EXCLUSIVE - The Mulder Tapes

A special report takes an in-depth look through video analysis of Mark Mulder pitching effectively for Oakland in 2004 and doing a comparison between his form in 04 and how he was pitching before and after his stint on the DL earlier this season.


EDITOR's NOTE - I suggest you print this story so that you can see the notes, while you are viewing the video clips we have made available for you below.

From the Desk of Carlos Gomez

A couple of quick notes before I get right down to it. The clips are synchronized to when all 3 begin their first movements down from the top of their knee lifts. They are all at the same frame rate, 30 frames/sec. Also, I'll try to make the terminology more reader-friendly than what "baseball people" use. That said, if I lose you with a certain term, I'll be happy to explain it.

Follow along with the first clip, Mulder-3.gif (the one w/out all the comments)

Watch the clip a few times, noting the different tempo. #1 is racing through, #2 is slower, and #3 is REALLY slow.

Next watch the clips again, noting the arm action as defined from when they break their hands to when they release. Check each one out individually. #1 is fairly uninterrupted. #2 starts slowing down as he is picking it back up after he drops his arm as low as it gets (frames 12-13). #3 has a major hitch at the top. He virtually stops his arm and restarts from the "high cock" position (frames 24-25). Arm action--- you want smooth, uninterrupted, you want quick. Momentum is your best ally, not your worst enemy.

At around 3 frames from release on each one (when the arm gets to the "L" position), note the speed of the torso rotation on each. As in, note how quickly/slowly they "square up" to the target.

Watch #3. Can you tell that he's a little bit taller (less bend in the back leg, less hunched over) than the other two? IMO, he's staying taller in order to create the higher arm slot that he wanted to fix. Golfers with more upright swings stand taller and closer to the ball. Golfers with flatter swings stand further away from the ball and bend more at the waits. Sort of the same concept here.

Another exercise. Let's try to count how long (in frames) each pitcher spends from when their arms get to the lowest point to when they release. In other words, from the first movement up from when the arm goes down. On #1, frame 11 is when I see him start picking his arm back up. He releases at 23= 12 frames.

#2 starts picking it up on frame 12. He releases at 26=14 frames.

#3 starts at 15. Releases at 30=15 frames. What's so important about this? Simple physics. Same distance in less time=better capacity for velocity.

On #3, like I mentioned on he fully commented clip, frames 15 through about 25 hurt to watch. It reminds of one of the worst arm actions of recent history, Steve Avery. No matter what you may hear, the arm shouldn't go as straight back and up like you see on #3. Your arms must get to the "chicken wing" position. The elastic, horizontal loading and subsequent unloading of the shoulder is a major driver of capacity for velocity. Notice how #1 is "flatter." IOW, his arm goes in a more horizontal position on the way back than #2 and especially #3. #2 and #3 are more vertical.

#2's position, at around frames 19-24 or so, shows how his shoulder took the beating that it did. It is dragging through.

Release points. Really, they are almost identical, with #3 the highest, #2 the lowest. I read that he worked extensively on the arm slot, trying to get it higher. OK, so that was fixed. That wasn't the problem though.

So what's the solution?

I certainly don't have the credentials that Dave Duncan has. That said, I know what I'm talking about. Here goes:

Dear Mr. Mulder,

Speed it up—get the leg up, get it down. Quickly, explosively, without interruption. Push off violently if you have to, whatever it takes. Your arm will relearn its natural action. Watch Roy Oswalt video if you have to.

That would probably be the one absolute in fixing Mark Mulder. I would stop there, and let him think about ONLY that.

However, if he wasn't able to speed up his tempo, then what?

Break your hands later. If you're going to be slow with your body, you at least must give your arm a chance to be quick. Hold the ball in the glove longer, break them later. Make the arm circle have no hitch. There is such a thing as breaking the hands too early.

Don't worry about your arm slot. Put yourself in a good, athletic position to deliver the ball, and then just let it go from there.

Comments/feedback will be greatly appreciated.



To follow is the video clips that have been synchronized and used in this analysis. Depending on your system, give the clips a few seconds to begin.

The first clip is not annotated and takes about 30 seconds per loop, I think you will find it very interesting;


The second clip, takes longer and has analysis by Gomez


The last clip is four photos featuring the 04 Mulder to the pre DL Mulder and post DL Mulder in 06.



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