Brett Gray: Former AA RHP Reds - Team Canada




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

 I started dropping down my Junior year of college.  I was struggling a bit and figured I needed to add something to my arsenal.  I started experimenting with both fastball and breaking ball from the side, and within that season it became something I went to roughly 15-20% of the time.  I would only use it against righties, but it added a completely different wrinkle and kept hitters off balance.  I remained mainly over the top for my whole career, but would say the 15-20% remained throughout.  I cant remember a game I didn't drop down at some point - some games more then others depending on my stuff that day.  


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

Dropping down gave me a whole new set of pitches.  Because I was predominantly over the top, my sidearm pitches never let hitters get comfortable (righties).  I used both fastball and slider from the side, giving me more opportunity to keep hitters guessing and off balance. 

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

No, dropping down gave me a whole new game plan, and allowed my stuff from over the top to become more effective as well.  Because I was never over powering (88-92), I needed to be able to rely on my off speed and arm angles to keep hitters off balance.  I was a strike thrower from both angles, so would not hesitate to throw from either angle, in any count, any pitch.  I don't regret not dropping down earlier no, as pitching is such a long journey to figure out who you are and how you are going to get guys out.  I think my process worked out well, as it takes time to figure who you are. 

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

 I don't hesitate to work with pitchers on different arm angles.  Things have changed so much over the years teaching wise, that there are no hard and fast rules as to where you have to throw from anymore.  I think it has to be comfortable, and each individual pitcher is different, so I don't ever try to make 2 guys the same.  if the slot works, and the mechanics match and are solid, I don't have an issue with a pitcher experimenting.


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

For me it was my front side.  When we drop down the natural tendency is to fly open.  I always concentrated on my front side staying closed and on line as long as possible allowing me to get my arm out front and create movement - and obviously allowing me to locate.  

6. What pitches did you throw?

 I learned to pitch "backwards" and did so until my career ended with Cincinnati in AA.  Over the top I was:  fastball, sinker, curveball, split - and from the side:  fastball (sinker action) and slider.  I messed around with a cutter over the top as well, but could never polish it.  My velocity was generally 88-92.

  7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

  Because I was again 75-80% over the top I very rarely dropped down to lefties.  I would work them mainly with sinker, split and show the other pitches - trying to locate.  To righties I was mostly FB, sinker, CB - and would drop down at anytime, again trying to keep the hitter "uncomfortable"


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

The best thing about throwing from the side was adding to my arsenal of pitches.  It put 2 more pitches in the hitters head, and didn't let them sit on 1 or 2 pitches.  Favourite part - the odd time you could completely paralyze a RH hitter who wasn't looking for you to drop down.  Didn't happen all the time, but was fun when it did.