Saturday, November 30, 2013

Austin Stuber - Ambidextrous Pitcher from Iowa

Austin Stuber 
Austin Stuber (photo Katelyn Olvera)

Hometown: Clearfield, Iowa
Lenox High School, Lenox, Iowa

Exercise Science major  (Class of 2015)
Missouri Valley College (MVC) - Vikings
Marshall, MO

Formerly a pitcher at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa

Positions: Pitcher, SS, 3B
Throws: Both (Ambidextrous)
Velocity: RHP 88 mph; LHP 82 mph

Glove: Akadema six-finger glove (see photo)

How Austin Stuber got started throwing with both arms:

Stuber began pitching in sixth grade as a right-hander, but taught himself to throw left-handed in seventh grade to set himself apart from other pitchers. He spent hours everyday throwing fungo balls, practice balls, at a propane tank behind his house; working on his velocity and movement.
“I wasn’t coached a lot in high school. I learned to pitch mostly from my dad and from instructional DVDs.”  (source: Chase Burgess,
Iowa High School State Baseball Tournament
Austin Stuber played shortstop and third base for the Lenox Tigers in the Iowa State Baseball Tournament in 2009.

Pitching in College

After playing in high school, Stuber went on to play at Iowa Western Community College in Council Bluffs, Iowa. 
Unfortunately, Stuber suffered a torn-labrum in the fall of his sophomore year and missed the entire 2012 season. As a sophomore, Stuber served as a student athletic trainer for the Iowa Western Reivers football team.

Now Stuber is pitching for the Vikings of Missouri Valley College in Marshall, Missouri. See the related story below.

MVC Baseball Throws Opponents a Curve with Ambidextrous Pitcher
Story by Chase Burgess, MVC Delta

Having a switch-hitter on your roster has become the norm in both college and professional baseball, but a switch-pitcher? That’s a different story. Austin Stuber, a junior Exercise Science major from Clearfield, Iowa, is a rare breed of pitcher. Stuber has the ability to pitch both right and left-handed.
“It’s mind blowing to me, seeing a pitcher put the glove on the other hand and throw a strike,” said Riley Schmitz, a freshman from Shelbina, Missouri. Schmitz performs most of the catching duties for Stuber in practice.
Stuber, who has been playing baseball since he was 4 years old, was born a southpaw, but he began throwing right-handed at the age of 5. He threw right-handed for the next seven years until one accidental discovery changed the way he looked at the game of baseball.
Read More

Nine is just enough for Iowa prep baseball squad
By Dan McCool, Des Moines Register, June 23, 2009
Lenox, IOWA — No courtesy runners or pinch-hitters. No bullpen. No room for injuries and no need for a yellow school bus.

Lenox High School's baseball team has been a no-frills winner despite playing with a nine-man roster since June 1.

"There isn't much strategy," Lenox coach Steve Westphal said. "You just put nine guys out there, and if you need to make a pitching change, (the reliever) gets his eight pitches and bang, you keep going. That's happened a couple of times.

"It's almost like coaching a Little League team at times."

The Tigers were already versed in unusual practice times, having to schedule around production of the movie The Crazies, which was shot in Lenox. The movie deals with a small Iowa community whose water supply is contaminated and those who drink it act strangely, Westphal said. 

Read More

WI Baseball: Lenox gets it done — again

DES MOINES — The Terrific Ten are now one win from a delicious double.
Lenox handed Kee High its worst loss in state tournament history — which spans 39 baseball games over 36 years — getting another sterling pitching performance from sophomore Ethan Westphal in an 11-3 Class 1-A semifinal victory Thursday at Principal Park.
The eighth-rated and third-seeded Tigers (23-3), who have just 10 players on their roster, advance to Saturday's noon championship game here against top-rated and top-seeded Mason City Newman (36-1), which blanked Alta 4-0.

Austin Stuber (stubee_stube) on Twitter

Viking Baseball Team - Missouri Valley College

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

How To Throw a Splitter

split finger fastball grip

splitter (or split finger fastball) is thrown in basically the same way as a fastball -- using the same arm action, and arm speed. The main difference in the grip.

With a splitter grip, you want to split the seam, hold the baseball deeper in the hand, and throw it with a slightly stiffer wrist. It also helps to have bigger hands, which it why this pitch typically works better for older, more advanced pitchers. - Steven Ellis 

How To Throw Splitter - The Complete Pitcher

Splitfinger and Forkball Pitches

Mike Scott talking about the differences between a splitfinger fastball and a forkball.


Koji Uehara has a great Splitter

Koji Uehara 2013 Highlights - YouTube


Koji Uehara's Unhittable Splitter - Baseball Analytics Blog


Is there an ambidextrous pitcher who can throw a splitter?

