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Mike Killian on adjusting Spin Axis for Velocity Gains

Justin McGregor, senior at Oral Roberts University, recently arranged a Rapsodo Bullpen session with trainer Mike Killian of Elite Velocity, working out of Game Time Sports in Chesterfield Missouri. Killian is a long-time Rapsodo user and Rapsodo Affiliate Partner with a history in professional baseball and elite pitching training.

McGregor had been working with Elite Velocity previously, and had been sitting at 88-89mph fastball. In preparation for his senior season and the MLB draft, he has been dedicating himself to his trade, and has been working on increasing that velocity. Enter Rapsodo.

“What we noticed early on, on just the sixth pitch, was Justin hit 93.9, but then quickly fell back into the 88-89mph range with an occasional fastball touching 90,” says Killian.

“After analyzing the metrics from Rapsodo, we focused on the Spin Axis of his 4-seam fastballs. If you take 12:00 as a ball spinning with perfect vertical backspin, we noticed that with throws that touched or exceeded 90mph the Spin Axis were closer to 1:00.”

Killian then instructed Justin to drop his arm slot 1-2 inches lower, and within 2 throws Justin was immediately able to hit 91.3 on the radar. By adjusting Justin’s arm slot, his hand released the ball on a Spin Axis that was closer to 1:00.  Additionally, the personal feedback from Justin was positive as well; he said the throw felt much easier, less stressful and labor intensive.

“We then went back and every 4-seam that hit or exceeded 90mph was around 00:50 to 1:00 Spin Axis, while all 4-seam’s that were less than 90mph were sitting around 12:00 to 00:30 spin axis.”

According to Killian, “there would be no way, without the metrics from Rapsodo, that we would have been able to pick up the slight change in Spin Axis due to lowering his arm slot with just the naked eye. The use of the Rapsodo metrics also provided us with consistent accuracy so we could test the change in arm slot on a pitch by pitch basis, and arrive at the proper position for maximum velocity.”

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