By The Baseball Beginnings Guy
February 22, 2012
Duane Underwood is one of these guys with a blur for arm speed. If I’m on the pro side, this is just the kind of guy I want to get my hands on because he’s got arm strength. This is what you’re looking for — long, lean, wiry, physically projectable, got a chance to be durable, ball explodes out of hand. I kept watching this guy and thinking to myself, “Edwin Jackson.”
There’s a lot of stuff to correct here, but the big thing you don’t want to toy with is the arm slot. Don’t fix what a kid does naturally. You can fix things like extension, balance and landings. But you can be a mechanical beauty and still throw 80 mph. Doesn’t matter how many coaches charge you how much money to do what. It’s all a scam. You either have arm strength or you do not. If you cannot throw hard at age 17, you never will. Your arm is what it is and what it is going to be, with very rare exceptions.
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I see breaking the un-broken all in the name of “quality strikes” happen in college baseball frequently and to be honest it galls me. You can teach anybody to throw strikes, but you can’t teach them how to have confidence in their fastball. They either do or they don’t, and if you have to beg a guy to throw the fastball, we got a problem here. In this guy’s case, he was get it-throw it. If you were to say his delivery was max-effort, I’d agree. Can the delivery be smoothed out? Yup. Was he wild? Yup. Did I care? Nope. Then it becomes on the individual player to have the aptitude, patience and maturity to listen and learn as a young pro and not chuck and duck. Sometimes it takes five or six years.
What happens with this kid? We’ll see. I know I loved the arm, and that’s more than I can usually love.