Jan 28, 2008

DID Hughes change his mechanics?

I'm certainly no expert on pitching mechanics, but a famous (or infamous) article about the differences in Phil Hughes' delivery between '06 and '07 says that Hughes' arm slot was lower in his stellar year of 2006. The video clips that Carlos Gomez used in his analysis were a one-inning stint from the 2006 Futures Game and his ML debut.

Instead, I used a regular season start from 2006 (Trenton vs. Binghamton) and compared it to his LDS Game 3 outing. I don't know the exact date of the Double-A game, but in two games (13.1 innings) against Binghamton in 2006 (before the Futures Game), he allowed 14 hits, 2 HR, 3 bb, and 18 Ks. Pretty damn good. And he appears to have the exact same arm slot as he did in the LDS. (The Futures Game had him throwing about 2 o'clock compared to 1 o'clock in Trenton and the LDS.)

Isn't it possible that in that one inning in the Futures Game, Hughes was a bit amped up, causing him to throw a bit differently? I mean, if we're going to get a truer look at his 2006 delivery, isn't a normal regular season Trenton start more telling than a one inning relief appearance in the Futures Game? Going by that and Dave Eiland's re-appearance (and the effect that had on Hughes), I believe his September and October mechanics were virtually identical to his '06 delivery when he had his best year. The same arm slot and the same fantastic results make this quite probable. So did Hughes ever change his arm slot? Perhaps not.

(Wish I could capture the screenshots I'm talking about, but no can do with YouTube and WMP.)

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