Michael Roth: Los Angeles Angels LHP, Great Britain WBC team 2012

 

1. Could you tell us your story on dropping down?


It was during fall practice of my sophomore year in college. I was turning double plays from first base and like a normal infielder I dropped down a bit to have a quicker throw to second. My pitching coach at the time, Mark Calvi, took notice and told me to jump on the mound immediately after. At the time, I was a mediocre pitcher with only a decent change up and a crappy breaking ball; effectively making me a righty specialist. The team didn't have many left handed relievers at the time and we needed someone to be tough on lefties. Dropping down added another dimension to my game allowing me to have a better breaking ball and making me the needed lefty specialist for the team.

 

2. What are some of the advantages you have from your arm angle?

 Initially, it gave me a better angle against lefties along with a breaking ball away from them.  Now it gives me another dimension to attack all hitters whether it is a lefty or a righty.

 

3. If you didn't drop down, do you think you would have had the same success?


I still think I would have been a good pitcher but because I dropped down I was able to obtain a role that needed to be filled; lefty specialist. This role catapulted me into an opportunity that I was able to take advantage of. Without that opportunity in the College World Series, I would probably not be playing still today.

 

4. What would you tell someone debating on changing their arm angle?

Just try it out.  It isn't for everyone and not every pitcher needs to drop down.  I would suggest talking with someone who has experience dropping down just to get some tips from them.  If it weren't for a teammate who had experience dropping down, learning my sidearm breaking ball would have taken much longer.  

 

5. Are there any mechanical tips that you'd give to someone throwing sidearm/submarine?

Mechanics are mostly the same.  When dropping side arm I am not simply dropping my arm angle, I am bending my upper body over so that the ball is being released from a lower slot.  

 

6. What pitches do you throw?

I throw a Fastball (2 seam & 4 seam), Change up, Slider, Curveball, and working on a cutter.  From the lower angle, I throw Fastball, Change up, & Slider.

 

7. How do you pitch to lefties/righties?

There is no cookie cutter approach as each individual hitter has his own strengths weaknesses.  As a pitcher, I want to know where is their hole? Do they pick up spin?  High ball or low ball hitter? Do they want to get their hands extended?  Aggressive early in counts?  All of these questions can be answered by watching the hitters' approach against yourself and other pitchers.

 

8. Lastly what is your favorite part about pitching from down there?

I just like that it gives me another dimension.  If I threw 95 mph I might not have to drop down but I get to compete with what God gave me.  This means mixing and matching pitches, varying speeds, using both sides of the plate and deception.