“You can never stop learning in this game and you shouldn’t stop learning in this game.” Kyle Freeland reminds us of that value—and appears to have already reaped the benefits of offseason training this spring.
He discusses how he’s educated himself on his own pitching efficiencies by watching his own pitching from previous years. He relishes the good adjustments to his current delivery this spring, and proves his studying has done him well: “Going back and watching the video, I can actually see a lot of that delivery from when I was in high school in college.”
The art of high-level pitching features impeccable timing and sequencing, and a pitcher having prior video of good sequencing is a great resource to learn from. Thomas Harding says “after possibly trying to do too much, first by pausing as he strode toward the plate and last year by pausing at the top of his windup, Freeland is throwing like a kid again.”
Thomas Harding discusses how the top of the pitching rotation looks bright. He says German Marquez and Jon Gray appear to have taken a “step forward,” that Kyle Freeland’s modified delivery has him “headed in the right direction,” and that Antonio Senzatela “showed the secondary pitches that had been long coming.” They are the presumable candidates for starters one through four.
Harding does discuss limitations after those four guys. Tim Melville hasn't pitched in a spring training game this year due to a rib injury. Peter Lambert was shut down after suffering a forearm strain last week, and may not pitch at all this season. Chi Chi Gonzalez has pitched 10 innings this spring, allowing seven earned runs. Jeff Hoffman has tossed 5.2 innings this spring and allowed four earned.
Statcast fans have plenty to look forward to once this season is underway. 12 advanced video cameras make up a standard ‘Hawk-Eye’ outfitting; all 30 teams will use the new system that is “able to detect previously unmeasurable properties of pitches.”
“The cameras have high enough resolution for 19-point skeletal tracking, so the actual body position of players will be recorded in each frame.” Hawk-Eye is capable of providing data for markerless motion capture, in skeletal form, in a competitive setting.
Strike zone accuracy can reportedly be measured, “plus or minus, a fourth of an inch horizontally and even better vertically.” It may take us a step further toward enacting an automated system that calls strikes and balls.
Opening Day is looking more like eight weeks away, at least.
Recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ward against gatherings of 50 or more people for the next eight weeks. Two teams fielding 26-man rosters would be over that mark with players alone, assuming players on a field is indeed a ‘gathering’.
Patrick Saunders writes about how Bud Black feels a three-week preparation is essential for pitchers to be ready to go. If this three-week on-ramp happened exactly eight weeks from now, it would mean May 12 is when this second ‘spring training’ would start. Three weeks of preparation after that would get us to June 2.
Players will have to get creative with their preparation in the present moment, especially now that the White House is recommending against gatherings of over 10 people. Colorado Governor Jared Polis declared on Monday that gyms will be closed, making it difficult for baseball players across the state to get their work in like before.
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“You can never stop learning in this game and you shouldn’t stop learning in this game.” No matter what your ‘game’ is, we can learn how to be more effective in our pursuits of excellence for when normalcy does return. We’ll just have to be a little more clever in our respective pursuits in the meantime—and a little more mindful of those struggling a little extra.