Austin Bibens-Dirkx: Texas Rangers RHP


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

  I started dropping down when i was in high school. Honestly, ive always told people that it was because i was kind of a lazy kid, so dropping down was that much easier, didnt have to get my arm up as high. But i did it mostly because i thought it would be an effective tool to have. I was quite undersized in high school, more of a late bloomer, so i needed every advantage i could get at that age. 

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

 Well, hitters are taught to find the release point, find the little circle where the ball comes out, so one of the advantages to dropping down is that the circle where the ball comes out changes. Makes it a little more difficult to pick up multiple arm slots. Also, as a pitcher we try to disrupt timing, so i feel like with different arm slots, it is tough to get timing down consistently for a hitter.

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

  I would like to think i would. But honestly, thats tough to say. I havent been told to stick solely to dropping down so there has to be some value from my natural arm angle! And really, my best pitch is my changeup from over the top, so i feel like i would still be successful, but that dropping down has certainly helped.

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

Its a personal decision, all about feel and comfort. I always tell people that a big part of pitching is being comfortable. If you arent comfortable in what you are doing, the likelihood of you succeeding is quite low. Its something that you need to have feel for and be extremely comfortable doing, or else i would say that you probably shouldnt do it.

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

The biggest thing i was told and have had to learn and still struggle with is that you have to stay on top of the ball. Just like throwing from a normal arm slot, they harp and harp and harp about staying on top of the ball. And it is no different with dropping down. You have to stay on top of the ball for it to get the action you want. It is more difficult from a lower arm slot so it makes it that much more important.

6. What pitches do you throw?

I throw a fastball, slider/curve, and a changeup from sidearm. The fastball can range from anywhere between 87-92, the slider/curve anywhere from 78-83, and the changup is anywhere from 80-84.

7. How do you pitch to lefties/righties?

Well, from down there, i like to throw righties in more often than not. I throw from the third base side of the rubber, so i feel like staying in on them makes them more uncomfortable. I do go away with the slider/curve, but i like starting that right at them as well and letting it work back over the plate. It is tough to put a good swing on something that starts at you. With lefties, its tough because they see the ball longer from down there. So i just try to make quality pitches as often as possible to them. My favorite is with two strikes and i drop down throwing a slider/curve and backdoor them for the strikeout. The ball starts off the plate, and more often than not they give up on it and it comes back in the strike zone for a strikeout.

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

I just like mixing it up. Ultimately, baseball is a game and games are supposed to be fun. I enjoy throwing from multiple arm angles, and its fun! Having fun is my favorite part from throwing down there. Also, its fun watching righties get out of the way of a slider/curve that is right down the middle.