DENVER— Soon-to-be 25-year-old Colorado Rockies left-hander Kyle Freeland had a marvelous rookie season in 2017. Pitching in the park he occupied as a boy, he donned the uniform of his idol. That in itself is a heck of an accomplishment.
He outdid that, pitching in many big games for the Rockies and creating special moments along the way. Freeland ended 11-11 with a 4.10 ERA, a very solid mark for a freshman. His ERA+ of 121 over 156 innings starts to really hint at just how good he was in 2017.
A few times during the season, Freeland got fatigued or slowed down just a tad. Many rookies go through that and make adjustments so they can better handle the 162-game MLB slate.
In-between seeing a Migos concert, playing golf and spending time with his adorable dog(s… there’s now two!), Freeland went to work this past winter. Specifically, he made a few small mechanical tweaks.
“This past offseason, myself and Darryl Scott (Rockies pitching coordinator) started doing dry drills off the mound,” Freeland told Rox Pile. “We came up with a plan for me to stay directional and keep my line down the mound with having a strong front side.”
You can actually see this in his left leg. The framing is different in these two photos but you will find that his left leg is actually higher in the picture on the left, which is from this season. His arm is also a bit higher as a result.
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“It’s allowed me to hold the load on my back leg longer and drive down the mound rather than (Clayton) Kershaw, where he goes up down and out (drop and drive)” he said. “That was making me getting rotational in many aspects so we created a mechanical way for me to keep that good direction.”
The Rockies and Freeland worked together to make the change.
“It was to keep the same arm angle but it’s an increased durability big time because there is less stress on my arm and body,” the lefty said. “I was able to feel that during spring training. Last year, I was super tired and sore after starts. I’m coming out of starts (now) stronger and feeling better.”
The data points of his release actually show he’s kept the same arm angle if not improved it a bit.
You might be saying, “But there are two different sets of data points about two feet apart?”
You are right. On the closer side to a net neutral delivery is this year. That’s because he changed something else.