Adam Housley: Former AA RHP Tigers, Brewers


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


I have always thrown sidearm. To be specific, I have always thrown from just about every angle and felt completely comfortable. When I was little coaches encouraged and pushed me to throw over the top to save my arm, but I would still mix-in pitches from all angles. I was recruited that way, but over the top was my best. I threw very hard as a 16 year old in the 80's, but coaching was different then...I began using a split finger as my change up instead of a circle....and while it was arm speed began to slow and my pitches slowed as well.....I think while I never had an operation...this was a big mistake and slowed the strength and growth of my arm and arm speed at that age.
I was recruited by a number of schools and settled on Pepperdine as a recruited walk-on. Yep...I went to a school with no scholarship offer and turned down scholarship offers to do so. Best decision I ever made. Coach Andy Lopez and my teammates and Pepperdine in general was an amazing experience. It was here I became full-time down under. We originally had a pitching coach my first year who insisted only over the top...he said I wouldn't be able to find arm slots if I moved around. I redshirted that year. He was gone year 2 and when I was struggling a bit one outing during an intersquad game, I dropped sidearm and struck a guy out.
My head coach Andy Lopez stopped the game and asked me if I could throw that way and if I always had. I explained I always threw from all angles and it was one of my advantages. He said...stick with sidearm for now. After a week....and I threw mid to upper 80's...he was worried my elbow or shoulder would give in. So we went lower to 3/4 down. At that angle I ranged from 80-84 and had significant movement. By the end of the season I travelled for the NCAA playoffs and then that summer as a reshirt freshman I pitched for Eston. There I was 100% 3/4 down...and was a starting pitcher! The idea was to get as many innings as possible. I had a very good summer and threw the first no hitter in the Saskatchewan Major Baseball League in years against Swift Current. It was a 1-0 win and I drove-in the one run. :) I think I struck out 10 and walked one. Pitchers can hit you know, especially sidearmers!


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

Clearly right handers had an issue. I did pretty well against lefties also...but not nearly as well as against righties. It really allowed me to hide the ball. Specifically I was 3/4's down and my slider, when working well....would kinda hang out there and then dart across the plate.


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

 I do think I could have still had some significant success if I had stayed over the top. However knowing what I know now, I think my best success would have been continuing to throw from all angles. Not many guys can do that and stay under control....I was lucky that it didn't bother me, or finding the new arm slot. It's a unique way of pitching not many guys use these days because they have control or comfort problems. 

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

 Don't be afraid. Do what makes you the most comfortable and gives you the most control and movement. 

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

 I have a ton....too many to list. I will say bowling helps. It gave me good mechanics...with my back foot releasing in a very similar fashion. Also...don't get too far under the ball...stay behind it and let it roll so you get the sink. On the slider, get the wrist on the side so it doesn't become a spinner and on the change up, really turn it over so it dives and doesn't hang. 

6. What pitches did you throw?

Two seem and four seam fastballs...change up and slider.

7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

Generally with righties I painted the 5 spot...which is low and away in the zone early in the count. I would then bust the inside later in the count and try to get the ball to dive-in on their hands. Sliders I would start with a get it over middle down pitch and then gradually bait them further and further off of the plate. Rarely threw a change to a righty.
Lefties really depended on the hitter. I would usually try and stay away and middle down with fastballs and change-ups. Slider would be middle-in and try to get the ball in on their hands, especially with a late break. In pro baseball once in a while I would come over the top as a strikeout pitch to lefties....which freaked a few out. Especially because I was in the high 80's. Really changed their eye level.

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

 Being unique and making guys look silly...and being able to throw almost every day.