Kent Tekulve: Former MLB pitcher, Pirates, Phillies, Reds


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

I was always tall and skinny, when I was younger it just felt natural to throw sidearm. With my long arms and long legs, it was just natural to use that leverage. In AA, there was a scout for Pirates who came up to me and said you need to get good movement that's in the strike zone. Was getting good movement but was going out of the strike zone. I actually tried raising my arm angle and it was terible. I was 81mph and flat. I remembered watching Ted Abernathy who was a submarine pitcher in the Majors at the time and got my thinking. I started fooling around in the outfield with it. It took a couple of years to figure it out, especially the breaking ball.


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

I was able to get the ball to sink easier. It was much easier to get the ball low and harder to get it high. That's where you want the ball to be, low. Able to throw less mistakes from down there. Typical pitcher needs overspin to get the ball to sink. You just need to cock your wrist just a tad to get more spin on the ball when you release it.


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

Absolutely not. I was struggling in AA and might not even have got to AAA. By dropping down to submarine, I found out no matter what level I'm pitching at, if I made my pitch was going to be successful. Basically as a pitcher you are going to have the most success when you are able to make the hitter, hit the top half of the ball with the bottom part of the ball. When I threw submarine I had a lot easier time doing that.


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

Basic rule, do what you do best. If something is working, stay with it. If things aren't working then you need to change it. Doesn't matter what you look like pitching, if you can get hitters out they are going to have a place for you to play and will be easier for you to get a cheque.


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

When a pitcher is throwing submarine, everyone thinks their arm is down at their leg. You are really just tilted at the waist. Submarine pitching is basically just sidearm with a tilt. Same thing applies as overhand pitching, you want to make sure you don't drop your elbow below your shoulder.


6. What pitches did you throw?

I have exclusively thrown 2 seam fast balls, or "sinkers" in my career coupled with a slider. i have had success at times with a change up but have never found it to be comfortable nor do i have the same confidence in the pitch. i stick to a simple plan my daddy taught me, dont get beat on your third best pitch!!!


7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

With righties just came pretty easy, everything just natural with arm angle to pitch to them. Sinker going into their hands, slider going away from them. Lefties little trickier with the ball coming towards and breaking into them. Lefties I would go away, away, away, eventually good hitters will start to hit the other though, so you do need to establish that you can go inside. The slider in is difficult but sometimes I would end up just taking a little off the pitch to get them out in front. Overall it was just wiser for me to pitch around lefties to get to the righties. You gotta pick your poison, I would much rather face a righty. The secret is though you need to then get the righty out or you're in trouble.


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

My results were best when I dropped down submarine. I enjoyed facing right handed hitters, who knew what was coming and still couldn't hit it. Even if the did hit it, if a threw my good sinker just an easy ground ball or if really got the sinker down and in, they would foul the ball of their shin. I wasn't overpowering so to make these MLB hitters fooled was pretty satisfying.