Tool Time: Best Mechanics

It is hard to spot good mechanics. The truth is you don't notice it because it is so smooth and the ball leaves the hand so naturally. These San Diego Padres' prospects have that look – so look a little harder next time you see them on the mound.

1. Mike Ekstrom

Hit your checks – Ekstrom does it all. The right-hander is smooth mechanically and has an effortless and repeatable delivery, giving him success because each pitch is controllable by him.

His fingertip and wrist movement are consistent – giving him the knowledge and understanding of how each pitch will react. Nothing strays during his windup and he can get full extension on his pitches, giving them the best spin and movement down in the zone.

2. Richie Daigle

As a converted outfielder, no one really expected Daigle to not need adjustments but he has proven to be smooth on the mound and the ball comes out his hand so easy.

Perhaps not tainted by pitching coaches of the past, Daigle has a compact delivery that allows him to be consistent – leading to many first pitch strikes. He doesn't exert a lot of effort and stays in front – not flying open, which would cause him to be erratic.

3. Sean Thompson

His control has improved dramatically as his windup became more consistent. The left-hander stays aligned at the kick and can put all his muster into the pitch because he stays balanced, leading to increased movement.

Thompson has good forward lean, using his legs more, to stay on top of the ball and his leg lands in a solid position to help him field. His changeup and fastball delivery run in parallel, making him that much more effective.

4. Drew Miller

As a draft-and-follow, the Padres were surprised to find him so sound. He has a smooth delivery that is repeatable and is one of the reasons the Padres believe he will quickly pickup the changeup.

He stays on top of the ball well, gets full extension and can move the ball in and out, up and down. He does have a tendency to flip the ball quickly rather than coming to a more traditional one-seven delivery.

5. John Hussey

A year ago, Hussey wasn't in consideration but he worked hard to become mechanically sound and as he cleaned up his delivery it added ticks to his fastball.

There is a definitive rhythm and timing to his delivery and after muscling the ball last year he now lets his motion do the work for him. He also developed a follow-through.

Also in consideration (alphabetical):

Manny Ayala
His delivery isn't rushed and stays consistent. He has a tendency to short-arm the ball.

Aaron Breit
Blessed with great arm speed, he generates a lot of movement on his pitches – he will rush his delivery.

Matt Buschmann
It is tough for a hitter to pick up his ball because it appears to come out of his shirt – he has trouble staying on top of the ball.

Steve Delabar
Understands his body and how each adjustment will affect it – does struggle when he tinkers with different checks.


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