Calloni’s Corner: Submarine Style Pitching


Josh Calloni, Reporter

In baseball, pitchers have varying wind ups, one specifically is the submarine style pitcher, but do these pitchers have an edge on their competition?

The submarine style of pitching is very unique. The pitcher starts lower than normal, and will release the ball at an upward angle, instead of a traditional downward. This usually takes away velocity, but adds more spin to their pitches.

The practice is been diminished in baseball over the last few years, but a few pitchers have kept up their sidewinder motion. One of those is former Cardinal reliever Pat Neshek. Over the last five seasons, Neshek has had a 2.35 ERA, and has pitched in over 300 games, a large sample size. With that, Neshek’s career ERA over his 13 years in the majors is 2.74.

Astros reliever Joe Smith has another impressive and long track record with his submarine windup. Over 12 years in the majors, Smith has seen action in 754 games, and has had a 3.02 ERA, which is very good for a reliever. Smith has compiled a FIP of 3.56 over that time as well.

Finally, Orioles righty Mychal Givens has shown nicely over his five year career. He carries a 3.16 career ERA, and while his windup is not as low as the other two, he does get down rather for to decept hitters.

While Smith, Givens and Neshek do look very good and are seemingly difficult for hitters to read, it does not happen to be the case for all submarine style pitchers. Japanese righty Kazuhisa Makita struggled in 2018, his only year in the big leagues. Over 27 games, he pitched to a 5.40 ERA, and was soon outrighted to the minor leagues, and has not returned since. Twins righty Trevor Hildenberger is very similar; he has pitched 124 career games and has a 4.52 career ERA.

However, while there are some definite outliers for both sides, there is also a very good medium. Relievers like Jake Diekman, Steve Cishek, Darren O’Day, Peter Moylan, Alex Claudio and Donnie Hart have all pitched to ERA’s under 3.50 in their career, and have done so with very good longevity.

Submarine style pitching does not necessarily guarantee a pitchers major league success, but, it seems as if there is somewhat of an edge on pitchers that do so, against pitchers who do not.