Breaking Down Tim Alderson’s Delivery

Alderson's velocity was in the 87-89 range today, and touched 90.

Tim Alderson pitched a few innings in the AA game at Pirate City this afternoon in Bradenton.  I was busy watching Stetson Allie and Bryton Trepagnier at the time, so I didn’t get to see Alderson pitch.  Fortunately, I brought an extra set of eyes down with me this week, my dad, who grabbed the radar gun and watched Alderson’s innings.

In the first, Alderson was sitting around 87-89 MPH.  He came back in the second to throw mostly around 87, although he did touch 90 MPH.  He struggled with his command in the second, and had some control issues.  His curve was at 75 MPH.

His command improved a bit in the third inning, when he was hitting 88-89 MPH, along with a 75 MPH curve.  Throughout the outing, the opponents (the AA players from the Toronto system) were hitting Alderson pretty hard.  He was throwing mostly fastballs, mixing in a few big breaking curves.

I did see Alderson from a distance, and watched him warm up prior to the outing.  Despite the mention of changes this off-season, he still has the jerky delivery.  When he throws, you can see he’s throwing at maximum effort, which makes it hard to believe that he can add velocity.  He played in the AA game today, although that game was filled with guys who are expected to start the season in either high-A or AA, which doesn’t give any indication as to where he will start.

As for his delivery, I walked over to get a few shots, and basically got a frame by frame breakdown of his delivery.  Here is the motion below:

First, Alderson basically crunches up, putting all of his weight on his back foot.  That’s good, but what happens next is interesting…

Alderson plants his foot, then basically goes upright.  From there, it almost looks like he’s warming up and playing toss…

His follow through doesn’t look like he has much momentum following the pitch from his upper body.  And speaking of momentum…

Notice that his leg whips around, but his body stays the same.  He’s not transferring his momentum properly from his back leg to his upper body for the pitch.  He’s not putting his back in to the pitch at all.  Now I’m no pitching coach, but let’s take a similar look at Stetson Allie today:

Allie puts his weight on his back foot, which is standard.  However, he’s not crunched up like Alderson…

Notice the step.  Allie has a much bigger stride to the plate.  Then, he follows through, transferring his weight forward, and putting his back in to it…

This is the standard finishing position for a delivery.  Allie continues to swing his leg around, which is normal, but he’s actually putting his back in to it.  He doesn’t look like he’s warming up.  He looks like he’s pitching.

The problem I see with Alderson is that he’s taking too small of a step, then using too much energy going from a crouched position to an upright position.  From there, when he’s throwing, it’s the same as if he was warming up in the bullpen before a start.  He’s not following through, which indicates that his momentum isn’t being transferred from his back leg to his pitching arm.  Again, I’m not a pitching coach, but looking at the breakdown of Alderson’s throwing motion, and the breakdown of Allie’s throwing motion (which is pretty standard), I can’t see how Alderson could add velocity unless he finds some way to transfer his momentum better from his back leg, through the pitch.

Tim Williams

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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