

Goooooooooooooooooooo Nats!!

Wally said...

EJax has been around so long, I had this grizzled vet image in my mind. But he looks like a kid barely out of HS.

Anyway, while I would love to believe that there is this easy thing to convert him into a more dominant pitcher, I find it hard to buy into. In today's day and age with technology as prevalent as it is, especially with Boras as his agent, I just don't think there is going to be an easy fix like this.

Anonymous said...

I think that Rizzo thinks that EJax is a Cy Young type guy just waiting to find the right groove to get there. Here's hoping Mike's right!

Best 25 go North!

dfh21

Anonymous said...

If EJax is tipping his pitches, how is it possible that no one seems to know how he is doing it? By definition, people must know, else he ain't tipping! Eight different organizations haven't figured out how he is tipping, yet MLB bats 100 better when he is out of the windup. Something doesn't add up here. Are we sure he is tipping? Maybe his arm action out the windup flattens out his fastball.

lefty1950 said...

Maybe his concentration is better when he has men on base and he has to bear down. Without men on base he might not be concentrating as much as he should.

GO NATS!

Unkyd said...

I'm only hearing about last year, as far as the stretch/wind up disparity. I could see if he got a little careless with the ball, it might go unoticed for a few months?

Anonymous said...

Position player converted to pitcher still adjusting. Nothing to see here move on down
the line. Emperor Lannan with no clothes how are things with him hmmm?

Section 222 said...

I'm with Wally and Anon 3:25. It just seems far fetched that McCatty and DJ could identify a problem within a few minutes that the rest of MLB didn't notice and didn't fix. I know that these guys are miracle workers, but still.

Does anyone know whether the stretch/windup disparity was only last year, or is career long?

At any rate, here's hoping that EJax is as good or better than last year. That would still make him a darn good No. 4.

The Fox said...

So why doesn't he just pitch from the strech?

Who cares if there is no one on base, if he is more comforable and has more control than pitch from the strech.

Yea he might lose a couple of MPH on the fastball but the numbers show he is more effective.

If it was the other way around then there would be a problem.

Am I missing something?

Anonymous said...

This windup/stretch BAA is UNIQUE to 2011. Every previous year, his BAA was about equal with men on vs bases empty.

Also unique last year was fact that batters hit .400 on count of 0-0, 0-1 or 1-0. Was much less previous years. That tells me the problem was pitch selection last year.

http://sports.yahoo.com/mlb/players/7241/situational;_ylt=An5WWqfR1FmPY9AcCazYvRiFCLcF?year=2011&type=PitchingSit

whatsanattau said...

When baseball people say things like maybe he's tipping his pitches, they mean they have spotted it but don't want to tell the rest of the world what the exact "tell" is in case they haven't spotted it too. They use words like "maybe" and "correctable". To be clear though, just because you stop tipping pitches doesn't mean you win the Cy Young.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

Twenty-First!

Anonymous said...

Maybe he just bears down more with runners on base

Anonymous said...

But John DID tell everybody when he thought EJax was showing his grip. I don't think he has a clue whether EJax is tipping or not.

The Fox said...

Maybe that's why he walks people so he can bear down ;-).

Really what this shows is that Rizzo is still a scout at heart. I think he has thought for a long time that he could fix EJax but that is probably what the other 6 team he has played for though too.

I've been told that some nights he'll look like the best pitcher on your club and others will be burbon and malox nights.

Anonymous said...

Amanda Comak is reporting that EJax windup has already "undergone major overhaul" since last year. Someone should tell McCatty and Johnson before they spend a lot of time trying to spot the flaw ...

#4 said...

Guys fall in and out of habits tipping their pitches. It's not something that he's been doing for nine years. It's probably a fairly recent development.

Curt Shilling used to flutter his glove as he brought his hands over his head in the wind up every time he threw his split finger. It was a habit he had a hard time breaking even when it was pointed out to him.

bgib said...

Maybe he's not tipping anything and they're just doing this to give opposing hitters something to think about and look for.

natsfan1a said...

I wouldn't dig in if I was you. Next one might be at your head. I don't know where it's gonna go. Swear to God.

Sec 3, My Sofa said...

He doesn't want to go 3-0, so look low and away. But be ready for in-your-ear.

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