It was an exciting off-season for TopVelocity going into the 2015 season. I received two phone calls from Major League studs; Barry Zito and David Aardsma. Two polar opposites in this game who both opened my eyes to what it takes to succeed at the highest level of Major League Baseball.
First off Barry Zito is a starter and never threw harder than 94mph and David Aardsma is a short relief pitcher and rarely ever threw under 94mph until last season. David was once clocked at 102mph. Both have 7+ years of Major League experience. Barry Zito did win the Cy Young award in his career but David Aardsma won a College World Series with the University of Rice. Both unique, extremely intelligent, fun to work with and in desparate need of more youth in their fastball. Or should I say pitching velocity!
What I learned from these two amazing professional pitchers was they both had a secret of surviving in this game for so long which I will share with you. They both also had an insane commitment to being the best at their talent of pitching. One of them was willing to defy conventional wisdom and help prove baseball wrong but the other one lost perspective and gave into the status quo.
Barry Zito’s Big Mistake in 2015
I hate to put this negative energy out their about Barry Zito because he is a very positive guy and I really respect him and his talents but he disappointed me following our encounter. Barry Zito’s words after attending a 3X Pitching Velocity Camp went something like this, “My support team here in California believe that Olympic Lifting will wear down my joints and shorten my career.” My reply was something like this, “Barry, I showed you the science and how it proves that Olympic Lifting has no link to serious injury. Where is their scientific proof?” At this point in the conversation he said that he didn’t want to argue, that his mind was made up and I tried to make the point that he would regret this decision.
Watching him pitch this Spring Training 2015 was impressive. He had moments of brilliance but what he lacked at the end of the day was pitching velocity. This is why I was disappointed. I know he would have been pitching in the 90mph range if he would have spent his off-season training with the 3X programs. The problem for Zito is it is too hard to have to pitch perfect ever game when your fastball is sitting 86-87mph on average at the MLB level. I was completely convince if Barry Zito would have gone into spring training throwing 5mph harder, like David Aardsma did, he would have made the team. When Barry Zito threw his first pen in my facility, he was 84mph consistently. This usually means 86-87mph in games which is exactly where he was this spring.
The positive about my experience with Barry Zito was his ability to learn a new movement pattern quickly. Or learn anything new quickly. I haven’t seen many pitchers adapt to new training so fast. For example, he had never done a Power Clean and by his 4th rep he had almost mastered the technique. It takes some pitchers 3 months to do this. Watch the video below of Barry Zito hang cleaning, impressive for his first time ever! If he adapts this quickly to new training just imagine how quickly he adapts to hitters. This is his secret to success.
If Barry Zito really wants to play this game for another 7 years, as he confessed to me, then I hope he wises up and comes back to 3X Pitching because his body is in desperate need of some Olympic Lifting.
David Aardsma’s Resilience to Win in 2015
Just after receiving the news that Barry Zito had changed his mind about training here in Louisiana for the off-season, I got another phone call from David Aardsma. He sent me some video of him pitching last season in 2014 and then began to tell me about a 7 year Major League Career plagued by injury. Once I learned about the repeated damage he had done to his adductor muscle in his groin and then saw his back leg knee slamming drive going into front foot strike, I cringed in pain. It was painful just to watch his delivery. He would slam so much force into his groin that I couldn’t believe he made it out of college baseball.
I immediately showed David how his back leg knee slamming drive was the source of all his problems in one of my 3X Pitching Video Analysis and told him once he learns to create more internal rotation in his back leg drive his career is saved. I also told him he would need some Olympic Lifting to redevelop the loss of leg power from the years of surgery and neglect. He wanted to learn more so he came to my facility just outside of New Orleans when he finished a series with the Zephry’s. The Zephrys is the Marlins AAA club here in New Orleans.
David was a complete shell of himself when he walked into my facility. I couldn’t believe this was the guy who once threw 102mph. I introduced David to the 3X Pitching Velocity Program in hopes he would not follow in the footsteps of Barry Zito. Like Zito, he said he was impressed and could see himself training in Louisiana for the off-season. He told me he had two kids and his wife and would need to get their permission first. I waited for the phone call.
In a few weeks later, I get this phone call from David Aardsma who quickly started sounding like Barry Zito on the phone. He told me the same thing, that his Doctor didn’t want him to train with the Olympic Lifts because it would damage his hips. I just about lost my mind on the phone. I had no patiences for this mentality anymore. I told David, “If your doctor says you can’t train like this because it will injury you then what is your alternative?” I knew David had no alternative approach that he believed would work, so he had a decision to make and I hoped he would make the right one. A few days later he called back and said he was all in with 3X Pitching and that he would be spending the off-season training with me in Louisiana. It was go time!
Part 2 to the David Aardsma story, coming soon!
Rebuilding David Aardsma
David spent four months training at Guerilla Baseball Academy with me through the 3X Pitching Velocity Program and went from 86-89mph in his 2014 season to 90-94mph this 2015 season. If you want to learn what we accomplished and exactly how we rebuilt his career through the 3X Pitching Velocity Program which helped him to sign with the Dodgers then watch the video below.
Great article. I am always amazed at what holds back even the best. Confidence at the highest levels of baseball is just as delicate and fleeting as it is with a 10 year old.
The pitcher that never stops learning and testing and tweaking as needed will always end up the best pitcher.
I don’t care what level they pitch at.
How can I increase mobility in hip internal rotation and my trunk rotation?
The 3X Pitching Velocity Program gives you a complete training program that will help you improve these restrictions. Watch the video on Rebuilding David Aardsma below. We talk about improving his hip internal rotation and trunk rotation with the 3X Pitching Velocity Program.