Williams: The art of mastering the sinker

From Tim Williams at Pirates Prospects on March 11, 2014:

During the first week of Spring Training, I was watching the Major League pitchers doing their daily throwing programs, commonly referred to as long toss. For me, this time period involves snapping pictures for Instagram, waiting for players to start throwing bullpens, and taking notes on what I see the players throwing or working on during their flat ground sessions.

On this particular afternoon I noticed Charlie Morton and Brandon Cumpton stopped throwing and started talking. Morton and Cumpton were each throwing to other people, but were standing side by side. The common assumptions came into play here about what they were talking about. An article idea sparked in my head — the kind of idea you get early in Spring Training when you’re trying to generate stories from batting practice and long toss. Charlie Morton, a veteran sinkerball pitcher, talking to Brandon Cumpton, a rookie sinkerball pitcher. Morton must have been teaching Cumpton about how to improve his sinker. I decided I would ask both players about this after practice that day.

My original idea for this story was a simple article discussing how Cumpton was getting advice from Morton and was working on improving his sinker. Add in some numbers from Cumpton last year, and it would be an easy story that I could file away as I tried to get ahead during the early weeks of Spring Training. But after talking with both players, I quickly realized that there was so much I didn’t know about the sinker, and about what players discuss when they’re talking to each other about grips.

Read the full article here: http://www.piratesprospects.com/2014/03/the-art-of-pitching-mastering-the-sinkerball.html

Originally published: March 13, 2014. Last Updated: March 13, 2014.