Mike Kusiewicz: LHP, Former AAA Oakland A's, Team Canada 2004 Olympics

 

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

I dropped down out of necessity. Lefties are hard to come by. My pitching coach Craig Lefferts in 2003 suggested I drop down and did it to keep a job and was able to get back up to AAA.

 

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

Definitely just the deception you get from the lefty-lefty matchup is an advantage.

 

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

Before dropping down, my numbers weren't bad vs. lefties. If you were just to watch me throw a bullpen, I was just a soft-tossing lefty, nothing special but when dropped it looked different to the coaches. I was in the Oakland A's organization and it was at a time of their 'Moneyball' and Chad Bradford. When I got signed by Oakland it was based on my previous seasons numbers alone, they didn't even know I threw sidearm. Being a lefty, they wanted to see if I could do what Mike Venafro could do as sidearm lefty they had st big league level.

 

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

I would say make sure you have exhausted all your options first. Like if you are struggling making your high school team, it could help your chances if wanting to play college baseball.

 

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

Really, mechanics are the exact same thing. Make sure you are throwing out in front, getting extension and finishing your pitch. One thing I would recommend is due to the bending over, i would get a sore back so make sure you are always stretching out your hips and back.

 

6. What pitches did you throw?

I threw a sinker and slurve.

 

7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

Lefties- I would bust them inside and then the slurve away.
Righties- Everything away.

 

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

It was kind of cool being the one guy on the team at times who would pitch from down there. Facing lefties and having them give up. I remember facing lefty Karim Garcia, who had a decent little MLB career, in an Olympic qualifying tourney and threw him 3 straight slurves. He just completely gave up and had no chance!