Updated: Dec 2, 2021
One of the most fun aspects of baseball is the study of analytical measures. Larry does it better than most, so I write this with a much more subjective tone. I enjoy the challenge of observing players and seeing if I can help identify something that makes them better. Larry and I go back and forth a lot during games, and we are constantly pondering the future of the Astros. It’s because of the love for this team and the desire to see them remain a notable force in MLB for the foreseeable future that motivates Larry’s work, and my desire to be a part of it.
With all that said, let’s talk about Peter Solomon…
Larry and I talked about Peter Solomon quite a bit during the season and postseason. Although we are deep into another playoff run, our vision extends to the future of the Astros. So, I took a deeper look at Solomon, watching some film, and want to share my thoughts with fellow fans.
First, we need to understand the level experience Peter Solomon has at the professional level. He’s thrown 112 innings in 2021, and maybe just as many since be drafted in 2017 to 2021. He’s a raw talent, and with that comes a learning curve mechanically. Solomon has a very solid fastball, curveball, and slider. His curveball is a great weapon against left-handed hitters, and his slider the same to right-handed hitters. His velocity on the fastball (91-95mph) is not going to overwhelm a hitter, unless it is sequenced correctly in an at-bat.
Pitching is a motion. It is full of positions and the timing for each position of the body throughout the delivery. It is very similar to the golf swing, as pitchers need to drive into their front side, and rotate around their front hip to deliver a pitch. The rotational aspect of the pitching mechanics is very intricate. My hope is that Solomon continues to progress and utilizes his glove side to stabilize his delivery would help him. This may involve developing better rotational stability in his left hip or changing the sensation regarding planting his lead foot.
As I watch Solomon, I return to the idea that he needs to be better into his front side. He plants firmly into his heel of his left foot when striding towards the plate. However, his foot can be very active, and I believe that can cause the erratic pitching sequence. There are so many instances his foot is planted and realigns once he’s delivered a pitch. For reference, I watched film of Justin Verlander review this point. Verlander is one of the best in terms of planting with my lead foot, rotating around his front him and maintaining that contact and pressure with the group. Solomon and Verlander are similar in height, but I like Verlander as a great example of this because he’s so good at the transition and getting into his lead side.
Secondly, Larry and I talked about pitch selection. Numbers support this theory way more than a subjective opinion. I would ask Solomon to scrap the change-up until he’s developed the three-pitch sequence of fastball-curveball-slider. I personally believe that Solomon may benefit from using sliders against RHHs and curveballs against LHHs. Much like Lance McCullers, Jr. has done with his pitch development.
Lastly, this is the most opinionated point of this article. I would love to have Solomon set up and deliver from the far left of the mound. This would open the right side of the plate and allow him to throw from that side. His curveball and slider have great action, and I believe opening the plate from the left side of the rubber would give him room to break his pitches around the outer half on LHHs and create the depth of the slider away when facing RHHs.
I’m a huge optimist for Peter Solomon. He has great stuff and can generate the soft contact that fits the major league level. I believe the adjustments are minimal, but necessary for Solomon to tap into the next level of his ability.
Thanks for reading!
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