Justin Cicatello: RHP Italian National Team 2013 WBC


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

I dropped down during my junior year of college. I was an infielder my first 3 years of college, and always threw from different arm angles. One day at practice, while playing second base, I dropped way down to turn a double play and my coach asked if I ever threw off the mound like that. I had always played around with it, because at my juco we had a couple submarine guys and I thought I could pitch that way as well. So then we tried it on the mound. My junior year I got only about 6 innings, but my senior year I converted to a full time pitcher.


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

The biggest advantage was just being different, and the fact that none of the pitches went straight. I was always competing with guys who were throwing in the 90's which wasn't me, but the fact that I was always getting movement allowed me to compete with those guys, even though I wasn't throwing as hard.

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

I definitely do not think my baseball career would have lasted as long as it did had I not become a sidearm/submarine pitcher. Like I said before, it made me different, and allows me to still play today.

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

I don't think dropping down is for everyone. It has to feel natural for them. But if someone is looking for a way to extend their career or come up with something different I definitely think it is a route to take. But it does have to be a natural transition. I do not think it can be forced.

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

As far as mechanics, I found that other than the arm angle, most mechanics must be the same as a guy who throws overhand. The release point must be the same and consistent and out in front. I found when I had control problems it was because I became too rotational and came around the ball. When I stayed behind it and came through it is when I was most effective.


6. What pitches did you throw?

I threw about 90% two seam fastballs. I also threw a slider change and every once and a while I would mix in an overhand four seam fastball. My two seamer was my go to pitch, but when my slider was working (which wasn't always) was when I was most effective, but most days I could survive solely on the fastball.

7. How did you pitch to lefties/righties?

I pitch righties almost exclusively with inside fastballs and sliders. I liked to challenge righties and force them to hit my best pitch, the two seamer. And my strikeout pitch for rightites was the slider. I rarely if ever threw a change to righties. It was baseically fast slider. For lefties I had to mix it up more. Inside and outside fastballs, changes and sliders. Righties were always a breathe of fresh air to see in the batters box, while lefties were tougher, however as I got more expeience on the mound I became more comfortable pitching to lefties. Being able to work both sides of the plate to the was crucial for me, as well as developing my changeup.


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

  My favorite part about pitching sidearm was being different. Every time I wasw on the mound people noticed, and usually recognized me after games. It was pretty cool. And also I enjoyed leading the league in ground ball percentage. Having that sinker and working it on righties was an easy way to get ground balls. I wasn't a big strikeout guy, but was always leading in ground balls.