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Author based archive
30 Jan

The No. 1 Priority for Pitchers is Getting Into Throwing Shape



Winter break for Northwest students brings about time with families, holidays and a much-needed break from school. But, for student-athletes whose season is in the spring, winter break is a time of preparation.

Heading home on Dec. 8 meant the Northwest baseball season was 57 days away. For me, as a pitcher, it was all about trying to figure out how to achieve my goals of getting stronger, faster and into throwing shape.

Strength and conditioning coordinator Matt Wendelberger sent all of Bearcat baseball home with a weightlifting schedule to follow. Included in our lifting schedule was a three-day and four-week schedule that included the lifts we primarily did in the fall. These lifts included many ways to train specific muscles and movements that baseball players use every pitch.

07 Dec

Trevor Bauer on How to Invent a Whole New Slider



Standing on the mound, a major league baseball pitcher has 60 feet and 6 inches of air to get each pitch to sizzle before it crosses the plate. But it’s their arsenal of throws that separates a good pitcher from a great one. Two-fingered fastball, four-fingered fastball, slider, curve, cutter, knuckleball—each option spins differently to achieve a unique motion.

“There are so many different things in baseball that lend itself to science because it’s not so much of a physical game as it is a technical game,” says Trevor Bauer, starting pitcher for the Cleveland Indians. Bauer is unusual for his knowledge of the physics of baseball. He studied engineering at UCLA during college, but cites his dad, a chemical engineer who taught him the scientific method, for his love of science.

11 Jun

Alex Lange Could Be Rare Homegrown Cubs Starter



Righthander Alex Lange came as advertised as a polished Friday-night starter for a College World Series program. One year after being drafted in the first round out of Louisiana State, Lange still shows the Cubs fast-track potential.

“He wants to be in the big leagues today,” scouting director Matt Dorey said, “and I don’t blame him.” Where the Cubs projected more from Brendon Little—a high-upside junior college lefthander—Lange figured to move through the Cubs’ system at a different pace. Together, they are the highest-drafted pitchers of the Theo Epstein regime, Little at No. 27 and Lange at No. 30 last year.

12 Jan

Watch Trevor Bauer throw a ball 116.9 mph (!) during a high-intensity workout



There’s been a lot of talk about #NoOffseason around these parts. Players are smacking tires with sledgehammers and running around shirtless on Japanese game shows. But Trevor Bauer took #NoOffseason to an entirely different level on Wednesday night. His 2017 offseason is, in fact, his season — and it may be his best season yet. He just threw a ball 116.9 mph.


10 Sep

What happens on the mound has more to do with the mind than the arm.



The Major League Baseball commissioner, Rob Manfred, will never be mistaken for a rebel. He’s a 58-year-old Harvard Law School grad who clerked for a U.S. district judge appointed by Richard Nixon; became a partner at the lofty Philadelphia law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; and made his name in the league negotiating collective-bargaining agreements and investigating the Biogenesis doping scandal of 2013. The guy even wears a tie when he throws out the first pitch at games.

Yet as Manfred enters his third year as commissioner, no one should underestimate just how much of a baseball radical he is. Since taking over in 2015, Manfred has imposed new strictures on the use of instant replay, banished chewing tobacco from the field for new players, abolished the decade-and-a-half-old rule that the All-Star Game decides home-field advantage at the World Series, and now inaugurated the no-pitch intentional walk. But his most explosive ideas are yet to come. Manfred has floated the notion of limiting defensive shifts and the number of pitching changes a team can make, altering the strike zone, and shortening the season. He has even said that he’d consider, when a game reaches extra innings, automatically putting a runner on second base. (The rookie leagues are doing just that this year.)

09 Aug

World Cup title exciting experience for local ballplayer



If any teachers at Lakewood Middle School assign a summer vacation essay, Ashton Larson has a story for them. The 12-year-old Overland Park resident competed at the World Cup in Taiwan last week as part of the 12 and under U.S. national baseball team.

Last month, he competed against 110 other athletes, selected from thousands across the country, for 18 spots on the national team. They had three days to practice together as a team before heading to the U12 World Cup.

“All of the kids are like Ashton, playing on a really high level. The coaches have a lot of faith in them and put them on the field. … Each day you could see how much they improved and were gelling as a team,” said Adrienne Larson, Ashton’s mom.

11 Mar

LSU stars shine bright as it takes the series opener against Wichita State 6-1



The LSU baseball team received a big night from its big-time players, which was more than enough to beat Wichita State 6-1 in a rain-delayed series opener Friday at Alex Box Stadium.

Among the stars who shined brightest for LSU (10-4) were Cole Freeman (2 for 3, two runs), Antoine Duplantis (3 for 4, two runs), Greg Deichmann (2 for 4, four RBIs) and Alex Lange.

28 Feb

These 2 pitches made Alex Lange so dominant in LSU’s series-opening win vs. Maryland



Alex Lange needed three pitches to strike out the first batter he faced.

The next batter he faced? The same result.

It set the tone for a dominant performance in which Lange, LSU’s ace right-hander, struck out 12 batters in six innings Friday night. His teammates gave him plenty of help at the plate as the Tigers dropped No. 25 Maryland 6-1 in the series opener at Alex Box Stadium.

“It sets the tone for the whole game, coming out there and showing the other team that you’re going to pound the zone, get strike one and pitch in our counts,” Lange said. “When we’re pitching in our counts, we’re going to be a lot more successful.”

23 Feb

How LSU pitcher Alex Lange, a driven, meticulous star, sees each pitch before he throws



Two hours and five minutes before junior right-hander Alex Lange throws the first pitch of the 2017 LSU baseball season, he will arrive at Alex Box Stadium — not two hours before, or two hours and 10 minutes before, but precisely 125 minutes before.

There is purpose to this. Lange is a stickler when it comes to organization and precision of his pregame schedule. He needs 125 minutes to flawlessly execute his routine, and Lange is obsessed with execution — so much so that you’ll have to excuse him if he doesn’t notice you on game day.