Frieri’s Mechanical Differences | The Process Report

Frieri’s Mechanical Differences

Just what might Jim Hickey help Ernesto Frieri with during the spring? Although the obvious answer is his changeup, don’t be surprised if some mechanical tweaks are in store. That’s because a few discrepancies become apparent when you pit footage from his better days against some from his 2014.

One of Frieri’s most obvious alterations involves his arm slot. Take a look at the screencap below, in which a pitch from each of the past three seasons is shown from a center-field camera. You should notice that his release point has crept upward, particularly when comparing the bookend images. A higher release point can be a good thing for some pitchers; Frieri, however, does not appear to be a member of that class. The higher his arm slot, the earlier his front side opens, robbing him of deception and location.


Another thing you might’ve noticed in the above image is how Frieri has altered his stride. If not, here’s a better look:


Frieri’s old mechanics included extreme crossfire action; he’d begin his delivery with both feet lined up on the first-base side of the rubber then, after a lengthy leg kick, would step diagonally and beyond the far side of rubber, often clearing it. He shortened his step sometime during the intermittent period—presumably to reduce the stress on his arm, and perhaps to improve his location to his glove side, though it impacted his deception.

There’s no telling at this point whether Hickey and the Rays will work with Frieri to restore his old mechanical tics. But if anyone wants to know what has changed about Frieri since his days as a legitimate late-inning stopper, then those mechanical tweaks are the place to start.

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