We've heard a lot about Homer Bailey's improved mechanics, and the evidence is definitely there in the results that we saw during the season. Bailey chalks a lot of the improvement up to work that he did with Skip Johnson, pitching coach with the University of Texas:
"So I went for one bullpen (session) and he was telling me try this and try that," said Bailey, who tossed eight scoreless innings Friday, Aug. 28, in beating the Dodgers. "The whole time I’m kind of like, ‘All right, Homer, keep doing it. It feels funny and it feels different.’ So he told me to come back in a couple of days and throw another bullpen.
"And he gave me some drills to do at home before I went back and I kept doing them," Bailey continued. "I went back for the next bullpen and the ball just jumped out of my hand and I just stared at it. I threw three pitches and said to myself, ‘It’s back.’ "
Bailey was regularly hitting above 95 on the radar gun this past season, something that we really haven't seen him do in the big leagues prior to this season. Having that speed has definitely allowed him to pitch more freely and confidently, and I think that is why we saw such good results from him during the last 2 months of the season.
But what has changed about Bailey's mechanics? Alex Eisenberg at Baseball-Intellect.com has taken a stab at trying to see what is different for Bailey this season compared to 2008. The key, he says, is tempo. After the jump, I've posted two pictures from Eisenberg's post comparing Bailey's tempo from 2008 to 2009. I'm no expert in pitching mechanics, so I have a hard time truly differentiating what is important and what is circumstantial, but I think what Eisenberg points out seems reasonable. I encourage you to read the article and see if you notice anything different than what it points out.