For as long as Stephen Strasburg calls Washington his summer home, we will be hearing and reading and thinking and dreaming about Inverted Ws.
That, of course, is a mechanical pitching delivery term for something you don’t want to do, and it’s part of the complaint often sent from experts in Strasburg’s direction. ESPN the Magazine’s baseball preview issue went there again, with this chart comparing the deliveries of Greg Maddux and Strasburg.
Every step of this chart — narrated by independent pitching coach Paul Reddick — is critical toward Strasburg’s movement, and complimentary of Maddux’s. I’ll provide highlights.
1) Strasburg has over-rotated toward second base; “now he has to stop all that energy going back and regenerate it to come forward. He’ll never overcome that wasted movement and misdirection.”
2) Strasburg’s back leg is too straight and he’s striding too far to the right; “he then has to literally fight across his body toward home plate.”
3) Strasburg’s stride is off, messing up his hip rotation, and meaning he’ll “have to strain his upper half to finally face home, which increases the stress on his arm.”
4) Strasburg’s elbows are behind his body, “a weak position, and he’s working to overcompensate for his lower half’s poor position.” Sloppy glove position, too.
5) Strasburg “is now leaning way to the left because he’s swung over to compensate for veering too far to the right early on. And he’s still not on target for home.”
The story itself says that the poor timing of an Inverted W “leads to arm lag, evident when the throwing elbow trails the shoulder once the shoulders square to home plate. Strasburg exhibits both problems, forcing him and others like him to rely more on the arm’s relatively small muscles instead of the more massive ones in the legs and torso.”
So, uh, great.