Laurila: C.J. Wilson on spin rate, arm angle, and exploiting weaknesses

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on August 27, 2014:

C.J. Wilson doesn’t have a simple approach to pitching. The 33-year-old Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim lefthander throws everything but the kitchen sink at opposing batters, and there’s a reason behind each pitch. That reason could be based on a weakness or it could based on feel. And the pitch may not come from the same arm angle as the one that preceded it. In all likelihood, it will have a different spin axis, which is a subject Wilson knows better than most big-league pitchers.


Wilson on his mindset: “When I throw a really good game, I feel like I’ve pulled off a master heist. I’ve stolen their ability to win that day with a well-thought-out, totally under control, non-emotional, logical plan. I knew exactly how much time I had before they called the cops on me.

“We all have different personalities. Some guys literally grip it and rip it. They throw as hard as they can every single pitch. They just stare at the catcher and try to throw the nastiest slider they can throw. I’ve never pitched that way. I was a control pitcher before I had Tommy John surgery. I was crafty. I modeled myself after Tom Glavine, who I watched growing up. I wish I had Pedro 1999 stuff, but I don’t and never have.”

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Originally published: August 27, 2014. Last Updated: August 27, 2014.