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It's hard to find a good lefthanded arm these days, but apparently the Jays are taking that notion to the extreme. According to this report from New Zealand, the Jays have offered a contract to 19-year old softball pitcher/outfielder Andrew Kirkpatrick. I haven't been able to find out too much about him, but the few pictures I've seen of him on the net indicate that he's a lefty.
Blue Jays Offer Contract to Australian Softball Pitcher | 32 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Pistol - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 01:14 PM EST (#69670) #
Good luck finding Davenport translations on Austrailian softball.
_Chris - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 01:29 PM EST (#69671) #
I like how he said that there were only minor things that he had to work on if he was going to pitch overhand..."like technique"

That seems like a major thing to me.
_benum - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 02:08 PM EST (#69672) #
I don't know...once he gets the minor things like command, location and velocity up to ML level it should be no problem. Oh yeah...and avoid injury.

Lindsey: "Do I detect a hint of sarcasm?"
Prof. Frink: "According to my sarcasm detector, yes!"
Comic Book Guy: "Oh! A sarcasm detector! That's really useful!" *Sarcasm detector explodes*
_rodent - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 02:20 PM EST (#69673) #
There's a reference in the New Zealand softball championships story to a ballpark called "Smokefree"...perhaps not a pitcher's park.
Craig B - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 02:36 PM EST (#69674) #
Forgive me for being obtuse, but why the hell would he pitch overhand?
_Jordan - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 03:00 PM EST (#69675) #
Isn't it a rule that major-league pitchers have to throw overhand? I seem to recall some obscure rule from the turn of the previous century that underhanded pitching was outlawed.
_Jordan - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 03:05 PM EST (#69676) #
No, I guess not ... nothing in the Official Rules that I can find, anyway....
Coach - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 03:15 PM EST (#69677) #
why the hell would he pitch overhand?

That's a very good question. As long as his windup and delivery are always the same, it wouldn't be a balk. In a series of exhibitions on This Week In Baseball, Jennie Finch was able to strike out a lot of big-league hitters with her rising fastball. All Kirkpatrick would have to do is find the range from about fifteen feet farther away, and he'd be a faster Chad Bradford, throwing stuff that confounds most hitters.
_Donkit R.K. - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 04:07 PM EST (#69678) #
Is there any precident for softball pitchers succeding in baseball?
_Steve Z - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 04:56 PM EST (#69679) #
Kirkpatrick wouldn't be the first Aussie signed under JP's administration. I was surprised to find out that Jon Chappell (listed as a DL'ed catcher on the Dunedin roster) was signed in 2002 to a "huge" minor league contract by Greg Wade, the Jays' scout Down Under. The Kirkpatrick deal sounds very speculative at the moment, but I'd love to see the Jays sign yet another unconventional southpaw! (I'll love it even more if the Jays keep him throwing from down under!)
_Ryan - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 04:58 PM EST (#69680) #
Is there any precident for softball pitchers succeding in baseball?

Do Doug Jones and Bob Tewksbury count? :-)

A few years ago the Braves invited a Czech javelin thrower to try out. They didn't sign him, but it was an interesting experiment on their part.
_Oggman - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 06:40 PM EST (#69681) #
In a series of exhibitions on This Week In Baseball, Jennie Finch was able to strike out a lot of big-league hitters with her rising fastball.

She also was standing 14 1/2 ft closer to the plate, she was pitching from 46 feet.

But I did see on TSN years ago how a team of women baseball players were barnstorming against a series of PCL teams. THe "Closer" for the womens team struck out a with an underhand pitch from the mound, so it is possible...whether it was legal or not is a different story.
_NIck - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 07:14 PM EST (#69682) #
I wonder what the effects are on the arm throwing underhand. A completely uninformed guess on my part says there's a heck of a lot less strain. It seems a much more natural motion than throwing overhand. Anyone know if its common in softball to throw a good number of pitches frequently?
_NIck - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 07:20 PM EST (#69683) #
Following up to my own post...

