The Baseball Zone Blog

Kevin Hussey | Oct 16, 2015 6:00:00 AM

Why Did John Gibbons Pitch David Price in Game 4 of the ALDS?

There are only a select few people who know why David Price came into pitch in Game 4 of the ALDS for the Toronto Blue Jays against the Texas Rangers. Everyone has their own theory on why it happened, although most likely no one outside of that select circle will ever know for sure.

Now, it all worked out for the Blue Jays. They won Game 4. Then they won Game 5 in an epic battle. But the Game 4 moves remain an interesting debate and story that has kept me thinking. After trying to figure out all the different scenarios that made that decision make sense, I've come to the conclusion that John Gibbons didn't want to publicly choose Marcus Stroman over Price without having an acceptable reason to.

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Topics: baseball coaching, pitching, Toronto Blue Jays, mlb, Texas Rangers, Jake Arrieta, John Gibbons, Marcus Stroman, starting pitching, Chicago Cubs, David Price, R.A. Dickey, relief pitching

Courtney Plewes | Oct 5, 2015 5:23:00 PM

8 Baseball Strength Training Lessons From the Cressey Elite Mentorship

On June 14-16th of this year I was fortunate enough to have had the opportunity to attend the Elite Baseball Mentorship program at Eric Cressey’s training center in Hudson, MA. For those of you who don’t know who Eric is you can check out his website here. Basically he is THE go-to-guy in the USA for high school, college and professional baseball players.

For those of you who have been to our facility here at The Baseball Zone you will be happy to know that our facilities were almost identical, only opposite in a way! I mean that Cressey’s gym is 15,000 sq. ft. with the majority of his facility being designated for strength and conditioning with two bullpen lanes; while ours is 15,000 sq. ft. with about 3,500 sq. ft. of that being strength and conditioning and the rest baseball.

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Topics: warming up, strength training, in-season strength training, baseball strength training, strength training for baseball, off-season strength training, baseball exercise, pitching, speed, speed training, baseball speed, med ball drills, throwing skills, prowler training, prehab, baseball warm up, pitching mechanics, shoulder strength, biomechanics, sprinting speed, explosive strength, mobility, sled sprints, performance training, sports performance, strength and conditioning, elite baseball mentorship, cressey sports performance, eric cressey, athlete assessments, squat, pressing exercises, power, cleans

Ryan Armstrong | Aug 6, 2015 11:02:49 AM

My Thoughts on Cressey Sports Performance's Elite Baseball Mentorship

I was fortunate enough to have attended Cressey Sports Performance's Elite Baseball Mentorship program this past June in the Boston area along with fellow team members here at The Baseball Zone / SST Mississauga, Courtney Plewes and Rick Johnston (pictured L to R with Eric Cressey). This program has provided me with insight that gave me a better understanding of how the body works from a biomechanical perspective. This particular workshop was focused on the upper extremities, especially the elbow and shoulder, two areas that go without saying are extremely important to pitchers - and all throwers - in terms of performance, injury prevention & rehabilitation.

Here is a brief outline of the program and some of my own thoughts:

Day 1: We examined how the shoulder complex should function by looking at movement and symmetry with various athletes. Later that day we went onto the floor and watched assessments performed by Eric Cressey and Eric Schoenberg. Although this may not be my particular area of expertise I learned more about how the body moves so I can better serve our throwers here at The Baseball Zone as well as share this information with our staff.

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Topics: baseball coaching, rehab, pitching, elbow injury, shoulder injury, pitching injuries, injury prevention, elbow strength, baseball warm up, weighted balls, shoulder strength, biomechanics, pitching preparation, sports performance, notre dame, elite baseball mentorship, cressey sports performance, eric cressey, eric schoenberg, matt blake, athlete assessments, boston college, oklahoma state, cape cod league

Kevin Hussey | Jun 3, 2015 2:57:54 PM

3 Fundamental Baseball Plays That Are Often Taken For Granted

Throughout the years in baseball, teams have practiced many different aspects of the game. Most practices consist of the three main components of baseball; hitting, defense, and pitching. Although baseball is based around those three aspects, there are a lot of little things in baseball that get overlooked in practice but need to be worked on if one is to expect them to be committed flawlessly in a competitive situation. Every coach should have a rule that you cannot put a kid in a situation they haven’t practiced. Here are three of those situations that get overlooked in practice but will get used in games, often making situations worse off than they could have been.

Pitch Out

A pitchout is a technique that seems like it should be easy, but it needs to be practiced. Pitchers often have issues throwing this pitch where it needs to be. The location of this pitch is so important because every inch the pitch is off is an extra inch the catcher has to make up for in their release. This needs to be practiced by the catcher as well because it’s different than a typical throw to second base. The catcher needs to worry about getting their body over in time, but also worry about not leaving the catcher's box before the ball is released.

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Topics: hitting, baseball communication, pitching, baseball practice, baseball fundamentals, catching, catching fundamentals, practicing under pressure, infield communication, baseball team defense, team defense, pick off moves, team practice, pitch out, intentional walk

Ryan Armstrong | Mar 1, 2015 7:00:00 AM

The "Inside" Pickoff Move to Second Base

With a runner on second base it is essential to hold the runner close. Holding runners close will serve to decrease the chances of the opposition scoring on a single from second and also serve to give your outfielders a chance to throw them out at the plate if they do indeed attempt to score. If we hold the runner effectively it will decrease the distance they can reach on both primary and secondary lead offs thus making it less likely they score. Holding runners at second can also decrease a runner's jump making it harder for them to steal third base. If they reach do third base, especially with less than two outs, it is much easier for them to eventually score.

At the high school and college/pro levels, runners are coached to be aggressive and to put pressure on the defense. Pitchers must be able to combat aggressive runners by developing the ability to hold them close to the base they are at. This is skill is essential at higher levels as runs are harder to come by, but don't wait until you are there to develop it - get ahead of the game and work on it. One of the most essential moves you can develop to help you in this regard is the "Inside" pickoff move (or simply the "Inside move") to second base. Here is a brief video demonstration and explanation of it:

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Topics: pitching, pitching tips, pitching instruction, pitching skills, pitching advice, pick off moves, controlling the running game, inside move

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