Switch Pitcher Henry Knight learned to throw the splitter -- with both arms >>

Ambidextrous pitcher Henry Knight throwing the split-finger fastball - as LHP.


Both handed pitchers

Both Handed Pitcher = Ambidextrous Pitcher

Switch pitcher Pat Venditte plays in the minor league 

In baseball, a switch pitcher or both-handed pitcher is an ambidextrous pitcher who is able to pitch with both the right and left hand from the pitcher's mound.

Baseball roster abbreviations

LHP - Left-Handed Pitcher
RHP - Right-Handed Pitcher
BHP - Both-Handed Pitcher

As a pitching coach, I prefer these abbreviations:

LHP/RHP - starter left-handed, reliever right-handed
RHP/LHP - starter right-handed, reliever left-handed

Pat Venditte is a Both-Handed Pitcher (BHP) in the minor leagues with the NY Yankees. He pitched left-handed for Italy in the 2013 World Baseball Classic.

Aubrey McCarty is a BHP at Vanderbilt University. He was drafted out of high school by the SF Giants in 2013, but decided to play college baseball.

Henry Knight is a switch pitcher and switch hitter at Franklin High School in Seattle. Knight switch pitched 11 innings in a summer league game – 4 innings lefty and 7 innings righty – averaging 11 pitches per inning.

The term "Both-handed pitcher" is rarely used. 
"Ambidextrous pitcher" is hard to say. 

"Switch pitcher " is the preferred term. 

Complete list of Switch Pitchers >>

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Pitching Strategies of Jamie Moyer

Left-hander Jamie Moyer pitched in the big leagues for 25 years - winning 269 games. Moyer was known for his command of the strikezone and his 80 mph fastball. Pitches: fastball, curveball, changeup, and cutter.

Try these strategies of MLB pitcher Jamie Moyer

  • Focus on the moment 
  • Control the tempo, relax and make one pitch at a time
  • Don't let anybody outwork you
  • It's a mental game - read Harvey Dorfman's books
  • Keep a notebook to track your progress
  • Learn from the best
  • Share your knowledge with others
  • Give something back to the community

5 Pitching Strategies From Jamie Moyer
  • You Are Your Own Pitching Coach
  • Challenge Yourself To Get Better Every Day
  • Pitch Aggressively To Both Sides Of The Plate
  • Always Look For Weaknesses In Hitters' Swings
  • Throw Your Fastball At Different Pitching Speeds


The Mental ABC's of Pitching
by H.A. Dorfman

The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance
by H.A. Dorfman

Just Tell Me I Can't: How Jamie Moyer Defied the Radar Gun and Defeated Time
by Jamie Moyer and Larry Platt
Jamie Moyer's talk to the Notre Dame Baseball team (YouTube)


Friday, November 15, 2013

Tommy John Surgery

Tommy John Surgery for Pitchers

Ulnar Collateral Ligament Reconstruction Surgery

What is Tommy John Surgery?

Tommy John surgery consists of replacing the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow with a tendon from somewhere else in the body, most often the forearm. During surgery, holes are drilled in the ulna and humerus bones at the elbow and a tendon is woven in a figure-eight pattern through the holes.

History of Tommy John Surgery

When surgeon Frank Jobe, MD, performed the first UCL reconstruction on Tommy John in 1974, he thought the pitcher only had a 1 in 100 chance of resuming his career with the Dodgers. (webMD)

But John returned to the Major Leagues in 1976. He pitched for another 14 years and won 164 more games.
Now, Tommy John surgery has a success rate of about 85% according to Dr. James Andrews.

How long does it take to recover from Tommy John Surgery?

Tommy John surgery takes about an hour on the operating table. What follows is about one year of rehabilitation. 

What is the cost of Tommy John Surgery?

Tommy John surgery (UCL reconstruction) is $15,000 - $22,000 for the operation, plus the cost of one year of rehab. According to the cost of UCL Reconstruction Surgery is $21,563. Learn more about the cost of Tommy John surgery.

How common is Tommy John surgery for MLB pitchers?

About one third of Major League Baseball pitchers have undergone Tommy John surgery. 

Have any switch pitchers had Tommy John Surgery?

Yes.  Ryan Perez had Tommy John surgery on his right elbow in 2012. Perez sustained the elbow injury while pitching at the WWBA World Championship in Jupiter, Florida. Perez is now a switch pitcher for Judson University.

Preston Cronk became a switch pitcher - following injury to his right elbow that required surgery.

If a switch pitcher has solid throwing mechanics, balances their throwing routine, and takes care of both arms, then they should be able to pitch for many years without having surgery.

