Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics That Ended His Career


Brent Pourciau on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
In this episode we break down Mark Prior’s pitching mechanics…

Mark Prior Pitching MechanicsSteven Guadagni on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
…and Aardsma Depth squatting.

Brent Pourciau:
All right Brent Pourciau, Steve Guadagni. Here at the @topvelocity #pitchingtipsshow, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Muscially @topvelocity #pitchingtips #baseballtips answer your question, we will answer on the show. Hitting tips as well. Yeah. Two “x” city camps coming up, I’ve got one this weekend … It’s cool, we’re starting to get some-

Steven Guadagni:
We got that next three weeks. Don’t we?

Brent Pourciau:
Yeah. Three weeks from here on out. I think the only weekend we have off is … Actually I think I have a two “x” camp there, if it comes through. I think I have camp all the way until the first of the year. If you haven’t booked your camp, go out there and book your camp. It’s going to get busy, get fun. Then come to California if you want to come to Long Beach camp. I haven’t booked that yet, man.

Steven Guadagni:
I was supposed to remind you to do that.

Brent Pourciau:
Got to hurry up and book the … We’re going to do first day in the Hilton. We’re going to do all of our measurements in a conference room. I even do some technique training with the Olympic stuff with burns, brimsticks and gofridges. All the information, how to follow the programs, how to schedule everything. Then the next day were going to go to signal hill at On Deck Batting Cages, if they let us. Will do all the drills, all the throwing and all the technical training and work and instruction to the program.

I know it’s not the ideal camp because here we can do a little bit more with everything. But still you get a great experience, a great start in the programs and also too if you want to come down here and use your week of training, you get after you do the camps here. We could train here more. If you need more let us know, which is included. We’ll make it happen. Yeah, sign up for those soon. You have a Long Beach one if you’re more on the west coast. You could do that on December 28th. Then following that we’re having the ABCA. We can hang out with us at the ABCA. Shout out to Walter Feeney, he actually said he was going to come down to the ABCA.

Steven Guadagni:
Yeah, he was telling me that the other day too.

Brent Pourciau on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
You think we’ll get Walter at the camp?

Steven Guadagni on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
I’m saying I’ll believe it when I see it.

Brent Pourciau:
Come on, Walter.

Steven Guadagni on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
I’d like to see Walt there.

Brent Pourciau:
Yeah, come on man. Hang out with us. Represent some top “b” at the ABCA. Cool. All right, got a question for today let’s get started. Ryan Meservey asks, “Hey Brant, can you break down Mark Pryor’s pitching mechanics?” Mark Prior retired from this game for injury reasons. Give them some information on his career.

Steven Guadagni:
Six foot five, 200 and 30 pound guy. It looks like he played from 2002 to 2006. From what I remember of him, he was just a career marred with injuries. That was always the story with him. He was almost like a Steven Strasburg coming up. A can’t miss type of prospect. People were really excited about him and thought he was destine for greatness. Unfortunately injuries derailed his career, early on.

Brent Pourciau:
I think it’s a good comparison to Steve Strasburg because there’s similarities in the mechanics, size. How big was he again?

Steven Guadagni:
Six fix, two 30.

Brent Pourciau:
Big guy. Unfortunately because he played … When was his last year?

Steven Guadagni:
2006.

Brent Pourciau:
That was big league ball. He then played indie ball, he actually played in the league that I played indie ball in and in the golden league. Played a little bit after that, then now I think he works in the front office, or used to. Don’t have a lot of footage on him. I’ve asked people online to find footage, this is the best I could find in the search I did. It’s kind of far away but we get an idea. I feel like … Because once again if you go back to my episode it’s going have similarities in my footage. When you go back to-

Steven Guadagni:
Yours was worse, I think.

Brent Pourciau:
Worse because I’m older than him. He older guys you’re looking at, you’re not finding a lot of good footage. I think that’s the hard thing when we go back. Similarities to Strasburg is the bad connection to the lower and upper half. I think is the key. You can see a lot of the over-compensation. Coming out of his leg lift, not really an early mover. It’s cool because it looks really blurred out to us but on screen I think it looks a little better.

Steven Guadagni:
Cool.

