In 2007, pitcher Casey Weathers was the eighth pick of the MLB Draft. Nine years later, Weathers is still a prospect at 30 years old, having never pitched above double-A.
Weathers is also doing some incredible things with a baseball.
Weathers has had multiple surgeries on his throwing arm, including Tommy John surgery, according to Lindsay Berra of MLB.com. However, the use of some controversial drills, including throwing weighted baseballs, has Weathers throwing as hard as ever. How hard? He was recently clocked at 107.8 MPH.
These type of drills are controversial because even though it is believed that they can strengthen an arm, there is also the fear of increasing the risk of injury.
As for the speed, the catch here, of course, is that Weathers is not throwing off of a mound and is instead using a crow-hop to gain momentum. So this is still not as impressive as Aroldis Chapman throwing 103 MPH on a regular basis from a standing start.
Still, a baseball travel nearly 108 MPH is just not something that is ever seen. MLB tracked the throwing speeds of outfielders during the 2015 season, and while multiple players were clocked throwing harder than 100 MPH, Astros outfielder Carlos Gomez was the hardest thrower at 103.1 MPH. That is still more than 4 MPH slowed than Weathers and outfielders often get as much, if not more, momentum into their throws.
It was actually one of these “pull-down” throws a year ago that caught the attention of the Cleveland Indians and led them to sign Weathers to their minor league system. In that video, Weathers showed that he was healthy by hitting 105.8 MPH.
“Seeing the intent with which he was throwing in that video basically answered that question,” Indians director of player development Carter Hawkins said. “We knew at that point that the physical part wasn’t a limitation, and we were excited to bring him on board and start the process of translating the arm strength to in-game execution.”
Here is how the pull down exercise is described by Berra:
The “pull-down” drill is so named because it comes from the end of the second phase of pitching guru Alan Jaeger’s long-toss regimen, in which, after “stretching out” to 300-foot throwing distances, pitchers “pull down” to the comparably minute distance at which their final throws are made. But at Driveline Baseball in Seattle, where Weathers has been training for parts of the last two years, the drill is used as a once-weekly “max-intent” stress test to see just how hard a pitcher can throw.
The pull-down drill probably isn’t for everybody, but it would be fun to see what Chapman could do if given a running start.
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