Justin Dowdy: Former AAA LHP A's, Giants




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

 In 2008 I was with the Oakland A's in double A. I started off the season throwing great. I didn't give up a hit in spring training that year. I almost had a perfect spring. I walked the second to last hitter I faced to lose my perfect spring. Went to midland Texas where I continued to pitch well. After my first 10 innings something went wrong. Started having trouble commanding the zone. I went from a go to guy to a guy not pitching at all. I ended up going on a 13 game stretch without pitching. During that time I would mess around in the pen chucking balls Sidearm. The guys in the pen would say "you should throw like that in the game." I told them next time I pitch I'm going to drop down without telling anyone. So I finally got into game 14 of that non throwing stretch. I did exactly what I said I was going to do. I dropped down. I ended up throwing 90-92 from down under. Not knowing where the ball was going to go. I just threw it as hard as I could and let the action and deception do the work for me. From that moment on the A's wanted me to throw over the top for righties and down under for lefties. I ended up going from useless to triple A in a month. 


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

the advantage was suppose to be deception and a different look for lefties. As I got my slider under control it became evident that the new arm angle made hitters uncomfortable. Just never really got the feel for it in the short time I had to learn it.


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

I don't favor the dropped down. I was told I could continue to figure out my Sidearm delivery or find a new job. So I worked everyday to figure it out. I pretty much threw a short bullpen everyday in hopes to figuring out how to repeat my delivery and find the feel for my release point. 

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

don't change your arm angle unless the one you have doesn't work. It's not an easy transition unless you are 100% into the change. Deception is good. At the end of the day all they want is 3 outs with no runs scored and efficient pitch counts so they can use you multiple days in a row. 

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

when throwing Sidearm the number one thing I would say you need to do is to stay down and through the target. When you drop down don't let your body pop back up. Stay down and let your arm get extension to the glove. 

6. What pitches did you throw?

 I threw fb, slider, change up. Fb velo was 88-92. The off speed velo was hit and miss. Didn't really have a good feel for the off speed so the velo would range all over the place. 

7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

vs righties and lefties I would throw the first pitch at their hands or feet. That would make them very uncomfortable. Then vs righties I would throw fb/change ups away showing in off the plate and lefties hard in sliders away. 

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

 the one part I enjoyed was how uncomfortable lefties were against me. Other than that I really didn't enjoy it. I'm an over the top guy with a change up. So throwing sidearm changed who I was. I got released by the A's at 5am after a 9 day trip and a 9 hour bus ride in midland Texas. I was closing out a game by 9pm that night in Shreveport Louisiana over the top.