Bryan Gale: Former RHP Blue Jays minor leaguer, current Brewers scout


1. Could you tell us your story on dropping down?

When I was in 7th grade I watched two sidearm pitchers in my high school (Craig Rose/Jake Horvath) have a ton of success with very ordinary arm strength.   Those guys put the idea in my head, from there I set out to master it.  My initial practice came while playing Wiffle ball because it helped me find release points, especially on breaking balls.   I would treat Wiffle balls like a baseballs, snapping off the SL, rolling over the CH, etc.   I believe this is what gave me the pinpoint command of my secondary.   Commanding a Wiffle ball is actually very challenging and it teaches you how to add/subtract, manipulate arm angles and release points.    I never went exclusively SA because I was a SP throughout my high school and college career so I followed more of a Brian Lawrence/SDP path where I’d manipulate arm slots from (H3/4 to Sub and anywhere in between).    I went exclusively sidearm while pitching as a reliever in pro ball with the Blue Jays. 


2. What are some of the advantages you had from your arm angle?

At an early age it was a huge advantage because it was foreign to hitters, unique slot, unique movement.  As I started pitching at higher levels it wasn’t as uncommon.   My advantage was my ability to expand the plate with movement. 


3. If you didn't drop down, do you think you would have had the same success?

Very doubtful, a pitcher throwing low 80s in college and pro ball must do more than just command, they must also deceive. Changing arm slot was my way of deceiving.


4. What would you tell someone debating on changing their arm angle?

It should be considered more of a last resort than a meal ticket.   A young pitcher must understand that it’s very challenging to get recruited or drafted out of High School pitching exclusively sidearm.   If you’ve hit the point in your career where you can no longer sustain success with a conventional arm slot that’s when you should start to experiment


5. Are there any mechanical tips that you'd give to someone throwing sidearm/submarine?

The hardest thing for a new sidearmer is spinning the breaking ball.   What helped me the most was cupping the wrist during the arm swing.   This isn’t necessarily something a pitcher should maintain but at the beginning of every season I would exaggerate the wrist cup until I found the feel.    Aside from that I wasn’t a huge mechanical guy.   Throwing sidearm is more about flexibility and experimentation.


6. What pitches did you throw?

I threw 2 and 4 seam FB, CHG, SL, CV.   Although sink/run is the staple for any sidearmer, I liked to mix in 4 seamers when I wanted to elevate or hold location on the inner half.   SL was my go to but I always kept the CV in my back pocket when I felt a change of pace was in order.


7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

RHH: Generally I would use my FB to expand the edges with movement and sink followed by a heavy diet of SL’s.
LHHS: FB’s away to force hitters to expand. If they were patient I would attempt to get back into counts with SL and CHG. Generally, if they wouldn’t bite on my pitch I’d pitch around rather than give in.


8. Lastly what was your favorite part about pitching from down there?

It felt great to frustrate great fastball hitters that didn’t have the ability to wait back.  

9. Now that you are a scout, what do MLB teams look for in a sidearm/submarine pitcher?

Command of fastball movement will always be an important skill.  However, a sidearm pitcher that doesn’t have the ability to get ahead and finish with their SL will struggle to find Major League success.   The game has become very specialized and most of the time a sidearmer is going to be in a situational role to face 1 maybe 2 hitters, he better have the ability to keep hitters guessing.