Todd Frohwirth: Former MLB pitcher several teams

 

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

Guess it started with playing wiffleball in the backyard with my brothers. Remember watching Kent Tekulve in the 1979 World Series with the Pirates and think he threw in every game that series. I started to imitate Kent Tekulve in wiffleball. I was naturally low 3/4-sidearm anyways but would fool around with submarine. In High School, I was Second Baseman, really not very good. My High School coach wouldn't let me pitch. Wasn't until Junior College where my coach would give me a shot at pitching. My sidearm really wasn't throwing very hard and didn't get the sink I needed with it, so gradually went lower and lower.

 

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

The one natural advantage you get is the sink on the ball. Easier to get hitters to hit the top half of the ball and get ground balls. I didn't have to worry about velocity or be big and strong.

 

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

I would have had zero success. Would have just been a Junior College 2B.

 

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

I would say to not change arm slot unless it's a last resort. Only change if last resort, if you see yourself not playing anymore you need to change something. You get pigeon-holed though as submariner. A lot of coaches think you can just get righties out, when overall I had some success vs lefties too.

 

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

One mechanical thing for submarine pitching, is that it is basically sidearm pitching but just with a tilt. All you are doing is bending at the waist more to get lower to the ground. Another thing is, it takes more time to get to the plate for submarine pitchers, which make running on easier. Important to work on getting hand out of glove earlier than if over the top. Lastly a lot of the guys in 80's threw from the 'wrong' side of the rubber, but it made things a lot easier to create a better angle to the hitters. I would pitch from left side/first base side of the rubber, just made it easier.

 

6. What pitches did you throw?

I threw a sinker, slider, and change-up. Threw various sliders, some flat or sharp, some slow or fast. Didn't really have to worry about a slider till pro ball. My change-up was never anything special, which was one of my problems against lefties. One of the reasons I was just kind of a mediocre pitcher was that I only really had 2 good pitches.

 

7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

Righties - If I got the ball down and got good movement, they were no problem. Give up odd single here and there. But if I threw my pitch and was delivered where it was supposed to be, down..things were good. It was when made mental or physical mistake, leave ball up where you would get into trouble.
Lefties- I would try to come inside with the fastball. I would also make sure to try and elevate the pitch once in awhile. A lot of lefties are very good low ball hitters, so had to mix it up not just sinkers down.

 

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

If I didn't drop down I knew I would have been out of the game, it was a way stay playing baseball as long as I could. I enjoyed being on a team and was able to provide for my family. Playing in the Major Leagues was never my dream growing up, just enjoyed playing baseball. Guess life in the big's was pretty sweet, got treated really well.