One of the hardest pitchers in the MLB and also one of the youngest is pitcher Yordano Ventura for the Kansas City Royals. He has made a big impact in the Major Leagues with his incredible pitching velocity reaching triple digits. He has been a phenom ever sense he came into baseball from the Dominican Republic with the Royals.
The curiosity of most who watch him pitch is how is he throwing so hard with such little effort. He seems to be barely trying to throw hard and the ball comes screaming out of his hand at 100+mph sometimes. Many want to know is it his pitching mechanics, leg power, "arm strength," or his incredibly quickness that contribute to this amazing pitching velocity. The best way to answer this is all of the above but watch the video below to truly see it all working together.
In this video below, I will go over the pros and cons of his delivery and mainly point out what mechanics is driving his pitching velocity. It is also important to note that this is a incredible athlete when it comes to speed of movement. He is very fast and has the amazing ability to put his body speed into the baseball but he does have a key mechanical flaw with his arm path.
Yordano Venture Pitching Mechanics
Yordano Ventura was born in Samana, Dominican Republic on 6/3/1991. He bats and throws right handed. He stands at 6 feet tall and weighing in at 180 pounds. He made is Major League debut on 9/17/2013 at 22 years old. If you like this pitching analysis below then please subscribe!
Yordano Ventura Pitching Breakdown
In this section, I will highlight some of the pros and cons of Yordano Ventura's pitching delivery that I covered in the video above and a little more. He scores very high biomechanically in the 3X Evaluation System but he does show some negatives with his throwing arm path that need to be addressed. Lets first look at his positives.
I will lay out his positives working from the ground up. Because he is not a 3X leg driver he doesn't have a lot of lower leg positives in his pitching mechanics. His approach is more what I call a "knee slammer." To learn more about drive leg styles watch my video.
His first positive is his force moving into front foot strike and his ability to stabilize this force with his front leg. This with his late arm cocking gives him some good separation timing of hips to shoulders. To also help leverage this separation of hips to shoulders he establishes and maintains a good contralateral tilt of his trunk at front foot strike to pitch release. Contralateral tilt means towards the glove side. To finish his delivery his arm path is ideal for a high velocity fastball but does walk the line a bit. His horizontal abduction and shoulder abduction from arm cocking to maximum external rotation is at a peak level which really allows all of his leg power and accelerations of this leg power through his separation move into his arm and then the ball.
The only negative which is more than likely why he has already been experiencing shoulder problems is his horizontal abduction of his throwing arm at front foot strike. His arm is excessively positioned far behind his head to front foot strike. I truly believe if he would reduce this load on the throwing arm at front foot strike and make up for the loss of energy using his back leg drive as a more 3X drive then I believe this will keep him healthier. Pitchers that throw this hard must make these kind of adjustments because mechanical flaws like this is what could end a career.
I like what you are doing! Use of objective measures, such as times and angles can give players good reference points. I also like the way you go out of your way to remind viewers that there are many ways to do things. Excellent!
I am a pitching coach / instructor who uses the Momentum Pitching approach and who has benefited from (MP author) Doctor Brent Rushall’s willingness to carry on dialogue about teaching explosive movement and who has a pretty good grasp of at least that theory.
While Dick Mills has popularized some aspects of the Momentum Pitching method, he is also seeking to monetize it, and has IMO taken it just far enough to achieve that goal. This (money) is something that Rushall doesn’t seem to be primarily concerned with (although he does sell his e-books online) -which explains his willingness to give time and information away freely.
I would love to discuss the concept of hip / shoulder separation with you. Thus far, I have found that only Tom House’s research makes the assertion that hip/shoulder separation is of value in developing velocity in overhand throwing.
If you know of any other research which shows this, please forward it.
My problem with House’s research is that it was non-scientific and self serving; “reaching” for conclusions by creating experiments in non-high velocity throwing contexts (using throws from the knee etc.) which support preconceived ideas, as opposed to measuring phenomena during high velocity pitching and proving them theories by excluding the possibility of OTHER FACTORS supporting a theory.
As you point out, there are examples of guys who generate high velocity throws with and without ‘separation’. And in case of the hip / shoulder separation argument, if House’s research, which is ignored or rejected by the academic and scientific community as flawed and invalid, is the only research in support of the theory, but other explanations may exist, then we would all do well to avoid using the terms or at least add the disclaimer that the value of H/S Separation is disputed.
So much of what you say and your approach fits into what I believe, but references to H/S Separation are not. What other causes could explain H/S Separators’ high velocity throws? Well; are they all moving at a high rate of speed? Do they all have explosive leg drives? Do they all achieve high degrees of external rotation? There could be many factors.
The MP approach to H/S Separation suggests that there is no anatomical leverage that can be applied through the mid section and that while a small amount of separation may exist between the the timing of hip and shoulder rotation, making a conscious effort to separate is not safe. Rushall suggests that injuries to the back and spine are possible if this is promoted and strives for. My literature search of research on extreme torsion of the hips and waist confirms this fear.
Anyway, nice work and please let me know if there is any research which has been peer reviewed and accepted by the medical / research / scientific community which corroborates the H/S Separation theory.
Thanks so much. And please feel free to call.
East Boston, MA
Thanks for sharing your approach. Hip to shoulder separation was popularized with Tom House but there is another study besides his Velocity Study that supports it.
In my own data collection through my 3X Evaluation System of about 150 professional pitchers I have found an average separation timing of .1 second. This is the margin of time it takes for the shoulders to open after the hips have opened. Also in my data collection of low velocity pitchers throw my 3X Velocity Camp database I have an average separation timing of .06. That is a significant marginal difference of when the hips and shoulders open compared to a low velocity and high velocity pitcher.
It appears to me the Ventura uses the arm rotation principles identified by Dr. Mike Marshall. His shoulder rotation is more top down which allows him to engage his dorsi and tricep muscles in his throwing delivery. It looks almost effortlessly and what is really amazing is how his arm explodes at pitch release.