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Before and After: the New Mechanics of Anthony Ranaudo

September 21, 2012 BY ALEX EISENBERG One Comment

In a recent article I did on the downfall of Boston Red Sox prospect Anthony Ranaudo, I promised to return in a future article detailing the changes his mechanics have undergone since 2009, when he was regarded as a potential top-5 selection in next year’s draft.

The angle of Ranaudo in each graphic is a little different, so keep that in mind when comparing the two versions.

The noticeable change from the start is that his hands begin lower now than in 2009. This usually would be fine with me, but I liked the way Ranaudo’s hands broke in 2009. They broke with purpose. His arm circle had minimal — if any — hitches/pauses. It worked well with the other components of his delivery. From the time Ranaudo’s hand is out of the glove to the point of release, he’s several frames shorter in 2009 than it is in 2012. His arm action now has a noticeable pause right before it begins its move upwards and any pause or hitch in one’s arm action means a bleeding of energy.

I like how Ranaudo used to get out in front. While it’s better illustrated at a side angle, you can still tell how the old Ranaudo, his lower body from the hips on down is drifting, moving toward home plate as one, while the torso hangs back to create torque. The 2012 version of Ranaudo, on the other hand, has the look of a pitcher keeping much of his weight on his back leg. This results in a shorter stride for Ranaudo. While it may make it easier for him to pitch downhill, I think he’s costing himself life on his fastball, in addition to deception.

Lastly, a couple of key factors to throwing hard are not quite what they were back in 2009. His tempo (the frames from the pinnacle of the knee lift to the point of release) is a few frames slower, and there is much less intent to throw hard. He looks like he’s guiding the ball, though that may be because of the lack of arm speed.

I freeze the animations at the point of release. Take note of the position of Ranaudo’ back, using the numbers on the back of his jersey as a reference for location. See how Ranaudo’s back is flatter at LSU, meaning he’s out in front, getting extension, and finishing his pitches. Compare that to the more upright, tentative pitcher in 2012 who isn’t getting extension out in front and finishing his pitches.

The contrast between the two versions, particularly at release, really tells the story. For the Red Sox sake, hopefully in the end, we find out injuries were the problem all along and all he really needed was some time off for his arm to recover.

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