FWIW, browsing the stats for the European Cup, it seems that softball teams definately employ at least a three man rotation, so there may indeed be an arm strain issue. On the other hand, this could just indicate that the pitcher gets fatigued as opposed to any particular amount of strain on the arm.
_steve - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 07:27 PM EST (#69684) #
dan quisensomething used to throw submarine and at times almost underhand and he's got like 300+ saves.
Craig B - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 08:11 PM EST (#69685) #
A number of other great (and I do mean great) pitchers threw straight submarine (not sidearm). Three that come to mind immediately are

Kent Tekulve, one of my favourite players ever, he closed my very first big-league game.
Carl Mays, still a very reasonable Hall of Fame candidate. He might have made it if he hadn't been such an unpleasant jerk (and even more if he hadn't thrown the pitch that killed Ray Chapman).
Elden Auker, one of the lost greats whose career ended abruptly with the Second World War and is now being sadly lost to memory.

Tekulve and Auker mostly threw slop like the guys mentioned above, but Mays was a fearsome fastball pitcher.
Coach - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 09:02 PM EST (#69686) #
Anyone know if its common in softball to throw a good number of pitches frequently?

Eddie Feigner of "The King and his Court" fame could pitch every day. If you never saw the quartet beat your local all-star team, you really missed a show. Feigner, still touring in his seventies, has pitched over 10,000 games -- 200+ per year for more than 50 years! -- and is credited with more than 900 no-hitters, over 200 perfect games and something like 130,000 strikeouts, thousands of them blindfolded, behind his back or from second base.

I often wondered how the King would have fared against world-class hitters, but he did top 100 mph in his prime. The very best I've seen is big Darren Zack, who is now well over 40 years old but still playing at a world-class level. At about 6'6" and 275, from 45 feet away, he must be frightening to face. In 1995, when he pitched Team Canada to a world championship, Zack (pronounced Zock) was probably starting every other day, and closing in between. He rang up 69 consecutive scoreless innings in the tournament.

Kirkpatrick actually spent last summer in Ontario, pitching for a senior team from Owen Sound, the Scenic City Crunch. His coaches on the Australian national team wanted him to get more experience against North American competition. His Canadian coach, Lee Jacques, was impressed.

"I thought I was going to get a hard-throwing kid that was out of control but he`s been poised and confident. He looks like he`s 32 years old the way he carries himself. I`ve never seen a 19-year-old with that kind of stuff be that poised."

Considering he's about 6'4" and a lefty, I understand the temptation to teach him how to throw overhand, but I'm also pretty sure he could be effective from 60'6" with the windmill.
_Stan - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 09:18 PM EST (#69687) #
I saw Eddie Feigner pitching against a collection of major league allstars back in the sixties and saw him strike out Mays, McCovey and Aaron. A friend of mine, Pete Landers has beaten him. Pete was one of the best in the world at one time.
Coach - Wednesday, January 28 2004 @ 10:05 PM EST (#69688) #
Stan, I believe it was 1972 when Richmond Hill won the worlds. I can't remember if Pete pitched for them that whole year, or they added him for the tournament. He was terrific. I was playing on a pretty good team in Fort Erie back then (those who know me now will laugh at the thought of me as a CF and #2 hitter) and we occasionally saw those guys in tournaments, but we were overmatched.

One of my former coaches, Bob Foster, carried the clipping for the rest of his life after hitting a homer and pitching a shutout to beat Feigner; that would have been around 1960. When he was much older, Bob once threw me a dozen consecutive risers in batting practice, each one 1/4 inch higher than the last; he wasn't nearly as fast as he'd been in his heyday, but all I could do was foul them over the backstop until he struck me out with a changeup.
_Matt - Thursday, January 29 2004 @ 01:45 AM EST (#69689) #
wow... A story about an offer to a softball pitcher and there are something like 15 posts... I'm impressed. I think I have found a new place to talk ball... not bein sarcastic :)

btw, lol @ the fact that we have all just seriously debated the chances of pitching underhanded in the bigs...
_Norman Ames - Saturday, February 07 2004 @ 04:23 PM EST (#69690) #
Just to finalize this discussion....or start another one....

