Breaking Down Shelby Miller

Jun 19, 2009 at 1:52 pm
Alex Eisenberg, the always wonderful mechanics expert behind Baseball Intellect and close, digital friend of mine, recently broke down the delivery of the Cardinals' first round draft pick this year, Shelby Miller. The good news: Alex likes what he sees from Miller. The bad news: we're still going to have to wait an awfully long time before the kid ever makes it here to St. Louis. 

Personally, I agree with everything Alex says about Miller; I love the kid's delivery. It's clean, athletic, and looks like it should be easily repeatable, which should allow Miller to have good command down the road. 

I also agree with the two things Alex suggests Miller do differently: lengthening his stride even a bit more, and working on his finish. I see a little bit of Roy Oswalt's delivery in the way Miller drives toward the plate, and I would like to see him take that even a bit further, to get maximum extension off the mound. Miller's follow through is also a bit short, as he doesn't really give his arm as much room to decelerate as possible. Finishing with a flatter back and allowing his arm to come fully through and slow down on its own (if you don't quite follow what I mean, go watch a video of Tim Lincecum, see how he follows through), would hopefully prevent any extra stress and thus lower the risk of injury. 

The only other thing I might like to see Miller do is to add a rotational element to his delivery, in terms of turning more away from the hitter at the beginning of his delivery. I've always been a fan of pitchers who "show their numbers," to hitters, as I think that rotation makes it easier for a pitcher to achieve good hip/ shoulder separation, and just creates more power in general. Then again, a turn like I'm describing can also lead to timing issues and a pitcher throwing against himself, like A.J. Burnett or early-career Kerry Wood, so it's a move that may be more trouble than it's worth. 

Regardless of my opinion, go check out Alex' breakdown, as he knows way more abut this stuff than I do. While you're there, sign up for his RSS feed; he does some really amazing work, and you really shouldn't miss it. Plus, maybe if we get enough Cardinal fans on his list, he'll be forced to convert over to our side. See, right now, he's an Oriole fan. Yeah, I know. Pretty rough.