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Top Yankee's Studs Undergo Photographic Dissection

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Just got a message from Jscape regarding Chris O'Leary's photographic dissection of today's top 20 young hurlers. Everyone from Fausto, to Bonderman, to Verlander is there, but what made this interesting to PA is the fact that he offered commentary on Phil Hughes and Joba's mechanics.

Photo evidence

I must tell you that I never heard of Chris O'Leary, and upon some investigation I discovered that he's a shameless self-promoting marketer who never pitched but feels compelled and justified to offer sage advice. I must also add that he offered his critique after viewing photographs. Now any pitching coach will tell you photos don't mean jack. It's all in the video tape--with multiple angles.

Despite a lack of credibility and video-analysis, O'Leary offered his opinions, and Jscape asked for mine. So here goes.

Last season I didn't like Hughes's mechanics. I felt his stride was off, his hands were breaking too high and seemed to be in the wrong position for optimum movement and power. I also felt his stride was clipped (although that could be because of his hammie injury). As a result, his pitches lacked movement and depth. This season I've seen him throw twice and have noticed some subtle changes in his hands, arm slot and finish resulting in explosive movement. Dave Eiland must have been looking at multi-angled tape.

I differ with his opinion on Joba. I don't like his glove hand, and think it should be tucked up into his torso to put him in better fielding position. I would also like to see his front foot more closed. That helps keep his hips from flying open. I do like his tilt and head positioning. Notice that Joba's head is essentially straight up--not dramatically falling to one side or the other. This speaks directly to control and consistency.

Again, O'Leary's assessment is to be taken with a grain of salt. I cringe when I see guys trying to throw a template on a kid and change his natural motion. The key to successful coaching to work with the natural motion and maximize what you have. Yes, it's important to make subtle changes, but as the pictures show, everyone is different.