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Does cliff lee achieve triple extension?
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ramon12

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October 5, 2011 – 10:43 pm
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i try and analyze cliff lee but i cannot tell if he achieves triple extension. if you could please analyze him it would be really helpful

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Brent Pourciau USAW Certified
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October 5, 2011 – 11:28 pm
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You will find that most MLB pitchers achieve triple extension. Some are more powerful than others and some achieve 3X earlier than others. This is the case because some MLB pitchers do not have to work as hard to generate velocity than others and of course some MLB pitchers throw harder than others.

Here is Cliff Lee achieving 3X at front foot strike. He does not build a lot of power through his stride which is illustrated in his short stride and the fact that he does not push out away from the rubber during 3X. This is more than likely why he is a low 90’s pitcher.

Here is a pic of Cliff Lee achieving triple extension at front foot strike.

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Coach Robo
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October 6, 2011 – 11:10 am
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Cliff Lee is an example that there are varying degrees of triple extension – and apparently inconsistent triple extension even in major league pitchers.  I have two videos of Lee pitching that I can view frame-by-frame and he doesn't fully triple extend in either one of them.  (One of them is a changeup, which might be an interesting topic.)  But, obviously he's extended in the picture above.  He does have a relatively short stride, and he has almost no drag line and his foot comes off the ground well before release – both indications that he's not a pitcher who generates a lot of momentum to the target.  (The median mlb fastball among starters according to Fangraphs is 91.4 mph.  Cliff Lee's average fastball is 91.5.)  In both the videos I have, although his hip and knee are extended his back foot is still mostly sideways and he's still on the rubber at foot plant. 

From studying pitchers since I discovered 3X, it seems to me that a good indicator of full triple extension is that the back foot has turned completely over with the laces facing the ground and the pitcher has pulled at least some distance from the rubber.       

Proud father of a U.S. Marine (HOME from Afghanistan)

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Brent Pourciau USAW Certified
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October 6, 2011 – 12:25 pm
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Coach, you are right on target here. This does bring up a good topic. Many MLB pitchers talk about dragging the drive leg foot to help slow down their off speed pitches, like a changup and curveball. This slowing down of the drive leg foot would prevent an explosive triple extension which they are more than likely using for their hard pitches. This could very well be why you are seeing pitchers using different variations of triple extension.

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