A Breakdown: Phil Coke

January 26, 2010 at 3:20 pm Leave a comment

(NOTE: Originally posted by myself at Bless You Boys. Go there for lots of great Detroit Tigers related content created by fans)

Here we go with another pitcher breakdown.  Since he’s one of our new guys I thought Phil Coke would be somebody we’d all be interested in learning about, especially when where he ends up on the Tigers roster (rotation or bullpen) is debatable.

Heres Phil Cokes vitals from FanGraphs.

Analysis after the jump.

Unfortunately I’ve been having trouble finding good video of Coke pitching in the Majors.  But I have minor league video from early 2008 that will have to suffice.  That’s the year he first got called up to the majors so there should be little to no difference to how he pitches now.  Plus I got 2 video’s:  one of the full windup and one of the slide step, I think that’s a plus.  ‘Nough rambling though, onto the analysis.

The Good

  • He’s nothing like Max Scherzer mechanically, which is a good thing.  Overall there is very little injury concern in this windup.  I’m not saying he’s perfect, but comparatively to Max, he’s pretty good.  Just not Justin Verlander good.  This is all I have to say for good stuff though.  Onto the weird stuff.

The Goofy

  • I really don’t like to watch pitchers do this, and that is pick the glove up over their head and bring it back down.  There’s no injury risk, there’s no risk to velocity, and as long as he does it the same everytime, there’s no risk to timing.  It’s just a stupid little unnecessary motion.  MadPoopz pitching 101 says keep things simple.
  • After his leg kick and right before he plants his foot, he pauses his plant leg.  Now again, this is like the glove thing, just unnecessary motion.  These unnecessary motions (or not-motions) in my opinion can only be of help to the leagues best hitters though.  If you’re the hitter and you pick up on that little pause in the motion right before the ball comes flying at you, that’s gonna help you at least time your swing a bit if your smart enough to know what type of pitch the count calls for.  But again, it’s not truly bad and maybe only Joe Mauer is the only guy who has figured this little quirk out in Phil Coke.

The Bad

Ahh my favorite section.  The section of the breakdown that identifies the inadequacies of pitchers.  This is the fun stuff to find.  Phil Coke doesn’t do much wrong however.  The only really major thing I spotted was this (maybe two things but I’m gonna lump them into one).

  • Phil Coke pitches tall.  It’s debatable as to whether or not it’s a bad thing because I’ve read points on both sides of the matter.  I am of the belief that pitching tall is bad for a couple of reasons.  First it prevents you from maximizing the your stride length.  Tall pitchers typically get a stride of about 80-90% of their height.  Now I lost the article that told me this, but why not just use a total stride length of more than 90%?  Part of the kinetic chain involved in pitching is getting as much of your momentum forward as possible, getting a stride close to 100% of your height will help you realize this.  The other problem I have here is the bend in leg when the plant foot comes down.  Coke might as well just keep his leg straight when his leg comes down because the bend is barely there.  Landing on a leg that straight effects pitching velocity and control.

MadPoopz Final Verdict: Really there aren’t any problems with Phil Cokes delivery.  At least not any fixable ones.  As much as I would like to see Coke learn to get low when he pitches, it involves adding another motion to his delivery–an extended bend in the back leg–and that seems like to much to ask of the guy at this point in his career.  This is the way Coke knows how to pitch and he’s probably been doing it long enough that it could be very hard to successfully add that big of a change.  So good job Phil Coke, your not quirky enough to need to change.

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Entry filed under: Player Breakdowns. Tags: , , .

The Kinetic Chain… Pitching Mechanics…

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