AIMS EHS Fastpitch Softball
2004 National Champions

Hitters Reaction Time

Fastpitch vs Baseball
I have read with great interest the banter back and forth about the comparison of baseball and fastpitch reaction times. There have been some overstatements and understating that are both comical and disturbing.

In my younger years I wrote a few papers on the subjects relating to all areas of fastpitch including hitters reaction time, bat speed and hitting efficiency, throwing velocity training and base stealing techniques. In these papers I dealt with the biomechanical principals, the physics of the actions and the mental aspects behind these actions. These papers do not make me an expert but I hope to enlighten, entertain and engage you while you read this. The numbers that I use will be explained and hopefully you will understand why I use them.

The average fastpitch pitcher throws at about 73-76 mph while the top pitchers will throw in excess of 82-85mph but not every time (excluding changeups). The years before my retirement I kept tags on the top pitchers and they were throwing consistently about 78-80mph so I will use 80mph. In the major leagues the top fastballers (Randy Johnson, Clemons) will throw 93-98mph consistently. Now the baseball pitchers speed is not so important for reaction time as it is a comparison for what a fastpitch batter must face when he hits.

The distance for a fastpitch pitcher delivery point will be 40ft due to the fact that the release point is at the hip. Most pitchers hips are at about 6ft in front of the rubber on release, the distance for a baseball pitcher will be at 53ft since the release point is ahead of the front foot. You could argue this with me a bit but I will try to be on the side of caution.

An 80mph pitch is 117.33 ft/second which gives the batter standing 40ft from the release point .341 of a second to hit the ball. A 95mph pitch is 139.33 ft/sec, which gives the batter standing 53ft from the release point .380 of a second to hit the ball. A baseball pitcher would have to throw the ball 155.42 ft/sec to accomplish the .341 reaction time for the baseball batter. This equates to a 106 mph fastball.

These are the pure comparison numbers and do not take in account; the size of the ball, ball movement, etc. Fastpitch batters never have a 6 11" Randy Johnson releasing the ball about 3-4 ft behind a left handed batter and have it curve into the strike zone. The multitude of release points that a baseball pitcher can throw at you (side arm, arm, over the top, etc) or the huge speed changes from one pitch to the next. All these things work into the reaction time formula.

The baseball batter of course very rarely sees a ball rise thru the strike zone. Top pitchers will throw faster than the example given which require even less time to react and the strike zone was, up until this year, quite a bit larger for the fastpitch batter. These are the reasons why batters spend hours trying to "pick a pitcher" since you can eliminate either a direction of movement or speed of pitch so that the batter can focus on a smaller hitting zone.

Of course hitting is not all reaction time and mental aspects of hitting are as important as ones' ability to react to a pitch. I think the comparison of baseball to fastpitch hitting is complex but as a pure degree of difficulty in reacting to a top quality fastpitch pitcher I personally think that us "chest thumping" fastpitch hitters can be proud of our accomplishments. I hope this enlightens and entertains, as it should.

Dave Paetkau
(Dave was a member of the Canadian National team and played for the New West Brewers)
_Arm stress in f - Monday, April 19 2004 @ 12:44 PM EDT (#69691) #
I was searching for something and came across this board. The arm stress in a regular fastball is nil if done correctly. My daughter is 14, and has pitched 22 innings in one day w/no arm problems. She has had her legs hurt the next day, because she pushes off and out pretty hard. Some of the movement pitches put a pretty good deal of stress on the rotator cuff, but she's not doing much of that yet.
Craig B - Monday, April 19 2004 @ 01:20 PM EDT (#69692) #
The arm stress in a regular fastball is nil if done correctly.

This sentence made me laugh very hard, for a long time.