A couple of the top switch pitchers who throw around 90 mph, including Pat Venditte, had surgery for a torn rotator cuff

Tommy John surgery impacts SSU athletes
By Kyler Johnson | Sonoma State Star, October 1, 2013

Tommy John surgery has become one of the most popular surgeries in baseball today. Due to the unnatural overhand throwing motion in baseball, many pitchers come across elbow issues throughout their career. 
Tommy John surgery has given them a way of trying to bounce back. The exact surgery consists of replacing the ulnar collateral ligament in the elbow with a tendon from somewhere else in the body, most often the forearm.
According to CBS Sports, a third of Major League Baseball pitchers today have undergone Tommy John surgery. This year, 124 of the 360 pitchers who started the Major League season had the operation done. 

Read more

Tommy John surgery rehabilitation estimated to take a year
By Ward Gossett |, April 6, 2012
Tommy John surgery takes about an hour on the operating table. What follows is at least 364 days of rehabilitation.
Cost of the surgery, according to a Gainesville (Ga.) Times story that cited the Georgia Sports Orthopedic Specialists center, is more than $15,000, and that doesn't include rehab.
"How long sitting in physical therapy? A bare minimum would be at least three months," local physical therapist Shawn Craig said. "It's not every day but at least two or three days per week. Usually it's so minimal what you can do early on." 
Read more


5 Myths of Tommy John Surgery
Despite popular belief, if you have Tommy John surgery you are not guaranteed to return to your previous level without complications, and rehab is not a quick and easy process that results in improved velocity. 

Tommy John Surgery: Journey back to the mound
Read a first hand account of the surgery, rehab, frustrations, and successes as I make my journey back to baseball and ultimately back to the pitcher's mound.

Tommy John Surgery (UCL Reconstruction) and Recovery - WebMD

HowStuffWorks "Tommy John Surgery"

By Cindy Boren | The Washington Post, April 18, 2012

By Mike Dodd, USA TODAY
The operation takes about an hour, and the ensuing rehabilitation about a year.

Tommy John surgery: Pitcher's best friend
By Mike Dodd, USA TODAY


Elbow Anatomy Animated Tutorial

Tommy John Remembers
Tommy John was interviewed in Jamestown NY regarding his career which included his now famous operation on his arm which operation bears his name.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

List of Favorite Baseball Books

Recommended reading about the game of baseball


The Art of Pitching by Tom Seaver

The Art & Science of Pitching by Tom House, Gary Heil, and Steve Johnson

The Picture Perfect Pitcher by Tom House and Paul Reddick

Pitch Like a Pro: A guide for Young Pitchers and their Coaches, Little League through High School by Jim Rosenthal and Leo Mazzone

The Mental ABC's of Pitching: A Handbook for Performance Enhancement by H.A. Dorfman

The complete Guide to Developing High Velocity Pitchers
by Kyle Boddy - Driveline Baseball
In Press, available in December 2014  (Watch the video)


The Science of Hitting by Ted Williams

The Mental Keys to Hitting: A Handbook of Strategies for Performance Enhancement by H.A. Dorfman


Coaching the Mental Game: Leadership Philosophies and Strategies for Peak Performance in Sports and Everyday Life by H.A. Dorfman

The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle
The book that explains how talent grows in the brain and how you can grow more of it.

Life is Yours to Win by Augie Garrido

Mental Game

The Mental ABC's of Pitching: A Handbook for Performance Enhancement by H.A. Dorfman

The Mental Game of Baseball: A Guide to Peak Performance by H.A. Dorfman

Just Tell Me I Can't: How Jamie Moyer Defied the Radar Gun and Defeated Time by Jamie Moyer and Larry Platt (a memoir that illustrates the importance of the mental side of baseball)

History of Baseball

I Was Right On Time by Buck O'Neil

The Glory of Their Times by Lawrence Ritter

Only the Ball Was White: A History of Legendary Black Players and All-Black Professional Teams by Robert Peterson

Off-season Reading

Babe: The Legend Comes to Life by Robert W. Creamer

Ball Four by Jim Bouton 

Cobb: A Biography by Al Stump

Fifty-Nine in '84: Old Hoss Radbourn, Barehanded Baseball, and the Greatest Season a Pitcher Ever Had by Edward Achorn

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis

Sandy Koufax: A Lefty's Legacy by Jane Leavy

Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend by Larry Tye

Ted Williams: The Biography of an American Hero by Leigh Montville

The Bullpen Gospels: Major League Dreams of a Minor League Veteran by Dirk Hayhurst

The Boys of Summer by Roger Kahn

The Last Hero: A Life of Henry Aaron by Howard Bryant