Steve Langone: Former AAA RHP Dodgers- Current Red Sox scout



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

My older cousin Sam, who pitched at Babson College, first put the bug in my ear about dropping down when I was 16.  He would drop down on occasion, and had success doing it, especially vs. RHH's.  I started to incorporate it into my repertoire during the summer of my junior year in high school.  


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

When I dropped down, it gave me an advantage vs. RHH's, as my breaking ball became wider and rode away from RHH's barrels. I would get RHH's to swing at breaking balls that ended up in the middle of the LH batter's box! I also felt like I could elevate better from the sidearm angle, as I could climb the ball above the zone & get swings/chases.


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

I don't think I would have had the same success if I did not drop down.  I was not a hard thrower & I needed something other than what I had to extend my career into professional baseball.  I was young when I started to drop down, but I do wish I had started to do it even earlier.


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

I would certainly recommend any pitcher who has plateaued a bit in their career to give it a shot.  Hitters don't like to face sidearmers, since there aren't many of them.  Breaking balls that sweep away from hitters can really get some ugly swings. Having success as a sidearmer can also be the quickest path to the Major Leagues (look up the names Joe Smith, Cla Merideth, Darren O'Day, Steve Schmoll).


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

Mechanically, you have to keep your front hip in line with the target.  Your upper body is bending toward 3rd base, but keeping your lower half in line with the target is key to maintaining command and getting some velocity on the pitch.

6. What pitches did you throw?

From the sidearm angle, I threw a 4-seam FB, a 2-seam FB, and a sweeping breaking ball.  I was only 85-88mph, but I could command the gloveside well (outside corner to RHH's).  That was key for me.  For pitchers that get a lot of sink/run on their pitches, running that 2-seam to the armside is also very important.  I didn't have much movement to mine, so I focused on gloveside command. 

7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

 I would mainly drop down to RHH's.  LHH's get a good look at the sidearm pitch from RHH's. Very rarely did I drop down to LHH's.  I would tend to stay away from RHH's until they made an adjustment. I'd look to get ahead to the outside corner, and then expand once ahead in the count.

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

My favorite part of dropping down sidearm was the poor swings that I would get on breaking balls.  To the batter, the sweepy breaking ball looks like a strike for a long time, due to pitching from the 3B side of the rubber.  However, as the hitter starts to swing, the ball keeps sweeping away from the barrel and it's too late to hold up.  Also, I used to love sneaking a fastball by hitters that were expecting the sweeping breaking ball. 

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

I look for pitchers that can command the gloveside edge for strikes, as well as expand the zone with their breaking ball.  Also, if the pitcher can run a sinking/running 2-seamer Inside on batters, that makes them even more effective.  Late sink is also a very important factor, as that tends to induce ground balls and double plays.  But being able to command is very important, as working ahead in the count forces hitters to expand their zone & chase pitches out of the strike zone.