Stephen Strasburg will start for the Washington Nationals on Opening Day. It's great to see the young pitching phenom back from injury and Tommy John surgery. But will he be able to last an entire season? The Nats have said they will limit his innings to help protect his arm and try to make that happen. One might hope that his mechanics - which have been analyzed before in great detail because of his "inverted W" and the stress it can put on his arm - would have been adjusted some during his rehab period.
But check out this follow-up MLB Network Diamond Demo where Al Leiter shows us how Strasburg's mechanics are unchanged. As a youth coach, the phrase that jumps out at me is: "It's not easy - he's been throwing like that since he was 10 years old." And he's right - the older they get, the harder it is to change a player's mechanics. The muscle memory is more ingrained and less willing to adjust. That's why it's important to teach correct mechanics at a young age. Don't save the instruction for later. By the time that special player gets through high school, the damage may already be done and it will be harder to fix.