Brent Pourciau:
It took a little while to get going but once he got to that loaded position, we’re not at a good side view here, we can see his force vector was linear. It does look like he’s more quad-dominate-

Steven Guadagni:
Yeah, he’s shifting his toes.

Brent Pourciau:
He’s shifting into his toes with will cause this to collapse. There’s a problem in his lower half because when he goes to front foot I’m not seeing a lot of power coming out of this leg. He’s hitting front foot, the foot’s still on the rubber, it’s still sideways on the rubber. Now look, this footage is probably … It’s obviously after 2006, indie ball, trying to come back. I would bet when he was younger up with the Cubs that this was better. We see a big problem not a lot of force in the back leg. He hits front foot and then look how late his hips are. His hips are fairly closed.

Steven Guadagni:
Yeah.

Brent Pourciau:
His front leg stabilizes right here and his hips open right here. Then he has no hip to shoulder separation at that point. The back leg forced production is very poor, the foot isn’t even getting back off the rubber. He’s not in toe on rotated off the rubber, hips are landing closed, taking a lot of stabilize. Here’s the problem, he hits front foot, a lot of scap loading-

Steven Guadagni:
Should I go let that guy in?

Brent Pourciau:
Sorry somebody is trying to get in right now. The one thing in that scap loading, excessive scap loading and horizontal abduction. The elbow pulled behind the back is excessively pulled behind the back. That’s why we’re getting into Strasburg here and we have poor hip to shoulder separation. What I remember about Strasburg was he was … I can’t even remember, I’d have to go back to it. He did lack a little bit of dynamics to the lower half, he has a shorter stride. Excuse me. Force is inside 90 but Strasburg early trunker days.

I don’t see as much … I don’t see the early truncation I see with Strasburg probably because his hips are way more delayed. Similarities in the excessive scapular loading which is what can cause the early truncation specially if he has a lot of momentum down the mound, which Strasburg has move of. He’d want to start it earlier. You can see when he goes in the shoulder rotation … Here’s the thing, this is where the … He had rotator cuff surgery, labrum surgery, pretty much this shoulder unraveled.

First of all in that excessive scapulary, that’s very hard on the anterior [inaudible 00:07:18]. It’s also very hard on the elbow, but here’s the thing, the weaker joint is going to go. In his case the weaker joint was the shoulder, in most guys cases the weaker joints the elbow. I was that guy too, my weaker joint was my shoulder, not my elbow. As he went in rotation look at the arm, it goes from way behind the head … This is the interesting thing, the trunk just turns about this much, but the arm goes fully all the way around. It’s like … The arm really took over as he started rotation. You see push way out all the way around and way out in front of the face. At this point, if he started off like Chatman with all his horizontal abduction. At this point, like Chatman the arm should still be pulling back, but he has it all the way forward.

If I had better footage of the side view, we’d probably see it in front of the face. It went from all the way back here to pushed way out in front of the face. That’s very hard on shoulder, elbow, the whole arm. It would be an arm thing. If he had TJ, that’s the link to the TJ, we know he had rotator cuff, labrum tears, break-down of the shoulder. That’s the link to the shoulder. It would have gone either way, it would go to he weakest joint. Then just look at the trunk, the trunk’s rotating not a lot of forward tilt, no front leg activity. Technically, he hits front foot and shoulder just does this and the arm tries to do all the work. Look at that, it’s just so obvious. He hits front foot and it’s just all arm. All arm, at that point. It’s looks like he’s throwing pies. All arm to release.

There’s no way that a guys going to come in, I think he was a mid 90’s guy, pitch a full major league season again and again and not have problems with a guy who’s just using his arm. You don’t see the trunk dynamics, you don’t see the lower half dynamics, you’re not going to get away with it just your arm. Even if you’re six-

Steven Guadagni on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
Six fix, two-

Brent Pourciau:
What?

Steven Guadagni:
Two 30.

Brent Pourciau:
30. He genetically was this-

Steven Guadagni:
Beast.

