Michael Nakamura: Former RHP Twins, Jays, Japan-Member of Team Australia Olympic team 1996, 2000

 

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

   I broke my elbow at the beginning of my second year I pro ball. In the off season I had a screw put in and while rehabbing dropping down was the only way not to feel pain. 

 

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

 once I dropped down I immediately became different from all the other pitchers. In the minors not many guys are low and batters had a difficult time with the angle. Some how I found it a lot easier to keep the ball down too. 

 

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

if I didn't drop down I would not have been able to get back in the mound because of pain. I probably would have been released. It was out of desperation to pitch I dropped down. Not because I was unsuccessful over the top. 

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

 I would not just change angle because you haven't been signed. It is much easier to get stronger and improve pitches you already have vs trying to re invent your entire arsenal. 

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

I see guy drop down and become too big or long. It is easy for batters to see and time. You still have to keep deception. Dropping down is not just enough. Keeping the ball hidden behind your body during the delivery is important. 

6. What pitches did you throw?

 I threw 4/2 seam fastballs, change, curve, slider and cutter. Each was definitely different. I made sure they didn't run into each other. 

7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

I stayed away to righties 90% of the time. I rarely used a change up to righties.
Lefties I was more 50-50 in and out. I had to stop them diving. I loved throwing change away and hard cutters up and in.

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

being side arm helped me become different. It was never intended. I love the deception and different look I created. Velocity it not as judge but saying that I still hit 94mph from that angle and would pitch in the high 80's to low 90's.
For me dropping down actually made my off speed pitches better. I loved watch how uncomfortable righties would get when I was on my game.