How To Improve The Pitching Delivery...The DVS Score

12,000 possible scoring combinations exist within the DVS Scoring System to form a pitcher's DVS Score.  The thousands of combinations signify a ton of variation in the way a pitcher's body and arm move to throw a baseball.  With the high level of variation between pitchers, understanding where or what to improve in a pitcher's delivery can be a challenging and often controversial task. So, where should you begin? 

A vast majority of pitching coaches and instructors will use a methodology they believe can improve a pitcher's mechanics. The ideal mechanical model may vary, but it's safe to assume, all coaches are working within their best interest to help a pitcher develop their mechanics to a higher level.

At DVS, we have now been tracking, studying, and scoring youth, collegiate, and professional pitchers for the last five years. As mentioned in previous articles, the average DVS Score of a youth player to a professional player only varies slightly. Because of our ability to quantify mechanics via the DVS Score, we have the capability to measure injury and performance analytics across a broad demographic. 

"All pitchers are different" or "one style doesn't fit all" is a standard rhetoric within the game of baseball.  But all the thousands of combinations translate to virtually 24 different DVS Scores, which makes it much easier for a player, coach, or an organization to understand how to improve a pitching delivery.

A STARTING POINT

When we consult to help a university or organization to improve pitchers, we use the overall DVS Score as a way to track improvement.  A DVS Score ranges from 0 to 24, with 24 being the highest possible score for any pitcher. As a pitcher's DVS Score increases, the efficiency of his movements help him to tolerate stress better, which decreases injury risk, expedites recovery and increases performance variables. 

In our findings, we have seen a vast majority of current professional pitchers have a DVS Score between 11 and 13, with a significant drop-off between 16 to 19. The graphs below illustrates this trend.

Current DVS Score Distribution – Modern Professional Pitchers

% of players with Major Injury – 40-Man Roster Data (5 Teams)

One of the primary goals for DVS is to validate our scoring system not only through statistics, but in practical application. In 2016, we spent an entire summer testing our methods on the pitchers in the United Shore Professional Baseball League.

LEVELS OF IMPROVEMENT

A formal study began May 17th, 2016 on the pitchers in the United Shore Professional Baseball League. The purpose of the study was to correlate a pitcher’s DVS Score to the fluctuations in his shoulder range of motion patterns over the duration of a season.  In addition, we wanted to begin to explore the effect a pitcher’s DVS Score had on velocity. Overall, if a pitcher’s improves his DVS Score by “x” what type of improvements are seen in both health (shoulder range of motion, recovery times, soreness) and performance (average velocity, max velocity).

IMPROVEMENT IN DVS SCORE 

The average DVS Score for all pitchers who started the year on a team roster was 13.24.  After 6 weeks (second collection of scores) of being a part of the USPBL Throwing Program and DVS System, the average DVS Score for the same group of pitchers was 15.28. 

 
 

IMPROVEMENT IN VELOCITY

The average velocity for all pitchers who started the year on a team roster was 86.4.  As of August 1st, 2016, the average velocity increased for the same sample group of pitchers was 87.45. 

 
 Velocity results before and after DVS Score Improvement
 

DVS SCORE VS. % VELOCITY CHANGE

On average for the entire sample group tested, each level improvement in DVS Score yields a 0.44% increase in velocity.  For example, if you initially have a DVS Score of 12 and improve to 15, your velocity would increase 1.32% or 1.49 mph.

 
% increaese in velocity.png
 

SHOULDER HEALTH IMPROVEMENT

On average, Total Arc Motion (TAM) within the Dominant-Arm (DTAM) prior to System implementation was 149.8º, compared to 156.3º after implementation. As stress begins to accumulate throughout the rigors of a season, it’s common for pitchers to lose range-of-motion in their Dominant-Arm. This is contrary to the trend we observed.

On average, Dominant-Arm TAM Difference (DTAM DIFF), which is the TAM Difference between the Dominant-Arm and Non-Dominant Arm, prior to System Implementation was -2.4º, compared to 2.58º after implementation.  Total Arc Motion Difference has been widely utilized in the medical and research community to quantify injury risk in pitchers. As the Dominant-Arm becomes more limited relative to the Non-Dominant Arm, data suggests this trend to be more injurious. Additionally, as stress accumulates throughout the rigors of a season, it’s common to see this relationship worsen. This is contrary to the trend we observed.

 
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PLAYER EXAMPLES

The following players exhibited the highest change in DVS Score, velocity, and shoulder health improvement. This is largely due each player's time and energy spent outside of the league's mandated schedule to improve their DVS Score. 

 
 

CONCLUSION

So where do you begin improving the pitching delivery? We suggest starting with knowing and understanding a pitcher's DVS Score. By no means do we claim this is the only way to improve a delivery, but we strive to give our audience and clients a continually updated and proven process that is built off quantifiable results.

One of the largest problems that continually plague the game of baseball is the uncertainty in knowing how much a training process truly impacts a pitcher's health and performance. Perhaps the best measure of improvement can be seen and heard from the product, in this case, the pitchers we improve. Three of the pitchers mentioned above signed professional contracts out of the USPBL this past summer, including Evan Piechota who had the following to say about DVS.

Since using the DVS program I have gained about 3mph on my average fastball. The DVS system enhances what you already have to help you become the best you can be. I would recommend the DVS to anyone that wants to gain an extra step on their competition and become an elite baseball player.
— Evan Piechota

We had great success in 2016 in the United Shore Professional Baseball League and look to further expand our scope of study and performance results in 2017.

-JO