Matt Miller: Former MLB RHP - Indians,Rockies

 

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

After my freshman year in junior college I began having difficulty throwing strikes. My coach asked me if I had ever tried throwing sidearm and I instantly thought he had given up on me. I tried it and it seemed very comfortable and loose. Over the course of the off season I began to create arm strength through long toss and noticed my velocity actually increased instead of decreasing.

 

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

As far as advantages, I would say I quickly became a threat against righthanders and seemed to be able throw everyday. The arm slot was very easy and free, so I guess there was less stress applied to the arm.

 

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

I definitely feel my career would have ended in college had I not dropped to the sidearm slot. 85 mph doesn't get you to the Major Leagues unless it has ungodly movement or you have an extraordinary secondary pitch.

 

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

I would tell someone who has thoughts of moving to the sidearm slot to make sure they understand the reason for the slot. You most likely will loose velocity, so make sure you are comfortable with contact. The action of the ball will create more ground balls, so trust your defense and be able to field your position. With the loss of velocity and the more contact make sure command is the priority, so limit your walks!

 

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

A number of sidearm pitchers have to much weight moving towards third base at release. I teach to keep the weight on the lead leg so the pitcher can maintain a directional advantage and allow the movement to have the maximum effect.

 

6. What pitches did you throw?

I threw a sinker and a slider and an occasional change up

 

7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

I had a good slider and had a totally different mind set with righties. If I got ahead early I would make them hit the slider. Sometimes I would get myself in trouble because of that. I would pound the inner have of the strike zone with fastball's and throw the slider off the plate away.

 

With lefties, I knew they saw the ball well out of my hand so I would just try to limit the damage. I worked them away with sinkers, trying to get them to either roll over to second or go the other way. If I got ahead I would throw a lot of back door sliders or change ups

 

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

My favorite part of throwing from the sidearm slot was be able to see the lineup card and knowing the part of the line up I would pitch to. I remember Frank Thomas telling me he hated seeing me come out of the bullpen, that was a huge compliment!