Five minutes' *thought* about the biomechanical aspects of pitching a softball would tell you the opposite. Let alone looking at the literature out there. It's not no-stress on the arm.

It's true that knee and back problems are more common than arm problems for softball pitchers, yes. This is likely because of the extreme jerkiness of the orthodox pitching motions that are taught.

But it's not zero-stress. I don't mind you injuring your daughter; that's between you and her. But I'd hate the thought of someone reading that comment and taking it seriously.

14-year-old players shouldn't really be pitching 22 innings a week or anything, let along 22 innings in a day. Do otherwise at your own risk.
_Moffatt - Monday, April 19 2004 @ 01:45 PM EDT (#69693) #
I once pitched in 3 games in a tournament in the same day when I was 15 years old. My arm never hurt at all. Since I've been 21, I haven't been able to raise my right arm over my shoulder without a fair bit of pain when I first wake up in the morning. So please be careful.
_Andrew - Wednesday, April 21 2004 @ 05:18 PM EDT (#69694) #
If I recall correctly, Kevin Hickey, a reliever for the White Sox and Orioles made the transition from softball to baseball pitcher. He made the team from a public tryout in the late 70's. After having some arm trouble, he made a comeback in the late 80's with Balitmore and pitched a few more years with decent success.

On another note, I hate sound selfish but I'd hate see an up and coming star leave what is already a dying game. All the men's fastpitch leagues in my area are completely drying up and I don't see it getting better. It's a shame this great game doesn't get the recognition it deserves.
_Jazz_Bill - Wednesday, April 21 2004 @ 08:37 PM EDT (#69695) #
Catfish Hunter...That's all I have to say.
_Andy - Tuesday, April 27 2004 @ 12:17 PM EDT (#69696) #
Mike Piechnik, one of the best left handed fastball pitchers of all time once had a tryout with Kansas City. They liked his stuff, but his windmill delivery allowed baserunners a big advantage when it came to stealing bases.
_Keens - Tuesday, April 27 2004 @ 03:31 PM EDT (#69697) #
I played with Andrew in Australia and even though he throws a softball windmill style at 130 km he throws really hard overhand as well plus he has can develop a really good rise ball from which baseballers never see and i believe the padres and orioles had interest as well but he wants to keep playing softball for now from what he tells me but he would have no problems adjusting to baseball to let you all know
_peepers - Tuesday, April 27 2004 @ 06:59 PM EDT (#69698) #
Obviously he'll need to work on performing under pressure. For example, the World series of softball. Also at a little tourney in Saskatoon known as the ducks unlimited skins tourney which his team place a mere 4th. If all he trows is rise balls, he might have a chance, but he won't be pitching at 46 feet anymore!! He hits well though, i'd rather see him in the outfield
_DUMMY - Tuesday, April 27 2004 @ 11:40 PM EDT (#69699) #
ya ok saskatoon sucks -- ducks? who is talking about them-- this is ball
_saskatoon - Wednesday, April 28 2004 @ 01:17 AM EDT (#69700) #
how does saskatoon suck? the ducks unlimited skins bring teams like the farm, calgary diamonds and Aspen Black Sox who has pitchers holein, bryan newton and players like keith mackintosh and nathan jones from australia and considering we are a small province in population we have names like holein and mackintosh and up and coming guys on the national development team like ethier, matzner, dauvin, i tend to think saskatoon knows a thing or 2 about ball
_Fozzy - Wednesday, April 28 2004 @ 07:50 AM EDT (#69701) #
Kirkpatrick was just on the TV yesterday as Canada played Australia at the semi-finals in the World Softball Tournament. Although he got roughed up that game (and Canada trounced 'em 7-0) he was throwing with a good live arm (I believe he was touching 123 km/h), and although his control was not great that game, the announcers saud that he was one of the best pitchers in the tournament.

If he can make a conversion I'm all for it; you can never have too many pitchers.
Blue Jays Offer Contract to Australian Softball Pitcher | 32 comments | Create New Account
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