Brent Pourciau:
Big guy. Now when you look at him, I don’t see definition, I see girth like he’s got it. I don’t see definition, he also too, which goes down to if this guy was stronger. If he were a Micheal Lorenzen, I don’t think he would have broken down like that, if he was working out. I think he could have survived this longer. This is the example of all arm mechanics, guys. This a several breaks in the kinetic chain, breaks in the hip and not allowing the trunk to do it’s work, which would be another break. It’s an over-compensation of the arm. He’s not physically developed, he was just an accident waiting to happen. Unfortunately, as he broke down and he tried to make a recovery. He never went back and tried to fix that. He never went back and said, “I’m just going to become obese in the weight room, make myself strong to handle this all arm mechanics”, or “I’m going to do that and I’m going to try and get my trunk more dynamic. I’m going to try to get my lower half more dynamic and come back.”

I think it’s kind of sad, I would love to go to Mark Prior 2007 and re-develop this guy. Put him through Todd V, build his body up, give him better bio-mechanics. Which would have probably fixed of his bio-mechanics and developed him in the beast he should have been. I see the upside potential only if he could have been developed in that way. Anything to add?

Steven Guadagni on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
My two cents on it is with how much scap loading that Strasburg and he’s doing … To me a lot of it … The dudes a beast, six foot five, 230 pounds but when his foot, his hips are so delayed, his ankles not kicking through, big break in the kinetic chain, obvious disconnect between the lower half and the upper half. To me all of that scap loading is him trying to separate, him trying to create that hip to shoulder separation but with a broken chain. That’s just leading to all this over-compensation that Brent’s talking about. Where the elbows pushing out in front of the face. He not transferring from the ground up as efficiently as he could of been. He’s just really doing his best with what he had to hold that energy back, create that tork and then let it all go. Unfortunately, it just put way too much stress on his arm and you saw the product of it.

Brent Pourciau on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
Yeah. We have a study that shows, less knee flexion puts more load in horizontal abduction, that’s why. Less knee flexion would mean I have less power down the mound. I’m going to put this farther behind my head to delay, to try to get some energy coming up.

Steven Guadagni on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
Yep.

Brent Pourciau on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
Then at the same time, too. I’m going to have to push a lot of force into my arm, a lot of work into my arm to then accelerate off of that. If you fail in the lower half, you have failed to generate the energy, you have failed to then connect it. Through hip to shoulder separation, through torks through the core, to get it up the chain. Then it becomes overloaded and over-compensating for the break.

Steven Guadagni on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
It sounded like he had the horse power but his transmission was shot. What do you think?

Brent Pourciau on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
I would say if he had more leg power, on the back leg.

Steven Guadagni:
Absolutely.

Brent Pourciau:
It would have synced up.

Steven Guadagni:
I would argue that everybody can use more leg power, always. At six foot five, two 30, he was throwing high 90’s when he came in. There was a lot of horse power behind it.

Brent Pourciau:
Yeah.

Steven Guadagni:
Obviously he needs more-

Brent Pourciau on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
Yeah, you’re right. This is looking at him later. That would have probably been better. Yeah, you’re right. Going back we would have seen the lower half better, it could have just been at that point, the trunk. He just thought from that closed position, that the arm finishes the throw and not allowing the trunk to really drive the arm to release.

Steven Guadagni:
Yep.

Brent Pourciau:
That could have been his major problem. Here you’re seeing it even worse with the poor lower half.

Steven Guadagni:
Yeah.

Brent Pourciau on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
Cool. I hope that helps, Mark Prior. Let’s go, next question. Jayden asks, “Should squats be done ATG or 90 degrees. I’m hearing mixed things about both.” All right, squatting. We promote Olympic squatting which is ATG, Ass to Grass. Why do we want to squat deep? It gets more of the lower half involved, it gets more glute involved, it more hamstrings involvement. You’re also working more hip-flexion, which is very good for pitchers. You’re working good hip external rotation, which is very good for pitchers. A lot of mobility is improving in the hips in a deep squat. Here’s the thing, which is crazy. They tell you squatting below the knees is bad for your knees. Yeah, if I’m pushing my knees out and my heels are popping up and I’m hyper-flexing my knee. That can be bad. If my heels are down, my knees are slightly out and I’m balanced and I’m ATG and my backs not curling, my hips aren’t tilting. It’s great for you. It’s good at helping keeping good mobility, it’s engaging core and quad. What it does is it protects the knee. The way the knee works in any joint has to be compressed to be protected.

