50 Most Bizarre Pitching Motions and Batting Stances in Major League Baseball
Pitching motions and batting stances are commonly similar between major league players. For most, there is only a slight variation in their approaches.
However, there is a group of players that differentiate themselves from the rest of the players in MLB with their unique pitching motions and batting stances.
Many of these pitchers have been able to have success because of the fact that batters are not used to the windup they are seeing. Hitters have used bizarre batting stances to their advantage as well.
All players on this list are current major leaguers.
At first glace, it may be hard to notice anything that is different about Jordan Walden's pitching motion.
Take a look at Walden right before he releases the ball. He does a little hop.
This pitching motion works for Walden, and he had a great season as the Los Angeles Angels closer in 2011.
The beginning of Sammy Gervacio's windup is what really stands out. He holds the baseball as if it is a shot put to begin his windup.
After that, Gervacio's pitching motion is pretty much normal, but the beginning of it is certainly bizarre.
Former Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Jesse Carlson seems to have a normal delivery, but upon its completion, he ends up much closer to first base than most other pitchers.
He has had moderate success in the majors, and Carlson is now a member of the Boston Red Sox organization.
It seems as if Josh Outman is doing a little dance every time he delivers a pitch to home plate.
While Outman's style of pitching may be a bit unorthodox, it has helped him reach the major leagues.
It is hard to tell that there is anything bizarre about Coco Crisp's batting stance, unless you get to see him at the plate more than once.
He rests his head on his front shoulder. It is almost as if he is trying to give his neck a break from holding up his head and all of his hair.
It is pretty much impossible to stand any further back in the box than Kevin Youkilis does is in this video.
That is not the only quirky part of Youk's stance. He also holds his bat up really high.
This is certainly one of the strangest stances in the majors.
Someone should find Ichiro Suzuki a uniform that fits him properly. Every time he steps up to the plate, the Seattle Mariners star adjusts his sleeves.
Ichiro is a slap hitter, which has contributed to his approach at the plate.
When Dontrelle Willis first reached the major leagues and started to dominate hitters, one of the first things that people noticed was his pitching delivery.
While his big leg kick may have fooled hitters during Willis' first few years, they no longer have trouble hitting against him.
Tim Lincecum is able to generate a blazing fastball despite his small frame. This is due in part to his pitching motion.
There is no need to argue with Lincecum's delivery, as he is one of the top pitchers in baseball and the owner of two NL Cy Young Awards.
Most pitchers that use a leg kick in their delivery keep their knee bent and bring their leg up high near their body.
That is not the case for Bronson Arroyo.
He brings his leg up to a point where it is basically parallel to the ground.
Tim Collins is able to reach back and dial up an outstanding fastball, even though he is one of the smaller pitchers in the majors.
The delivery that Collins uses allows him to generate enough force to throw his fastball past hitters.
Shelley Duncan has never been able to produce consistently at the major league level throughout his career.
It is somewhat surprising that Duncan, son of famous pitching coach Dave Duncan, does not have a more traditional batting stance.
The Boston Red Sox lineup will have a number of players with interesting batting stances in 2012.
One of those players is Mike Aviles.
Aviles holds his bat up high and waves it around like it is a flag prior to taking a rip at whatever pitch is thrown.
It is almost as if Aaron Rowand brings an invisible stool with him to the plate every time he comes up to bat.
On top of the fact that Rowand looks like he could be pushed over by a gust of wind, he also swings his bat around a lot before he is finally ready to offer at a pitch.
The 2011 season was a tough one for Carl Crawford and the Boston Red Sox. They are both looking to turn things around this year.
Crawford swings his bat around down low and then brings it up over his head as he is prepares to get a base hit.
When he is in the batter's box, Alex Rios puts a big bend in his knees. He has used this approach for a long time.
Rios has had both good and bad times with this stance during his inconsistent career.
Rickie Weeks does a little shuffle when he first steps into the batter's box, but he is not done moving.
As he waits for the pitch to arrive, Weeks will move his front foot around as if he is trying to find the right place to position it.
When Daisuke Matsuzaka starts his pitching rotation, he holds the ball high over his head in his glove and keeps it there for a few seconds.
After that, Matsuzaka's delivery resembles that of many other pitchers in the majors, but that initial move is enough for him to make this list.
Ian Kinsler just cannot stay still when he is in the batter's box. He continues to move around until the pitch is about to reach him.
Kinsler then takes a fluid swing, which has allowed him to launch 30 home runs in a season.
It seems like Mike Gonzalez is trying to lull hitters to sleep as he rocks back and forth when he is on the mound.
This is certainly a unique approach to pitching, but it has been successful for Gonzalez during his career.
Melvin Mora keeps his arms and the bat moving right up until he is ready to swing at the pitch.
Mora has had a 13-year major league career, and he made two All-Star Games because of his offensive abilities.
Carlos Quentin is another player on this list that likes to bend his knees and get a bit lower when he comes to the dish.
Additionally, Quentin holds the bat high and then brings it back before he begins his swing.
There are two things about Scott Rolen's stance that make it different from many that of any other hitters in the game.
