Long tossing is something of a hot-button issue in Major League Baseball. Some teams and players swear by it, others eschew it. So contentious is the long toss issue that it became a significant sticking point during the most recent amateur draft, as eventual high picks Trevor Bauer and Dylan Bundy told teams that forbid long toss not to bother drafting them. They’re not changing for nobody, man.
Bauer eventually went as the third overall pick to the Arizona Diamondbacks, who happily let the young righty continue tossing from in upwards of 300 feet. Ahead of his first Spring Training start yesterday, Bauer went into his long toss routine as per usual. Turns out watching a guy throw a baseball 350 feet tends to draw a crowd.
Trevor Bauer throwing long toss from right field to his catcher, who is standing on the left field foul line twitter.com/keithlaw/statu…
— keithlaw (@keithlaw) March 3, 2012
Keith Law has the “taken from a mile away” twitpic (from the press box, the only spot he could gain this perspective, to be fair), Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic has the play-by-play:
But within 10 minutes, it was anything but. Bauer had backed up to near the fence in right-center field, where he was simulating his pitching motion from the stretch before uncorking a high-arching throw to Blanco, who remained along the left field line.
No big deal, just heaving a baseball halfway across the Earth. But wait, Bauer wasn’t finished.
Then, Bauer began to drift farther and farther toward the right-field foul pole, eventually needing to crow-hop to launch his throws, which got to Blanco on the fly nearly every time.
By this point, his teammates had turned their attention toward him, staring as though they’d never seen anything like it. Most likely, they hadn’t. Even the Colorado Rockies players warming up along the right-field line had stopped what they were doing. Just about every player for both teams was watching.
As far as the pitching went, Bauer did just fine in his two innings. But the crazy long toss was all anybody wanted to talk about.
“I was a little shorter today than I normally am, but it’s early in the spring. Today, probably 360 (feet), something like that. A lot of times I’ll get out to about 400 on game day, but it’s early in spring.”
Bauer is a client of something called Jaeger Sports, a high-performance training company that boasts quite the lineup of Major Leaguers in its roster. Here is video of former Diamondback and Jaeger client Dan Haren doing his long toss from last spring.
So we agree: long toss is awesome. Maybe they should just call it that – awesome toss. Without knowing much (read: anything) about physiology, it seems to me that the ability to throw the ball 300 feet with minimal effort bodes well for those seeking to throw the ball from 60 feet with extreme prejudice.
The Texas Rangers made headlines and attracted praise for their emphasis on long toss and, in the short term, the results back them up. It will be interesting to see how many teams steadfastly cling to their 120 foot max as consensus shifts to a pro-awesome toss stance.
Either way, this is the kind of show it is worth arriving early at the ballpark to catch. Spring Training: not entirely useless after all!