If you’re squatting parallel, you just have the quad pulling. You just have the top of the knee being pulled on, which is creating a sheering force on the top of the knee. Which is going to create more pain and is harder on your knee. If I go deeper then the hamstrings have to engage to keep the integrity in the spine. Now I’m pulling below the joint and above the joint. Together I’m compressing the joint and it’s healthier for your knees. I can contest to that, my whole career I was taught to squat, just parallel and up. I wound up wrapping my knees and I just thought, “It’s because I’m doing heavy weight, I’ve got to wrap my knees.”

Then the day someone taught me to take it Ass To Grass, it improved my mobility, I never wore a knee wrap again. I wasn’t doing as much weight because your weight goes down. You’ll see Olympians still wear knee wraps. The point is, I felt considerably less stress, wear and tear on my knee, in a full deep squat that I did in a parallel squat. Don’t listen to David Aardsma. He’ll tell you Aardsma Depth is all you need. Tell them about some Aardsma Depth.

Steven Guadagni on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
You can just go watch the squat that Aardsma does on our Instagram or SnapChat. He Aardsma Depths all the time.

Brent Pourciau:
Define technically what is Aardsma Depth.

Steven Guadagni:
I would just have to show them. I don’t think I can define it. It’s like a three quarter squat.

Brent Pourciau:
It’s pretty much like this. Okay, this is Aardsma Depth. About right there, right there and up. This is ATG and up. This is Aardsma Depth, right there and up.

Steven Guadagni:
Yep. That’s about right. Actually that’s a good analogy of it. You can go on Instagram and watch it. I would say this is just my opinion, you can disagree with me on this if you want. I think you go as low as you can, keeping good form. That’s always what I like to tell guys because some people can force themselves to go as low as possible. They’ll be butt-winking, putting a lot of stress in their low back and stuff like that. I always say the goal is to go Ass To Grass, absolutely.

Brent Pourciau:
Don’t force it.

Steven Guadagni on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
Yeah. If you can’t get there because of mobility restrictions or muscle asymmetry or you’re quad dominant and don’t have a lot of posterior chain that allows you to stay on your heels and utilize your hamstring and glute during the squat and keep that neutral spine. You have to work on those issues before you really try to go Ass To Grass. Build up in weight from there, don’t be that guy who’s trying to force it there and just going so heavy because that’s the way you’re going to lead yourself to injury, doing that too.

Brent Pourciau on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
We’re making fun of Aardsma Depth but at the same time too we pushed Dave to go deeper. He has cankles, I think he’s related to a Snuffaluffagus. He has these … Most people won’t know that reference.

Steven Guadagni on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
I don’t know that reference.

Brent Pourciau on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
Sesame Street reference from us old people. He has cankles right? The size of my thighs and they don’t really bend that well. It’s hard if you can’t squat deep, it’s a lot to do with your ankle mobility. David because he’s got such girth there … That’s twice, I used girth in one episode, twice. How often do you hear me say that? His girth in his ankles is so much, he doesn’t get a lot of flexion. He can’t keep the knees forward, he wants to fall back all the time. We try to force him but he’s stuck in Aardsma Depth.

Steven Guadagni:
He’s also had hip surgery on a-

Brent Pourciau:
That has nothing to do with it. David has never complained about it.

Steven Guadagni:
His hip abduction, you have to have a certain degree of hip abduction to go all the way.

Brent Pourciau:
That would be more butt winking issues. Not-

Steven Guadagni:
Which would lead to injury, exactly.

Brent Pourciau:
Right. You would see David rolling his back and he doesn’t. What we see is David getting to a point where he’s fall because his ankles aren’t going.

Steven Guadagni:
I’ve never … I agree ankles, dorsiflexion is huge for being able to have a good squat. I also hear him complain a lot about how his hips won’t … When I ask him can he go lower than that.

Brent Pourciau:
When he first started off, he would get blocked. When he would squat he’d get an impingement.

Steven Guadagni:
Yeah. He had a labrum tear in that area. Leading from-

Brent Pourciau:
At the same time too he didn’t have a lot of strength and in a lot of his mobility work he’s decompressed the hip a lot, I don’t think he’s had it as much anymore. He got better at keeping his knees out of the way. He used to keep the femurs right up under them, now he’s getting the femurs out of the way and he goes down. If he sits and squats without a bar, he’s great.

