Reply to "Updating the Windup vs. Stretch debate"

Steve A. posted:

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However, there is more there for the taking if you can sort out a dynamic full delivery.  

Not trying to argue—I’m genuinely puzzzled and want to sort this: If a windup inherently equals faster pitches, why don’t most MLB relievers use it when they have no runners on? Most I have seen go from a stretch all the time. These are professionals at the highest level of the game: if they could throw 2 mph harder, you have to assume they would do it.  Maybe some just can’t put the moving parts together, but most of these guys were starters In their amateur pitching careers, so they likely have used a windup before. Starters use both windup and stretch in the same inning all the time, so moving from one to another isn’t the issue. Take closers: most of the time they start the 9th (or 8th now and then) with bases empty.  Why don’t all, or almost all, of them use a windup? It’s unusual to see ANY of them do so.

There seems (?) to be an increasing move by MLB starters to stretch-only, or at least to windups that are almost stretches. The interviews I have read cite simplifying the delivery to aid repetiton, sometimes pitchers claim that simplification may help avoid injury.  Maybe that trade off is worth a slight drop in velo for a guy already throwing 90+.  Maybe.  But then wouldn’t pitchers be more likely to go to a windup as they get older and their velo starts decreasing?  An extra couple of mph could mean another year or two of MLB pay for a marginal reliever.  

E.g., this article on Alex Wood: https://www.mlb.com/news/alex-...p-windup/c-267311348

Is it possible that this is a case where the theory says one thing (a windup ought to be faster), but in the real world there are so many confounding factors that most pitchers don’t see a meaningful benefit and should just go with what feels most natural?  (I still haven’t seen any empirical data supporting the windup.  What little evidence is out there says stretch vs windup doesn’t matter.)

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