For one, Rolen keeps his feet wide and puts a big bend in his knees.
Secondly, he continues to tap his front foot as he is waiting for the pitcher to deliver.
Ryan Braun holds his bat up high and right behind his back ear as he is getting ready to swing.
It is hard to argue with Braun's stance when you consider that he has been one of the best hitters in baseball for the past few seasons.
Dan Uggla had a very up-and-down season in 2011. He struggled at the plate for a while, and then he went on a hitting streak that lasted a little over a month.
One of the things that makes Uggla's swing unique is that it has a little bit of a hitch in it.
When Russell Martin comes to the plate, he keeps his back foot deep in the box, while his front foot is about as close to the front of home plate as it can get.
This unique approach helped Martin to a solid season in his first year with the New York Yankees.
During the beginning of Adam LaRoche's approach at the plate, it seems as if he is not too concerned with what is going on.
LaRoche just stands there, looking relaxed. He starts his swing once the pitcher enters his windup.
Prince Fielder's approach at the plate is incredibly intimidating to opposing pitchers.
When he is ready to swing, Fielder brings his front leg back, then taps it on the ground before moving it forward again.
The 2011 season was a breakout year for Curtis Granderson, as he proved to be one of the best outfielders in the major leagues.
Granderson's approach at the plate includes a toe-tap near the top of the batter's box.
It should come as no surprise that a player like David Eckstein has one of the more interesting stances in baseball, given the way that he plays the game.
Eckstein is the type of player that was going to find something that worked for him even if it was different than most other stances.
Johnny Damon cannot seem to stay in one place when he is at the plate. He is always moving some part of his body.
This is similar to his career after he left the Boston Red Sox, as the outfielder moved around from team to team.
Jack Cust is a true three-outcomes hitter. He strikes out, walks and hits home runs.
This has caused Cust to struggle to stay in the major leagues.
If he changed his stance, maybe Cust could find consistent success in the majors.
The way that Allen Craig waves his bat around in the batter's box is reminiscent of Gary Sheffield.
This approached worked for Sheffield, and it seems to be working for Craig thus far in his career.
It looks as if Brad Hawpe's leg kick would be much more fitting for a pitcher than a hitter.
This does make a bit of sense, as Hawpe was a pitcher when he was at Boswell High School in Texas.
Regardless of what he does at the plate for the rest of his career, many will remember Endy Chavez for his defense and "The Catch."
Chavez's hitting mechanics are different from almost anyone else in the major leagues.
It will be interesting to see if Ryan Howard's Achilles tendon surgery impacts his batting stance.
Howard has an open stance, and then he brings in his front foot. He is able to generate an incredible amount of power with his swing.
Bizarre is not the right word to describe Albert Pujols' swing. Unique seems like the better word to use.
Pujols' swing should not be unique for too long. Many people try to emulate the swing of one of the top hitters in the game.
Like many of the other players on this list, Bobby Abreu has found an approach that works for him and he has stuck with it.
Abreu has been in the majors since 1996 and has a number of 20/20 seasons.
When Mike MacDougal is on the mound, he puts his whole body into his pitches.
He does this to the extent that it looks like he may be able to do a tumblesault with little to no effort.
There is really not much to be said about Pat Neshek's pitching delivery.
The video speaks for itself, and it should be clear why he is on this list.
The Chicago White Sox are hoping that they can successfully convert Chris Sale into a starter this year.
His pitching delivery is something that is very deceiving to hitters the first time that they face him.
The New York Mets did not get exactly what they were hoping for when they signed D.J. Carrasco.
He has used his pitching delivery to fool hitters in the past, but that has not worked while he has been in New York.
Joey Devine's delivery is like that of many other pitchers in the majors except for one slight difference.
Devine does a little toe tap in the middle of his delivery, before he goes into his leg kick.
The different thing about Yu Darvish's pitching motion is that his back knee drops almost all the way to the ground as he begins to throw the ball to home plate.
Darvish is one of the best pitchers to come from Japan, and it should be interesting to see how he performs in the majors.
There aren't too many submarine pitchers in the major leagues; they are a rare commodity.
Brad Ziegler has been a solid submarine reliever in recent years.
There is something about Manny Ramirez's swing that makes it a bit different than a number of other players in the game.
It seems as if Ramirez has a certain amount of swagger when it comes to his swing.
The Cleveland Indians know that they can expect a lot out of Justin Masterson in 2012, following his great season last year.
Masterson has flourished with the Indians and looks like a solid young starter.
Brian Fuentes is a sidearm pitcher, which means that hitters need to adjust to his arm angle.
This gives Fuentes a bit of an advantage when he is facing hitters for the first time.
Peter Moylan, the Australian pitcher in the Atlanta Braves bullpen, has been outstanding over the past few years.
He is a sidearm pitcher, and he had a 10.8 K/9 rate in 2011.
Every time that Francisco Rodriguez unleashes a fastball toward home plate, it seems as if he will fall over.
Rodriguez puts his whole body behind every one of his pitches, and this momentum really carries him forward.
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