Steven Guadagni:
That’s hip abduction though too. As you’re putting torsion and then sitting down. As you’re keeping your knees out your hip is abducting into the squat. You get what I’m saying?

Brent Pourciau:
Yeah, it’s abducting. Your femurs are coming up.

Steven Guadagni:
Didn’t he have surgery in his groin that would prevent him-

Brent Pourciau:
No. The abductors is the muscle that pulls the leg down.

Steven Guadagni:
He had surgery in his groin.

Brent Pourciau:
In the abductor.

Steven Guadagni:
Yeah.

Brent Pourciau:
You’re not really pulling … If you’re pulling on the groin it’s shortening and then it’s going to pull the high up. Then you’re going to butt wink. That’s the only thing I would see it affecting. I still think David’s problem, you could tell us, is when he gets to that certain depth he can’t push the knees forward anymore. He feels like he’s going to fall. Then the back’s going to round, he’s going to butt wink it’s all kind of related.

Steven Guadagni:
He goes as low as he can.

Brent Pourciau:
To me if he had go ankle mobility, he would go even lower. Then, you’re right, you might see the abductor tightness. I don’t think it is really tightness, I don’t think it’s hamstring tightness, it’s the ankles.

Steven Guadagni:
I just-

Brent Pourciau:
I’m telling you. You can have your opinion, I like it. I’m going with the ankles.

Steven Guadagni:
I’m going to tag one more thing into it too. When we look at his bio-mechanics of when he was a high 90’s guy. When he was with the Seattle Mariners, what I saw with him was he held more torsion and he had more hip abduction moving down the mound. Same kind of thing correlates into a squat. If he doesn’t have a lot of hip abduction-

Brent Pourciau:
The hips-

Steven Guadagni:
It’s harder for him to throw.

Brent Pourciau:
The hips in a completely different place in that. It’s in real abduction, off to the side as opposed to more really flexion.

Steven Guadagni:
Agree, that’s because he’s moving down the mound. If his in a squat, if you’re going into this position, right? Then you’re going down, if you’re holding torsion on the mound. You’re moving down the mound which lowers you’re force vector. It’s just from you moving down the mound, right?

Brent Pourciau:
Yeah. The squatting … if you can’t keep the knees out as you go down and the knees come in. It’s more flexion, is his problem, or it’s more from that problem. More flexion is what he’s doing than abduction. The point is, I don’t know how much the abductors are activated in a squat. I know they are activated, I don’t know how much their activated, as apposed to pitching. They’re highly activated. They are one of the highest activators in the stride.

Steven Guadagni:
Sure.

Brent Pourciau:
I just don’t know how much would be activated-

Steven Guadagni:
In a squat.

Brent Pourciau:
In a squat.

Steven Guadagni:
Okay.

Brent Pourciau:
I know it’s been activated. I just don’t know how much.

Steven Guadagni:
Yep.

Brent Pourciau on Mark Prior Pitching Mechanics:
All right. To finish this up, with David I see his biggest hurtle is his ankles. You break that, then we start to figure out, Is it the abductors is the hamstrings? Whatever. For you guys out there, the goal is to be as deep as you can, without falling into the hip issues, the butt winking, the spine issues and of course you’re going to have to conquer the ankle issues if you’re going to do it. That should be part of your mobility training. If you’re having trouble deep squatting, it should be the emphasis in your mobility work and the focus and you’re technical movements in your squatting itself. Typically, guys that think parallel is how we squat, you get these big trunk leans or leaning forward. Then it’s like a good morning, it’s not really hitting the glutes, the hams, the quads, the lower half as well when you’re trunks leaning all the way forward. I lot of guys just need to learn how to squat. A lot of people just fail, they don’t understand. They haven’t learned how to squat correctly.

Steven Guadagni:
Sure.

Brent Pourciau:
Good question. If you have a question, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and Musically @topvelocity #pitchingtips, #hittingtips, #baseballtips. Ask a question we will answer on the show. [inaudible 00:22:53] camps. We will see you in the next episode.

Previous Post
MiLB Prospect Triston McKenzie and Box Squats

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Fill out this field
Fill out this field
Please enter a valid email address.

 

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Menu