Hoby Milner: LHP Phillies/Rays



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

I pitched conventionally my first 3 seasons in pro ball with some pretty good numbers but my stuff was getting worse, velocity was closer to 86-88 than my usual 88-91, not much movement and average off speed pitches but I located pretty well.  After my first full season in AA, in which I had started the Eastern League all star game, I led the league in homeruns allowed with 25. The next season I started the year in the bullpen and my stuff was still not spectacular so one day our pitching coordinator Rafael Chavez is in town watching us run through some PFP and he sees me throwing balls sidearm to first and for pick offs. He tells me he thinks I can pitch sidearm and that he thinks it would give me a better shot to make it to the big leagues. I take a week to throw bullpens from a new uncomfortable arm angle and jumped right back into games throwing sidearm and had some pretty decent success the rest of the season.  It wasn't until after trying a submarine arm action did I find my current comfortable sidearm delivery.  

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

  Advantages would be my ball moves way more than it used to and there's a lot more deception, I also feel like getting the ball to the bottom of the zone is easier sidearm.

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

I do not think I would have had the same success as I've had without dropping down. I get away with pitches located in spots I used to get destroyed throwing to conventionally.

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

I would tell someone considering changing their arm angle to just make sure that you understand how big of an adjustment it is and that it won't be perfected over night. It's taken me basically 2 seasons and I still have a lot of work to do. 

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

Mechanically, I'd say just do what feels comfortable. Try to understand how the ball is supposed to spin with your mechanics. Just because you drop your arm slot doesn't mean your wrist is letting you side spin the ball to let it run or sink.

6. What pitches do you throw?

I throw a 4 seam fastball between 87-91 mph, a change up 80-82, and a 10-4 spike curveball at 74-78.

7. How do you pitch to lefties/righties?

The way I pitch to hitters is constantly changing. It all depends on the hitter and what I have working that day.

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

My favorite part about throwing sidearm is how good it feels out of my hand and watching it make it's way to the glove from a whole new perspective.