The Pitching Mechanics of Verlander and Zumaya

There is a fascinating post over at Baseball Analysts that has slow motion video breaking down the deliveries of Justin Verlander and Joel Zumaya. It is a detailed look comparing and contrasting their mechanics with the 2 pitchers synched in the same video.

The Baseball Analysts: Zoomlander: Starting, Relieving and Throwing Hard


  1. Jacob

    October 20, 2006 at 9:53 am

    I was actually hoping to contrast the two young pitchers sometime soon, but that article handled it pretty in depth. That’s one of the reasons I would keep Zumaya in the bullpen. He’s already had some arm problems in limited time.

    And I always thought Verlander’s name was strangely reminiscent of Zoolander, but Zoomlander just completely takes the cake.

  2. SJC in Detroit

    October 20, 2006 at 11:46 am

    Agree with Jacob’s comment — Zumaya is so strong, he seems to be able to get away with tremendous torque on the arm but only for a limited number of pitches. Verlander uses his greater length to generate the speed, more like a golfer.

    I focused on where the ball goes when they pull it out of the glove. Verlander drops it down, not quite as dramatically as Rich Harden but still great. Zumaya pulls it almost straight out.

    You can see why some critics were saying Verlander was throwing uphill during his struggles mid-year — look at the differences in the tilts of their shoulders. I don’t think that was the problem, if there was one. I’d still prefer he not fall off quite so much and drive more of that energy he’s built up directly to home plate.

    Thanks for the link, Billfer.

  3. Jacob

    October 20, 2006 at 2:09 pm

    Yeah, Zumaya definitely puts a good deal of stress on that arm. However, the upside is that he can dominate for a short period of time. If he was moved to starter than he might have to change some things. Verlander has that biting curve and has developed some excellent control with his pitches (although he can get in trouble with that fastball if he falls behind). I just don’t think Zumaya could throw like he’s trying to bust through a brick wall for several innings and survive like he is. From what I’ve heard he has a pretty intense grip, and from what Zumaya has said he never had problems in the minors because he paced himself a lot more. And let’s not forget that with this World Series run Verlander has shattered any innings threshold he has previously seen.

  4. IdahoBert

    October 20, 2006 at 2:48 pm

    Thanks for posting this Bill. I wonder if it’s possible for Zumaya to have a more fluid delivery–and use more of his body like Verlander–without sacrificing the extra velocity he gains with his present delivery? Instead of 103 he’d get up to 105?

  5. Anne

    October 20, 2006 at 3:32 pm

    This seems as good a place as any to mention Leyland has apparently revealed his rotation for the WS: Verlander, Rogers, Robertson, and Bonderman. Not sure what I think of this–he’s given up on the R-L-R-L format, and this also seems sort of a slap to Bonderman-he’s the only one guaranteed not to have a 2nd start. Of course, I’m probably reading it all wrong. Leyland is way off the top of the chart concerning moves that baffle us and yet pay off. Perez will be hitting a Magglio-like dinger any day now. 🙂