Ronnie Morales: Former White Sox A LHP



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

 I was a normal lefty 3 quarter starter, or as normal as a lefty could be until my junior year of college. I had a real bad shoulder impingement and I refused surgery. So it was in the middle of the season and I started a rehab program. During that time I threw with our closer who was a transformed submarine pitcher. He went through something similar and told me to drop my arm and see if there was any pain when I threw.  So during my rehab I dropped sidearm at first, felt no pain, threw firm, had movement and fell in love. Right there my career changed and I jumped out of my comfort zone told my pitching coach and became a reliever the next day and went 3 up 3 down against Dallas Baptist, haha craziest thing ever! 

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

 Since I started sidearm I gradually dropped complete submarine and the last few years of my career I did both. So the advantages changed as I progressed and found a delivery that was repeatable. But the main constant was the deception I had against Lefties especially, but the run away I had VS righties. I think being a lefty side/sub guy was an advantage also because it was rare. Once I was able to toy with different grips and get the ball to elevate from a low angle it became more fun climbing the ladder from that angle. Hitters usually didn't like it. But if we don't repeat our delivery and then the ball flattens out it's usually neck aerobics the rest of the outing lol. 

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

That's always the great unknown for me. I think about that more now that I am not playing. I feel like if I would have continued with high 3/4 with no injury I would have done okay... but I don't know haha.  But what I can say is if I had two or three more years of sub/side under my belt, my career could may have had a more beneficial impact, but then again maybe not ????.  I solely base that off my body of work as I got stronger as the years went on and pitched my best my final 6th year. 

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

 My advice would be to first, make sure the decision is made in the most rational mind set and not on a temporary emotion. For example a few bad outings and now all of sudden you want to drop down. That's not going to cut it mentally as they move forward. Also, I think, in my opinion it's an art form to where it's not necessarily last resort but comes from what type of pitcher you were before.  I think lower 3/4 arm angle guys transition the best. I think it's for the late round college guy, or maybe a second or third year pro guy that's on the ropes. Either of these scenarios, dropping down to add deception and movement could help them in their careers. The exception to all of this for a kid that wants to start in high school, I would only endorse if he had instruction from someone who has done it before. Even though Side/Sub can protect your shoulder in some capacity, it does make other parts of the arm vulnerable for injury if not taught correctly. But I love it and would gladly help anyone making the switch! ????????

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

It's such a unique throwing motion from pitcher to pitcher. I went through about 6 deliveries before I settled on one the last 2-3 years of my career. After going through that, I would say primarily find the one that is easy to repeat, while being comfortable and effective. If you are repeating in your sleep then my biggest tip is to make sure your head is as still towards your target as possible, and finish!!! The head is vital, for as much as we move to drop down or throw sidearm we don't need to add any extra movement to our eyes than needed. If your head is quiet behind the baseball and you can see your target through our unorthodox delivery the better we will be with strikes. Throw strikes. I know it's a huge rhetorical duh, but we are no good at all without strikes. We need to present strikes with Pitches that criss cross the plate, i.e 2 seam and slider. Embrace being funky and go right at em'!

 6. What pitches did you throw?

From both side/sub delivery I had a 2 SEAM, 4 SEAM, CH, Slider. These all evolved and changed during my career like everyone. I was very fortunate to throw pretty firm for a side sub guy so I loved using my 2 seam and making my 4 seam elevate from a low angle. I ranged all over at the beginning while trying to figure out my approach, but once I figured it out.. Sidearm- FB 84-88 (touch 90), SL 79-82, CH 73-75
Submarine- FB 79-84 (touch 86), SL72-73, CH 69-72

7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

Everyone is different, I always stuck to my approach and that was to stick to my strengths and trusting my deception and defense. Lefties: Being that my career was designed to only face them haha, I went right at them. My goal was to make every lefty so uncomfortable but go right at them. I knew I was at the advantage 9 out of 10 and I tried not to get get cute with any Pitches. I simply went at them. 2 seam in, watch their feet. Then either go back there or slider. Like I said before I loved elevating my 4 seam in hitters counts because lefty or righty they try to see the ball up on us, so I give them that but from the angle for it to rise! It became an out pitch easily late in my career. Righties I really tried to pitch to contact with my 2 seam. I liked coming in on them for fire wood or Taylor made double plays.  Since I am a lefty They saw me a little longer so I had to be sure and get them out of there as soon as I could. I threw my CH to them and back door sliders were my favorite, unless I didn't finish then it's again more neck aerobics haha. 

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

My favorite thing was being able to throw every night. I was fortunate to set some appearance records in a few of the leagues I was in, not sure if they still stand lol. I prided myself on getting the ball every night or every other night during a whole season. I loved during BP the next day hearing the other teams lefties say I hope I don't come in the game later. I wouldn't admit it then but I can say now that was a pretty cool feeling. I miss warming up in the bullpens and people gasping when I throw my first pitch. They loved seeing something different and the kids always freaked out, it's like we were the clowns of the show but it was awesome. I miss it all man it was a lot of fun and I would not change any of it for the world.