Alex Eisenberg over at Baseball Intellect has been churning out prospect reviews all off-season, and his Rays lists include some nifty information. While the lists themselves look similar to most prospect lists for the Rays, Alex includes a write-up on each player that focuses on mechanics and biometrics. We don't get too involved in mechanics here, but that's only because I have no idea what I'm talking about; scouting is a very important part of evaluating players, especially prospects.
The full reports are behind a paywall, but you can find his write-up on Jeremy Hellickson in front of the wall. Interestingly enough, Alex compares Hellickson's mechanics to the same player R.J. Anderson has been comparing Hellickson to: James Shields.
While I'm not a giant fan of Hellickson's mechanics, I do really like his arm action. It's a very loose and fluid action and he achieves good whip as he rotates into release. His delivery actually reminds me of fellow Rays pitcher James Shields.
[see original post for side-by-side GIF]
There are a couple of important differences to take note of. The first is that Shields has a little more bend in his back leg, while Hellickson is taller and almost appears to be leaning over in the first base direction. The other big difference is the hip turn Shields uses to garner a little extra torque and a little more rhythm to his wind-up. Shields was not using this hip turn as dramatically a couple of years ago as he is now. It's a common adjustment that pitchers make (Brandon Morrow is another example) and I wouldn't be surprised if Hellickson makes a similar kind of adjustment down the line.
Below the jump, I'll include a couple excerpts from the articles on Matt Moore and Chris Archer. These are only small clippings, so you'll have to check out their site for more, but I think they provide some interesting analysis.
His biggest weakness other than his command and control is actually his propensity to post miserable Aprils and Mays. Last year, just like in 2009, Moore could not throw strikes until June, which is when he became locked in. This is why it is so difficult to evaluate Moore's control and command. He's proven he can throw strikes over a prolonged period of time, but are his slow starts fixable or are they just a part of who he is?
Moore's command and control problems are in large part mechanics-related. He doesn't possess the most athletic and fluid delivery in the world, and he will get out of sync as a result. There are occasional timing problems between his arm action and when his front foot lands that impedes his ability to throw strikes.
Archer's mechanics are not quite as athletic and compact as I'd like to see and the way he breaks his hands - in a non-rhythmic fashion - can lead to some inconsistency. However, I love the way he finishes his pitches. He finishes his pitches with plenty of intent and employs a late body rotation, which makes it difficult for hitters to pick up his release point. He gets excellent extension out in front, giving hitters less time to react to his pitches, which gives his pitches a sneaky quality to them.
The way he buries his head at release may be something he can work on stabilizing a bit to help his control. However, I can see that head movement as something that really gears up hitters for something hard, making it easier to fool them with something off-speed. The high 3/4 arm slot works well for Archer's repertoire as well. The fastball and slider come from the same slot and travel on the same trajectory, making it a nightmare for hitters who try to tell the two pitches apart.
[see post for animated GIF]