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Matt Hobgood Curveball/Fastball Arm Angle Comparison


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I cooked up a few GIFs of Matt Hobgood's pitches and noticed some slight differences just watching the clips side by side. I paused each clip at the point of release and took a screen shot, which you can see below.

His curveball is coming from more of an overhand arm slot while his fastball is closer to a 3/4 release. You'll also notice his left leg (to our right) is significantly more bent in the curveball snapshot, and his glove is closer to the ground as a result.

This is taken from a late-March 2010 spring training game, so it's been about 11 months. His mechanics certainly could have changed since then. Take it for what it's worth. Just figured I'd throw it out there.

screenshot20110214at803.png

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This is not really unusual. Most high-3/4 pitchers will change arm slot to get on top of a curve. Some will also alter their stride somewhat compared to the FB. The different position of the front leg and the glove is the result of leaning forward while trying to stay ahead of the arm. A good curve is the easiest pitch to ID before the ball leaves the hand, but still one of the hardest to hit.

OTOH it's big trouble if the change and slider do not match up with the FB slot and arm action.

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You're catching Hobgood later on in his delivery than you are with the curveball. A little leg bend at that point in the delivery can be a good thing, as it decreases the load off of the rest of your body at the cost of a little velocity. Guys like Lincecum actually stiffen and extend their leg at that point to boost velocity.

It does appear that he has a different level of shoulder tilt and thus a higher arm angle, but I'm not sure how much of that will look different if these pics were at the same point in the delivery.

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If I read between the lines correctly, Jeff Zrebiec is implying that Hobgood's injury may be more serious than originally thought. Appears shoulder surgery is an option being considered (surgery for a mild strain???). If its actually a torn labrum, it may explain everything.

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/blog/2011/02/factsobservations_from_first_w.html

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If I read between the lines correctly, Jeff Zrebiec is implying that Hobgood's injury may be more serious than originally thought. Appears shoulder surgery is an option being considered (surgery for a mild strain???). If its actually a torn labrum, it may explain everything.

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/blog/2011/02/factsobservations_from_first_w.html

I would not be surprised. I can count on one hand the number of times a young pitcher had a "shoulder strain" that ended up healing by rest alone. Shoulder pain is the absolute worse thing for any pitcher because doctors have gotten pretty good with the elbow in comparison to the tricky shoulder.

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If I read between the lines correctly, Jeff Zrebiec is implying that Hobgood's injury may be more serious than originally thought. Appears shoulder surgery is an option being considered (surgery for a mild strain???). If its actually a torn labrum, it may explain everything.

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/blog/2011/02/factsobservations_from_first_w.html

Here is what Jeff Z. said:

Pitching prospect Matt Hobgood, the Orioles’ first-round pick in 2009, will see team doctors in Sarasota on Wednesday to determine whether he’ll stay the course with the rehabilitation program on his right shoulder, or he’ll consider other options. Surgery would be one of those options. Either way, Hobgood, who has a right rotator cuff strain, won’t be ready for the start of the minor league season.

Not sure if you are reading between the lines correctly or not. But in any event, it seems unlikely we see Hobgood on a mound any time soon.

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I would not be surprised. I can count on one hand the number of times a young pitcher had a "shoulder strain" that ended up healing by rest alone. Shoulder pain is the absolute worse thing for any pitcher because doctors have gotten pretty good with the elbow in comparison to the tricky shoulder.

It's funny, I started to respond after he posted the pics, and say that the first thing that came to mind was a rotator cuff injury of some kind. I know when I hurt mine I couldn't throw at all overhand, but I could still throw 50% at a 3/4 slot, and the harder I tried to throw, the more towards sidearm I got.

Probably had a little injury in there somewhere that he pitched through all year. Would explain the down velo, and control issues. :scratchchinhmm:

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It's funny, I started to respond after he posted the pics, and say that the first thing that came to mind was a rotator cuff injury of some kind. I know when I hurt mine I couldn't throw at all overhand, but I could still throw 50% at a 3/4 slot, and the harder I tried to throw, the more towards sidearm I got.

Probably had a little injury in there somewhere that he pitched through all year. Would explain the down velo, and control issues. :scratchchinhmm:

That's some great points. I don't know where Hobgood's arm slot was prior to being drafted but there is definitely a difference in arm slots between the curveball and fastball in these shots. They may not be totally at the exact same point but they are close enough and that difference would explain why he wasn't missing many bats with a curveball that was suppose to miss bats.

It certainly give you pause to think something wasn't right and that was last year during spring training.

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That's some great points. I don't know where Hobgood's arm slot was prior to being drafted but there is definitely a difference in arm slots between the curveball and fastball in these shots. They may not be totally at the exact same point but they are close enough and that difference would explain why he wasn't missing many bats with a curveball that was suppose to miss bats.

It certainly give you pause to think something wasn't right and that was last year during spring training.

Yeah, it's not a perfect angle, off to the throwing side a bit, but you can still see in this video how over the top he was in HS. I can't think of many pitchers that throw a real sharp curveball from 3/4 either, that's a pitch you really have to be on top of to get a good break, it comes out slurvy from an angle release.

Starting to make more sense. I'd be willing to bet that he had a tiny tear or a strain (almost the same thing) in the spring last year and they rested him a bit and then he pitched through it. It happens all the time, and is usually just written off to someone having a bad year. All the signs are looking that way though. Like you said, it never just heals on its own, but sometimes you can build the muscles around it to compensate a bit. This injury now is probably the same one, just compounded from a year of wear and tear.

All speculation right now, but educated guessing at least.

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If I read between the lines correctly, Jeff Zrebiec is implying that Hobgood's injury may be more serious than originally thought. Appears shoulder surgery is an option being considered (surgery for a mild strain???). If its actually a torn labrum, it may explain everything.

http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/blog/2011/02/factsobservations_from_first_w.html

Here is Zrebiec's latest:

And finally, pitching prospect Matt Hobgood, the Orioles' first-round pick in 2009, had his right shoulder looked at today by team doctors. The results of a magnetic resonance imaging test performed won't be known until later this week, but team officials are optimistic that Hobgood can avoid surgery.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/

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What a wasted pick. I would have loved any of 3 players picked right behind him.

6. Zach Wheeler (A) - 3.99 ERA, 70 Ks in 60 inn, 0 HRs allowed

7. Mike Minor (AA/AAA) - 3.44 ERA in 120 inn, 146 Ks:eektf:,

8. Mike Leake - (MLB) - 8-4 4.23 ERA, would have been a nice addition

I know you can argue that this can be done for every draft, the "what ifs", but IMO, if you pick that high you need to get an impact player. 1 of these 3 players picked right behind Hobgood very likely would have been picked by us if we were worred about drafting an impact player, not a bargain. Wheeler and Minor would both be top 3 in our Minor League orginization rankings while Leake would probably be in our starting rotation already.

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Matt Hobgood = Chris Smith.

Interesting parallels b/t Smith and Hobgood. Smith was #7 overall pick and was hurt (rotator cuff) b/f he ever threw a pitch as a pro. Claimed he was healthy when drafted but injury occured while he was getting ready to make his pro debut.

Side Note: After rehab, surgery and rehab, he claimed his shoulder was finally heathly again some five years later.

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