Scottsdale Scorpions right-hander Patrick Lehman believes the mechanical adjustment recently implemented by pitching coach Paul Menhart is having a positive effect on his delivery.
“(Menhart) observed a bad habit coming from where my legs were positioned,” Lehman said. “I needed to throw in more of a downhill plane instead of a straight line. My focus was to stay tall and throw down more.”
He did not see the results instantly, but said sometimes it takes time for an adjustment to “take.”
“It is a work in progress,” Lehman said. “I have been working on it for an outing or two. But now, I feel like I am picking it up really quickly.”
The results were more tangible Saturday. Lehman tossed a scoreless inning against Salt River, striking out a pair of batters and allowing no hits and no runs. He said that was the first game in which the result was a good one following the mechanical change.
“I noticed myself (that I needed to adjust something),” Lehman said. “I never really second-guessed myself. When (Menhart) suggested adjusting my mechanics, I trusted him and knew it was in my best interest.”
Lehman (0-3) has made seven appearances in Arizona, pitching 8 2/3 innings with nine strikeouts and just two walks. He showed tremendous control during the regular season as well, with 45 strikeouts and only four free passes.
“I have really enjoyed the opportunity a ton,” Lehman said. “I am working alongside top pitching prospects. Getting a chance to face the best hitters in the minors is a real honor.”
Lehman said sitting next to some of those top prospects in the bullpen is always interesting when they talk pitching and work on in-game situations.
“I do talk to the other pitchers and we compare (styles) and (pitching) mechanics,” Lehman said. “But I try not to overanalyze it. I don’t want to change that much.”
Lehman has been throwing his two-seam fastball from 89 to 92 mph, and has hit 93 and 94 mph. He also is throwing his changeup and has been working on his slider.
“I am trying to work on making the slider a tighter breaking pitch,” Lehman said. “It is the pitch Menhart and I have been concentrating on.”
It has also been very beneficial to have Derek Norris to catch Lehman in Arizona. Not every pitcher for Scottsdale is afforded that luxury with only three catchers on the roster.
“I use it to my advantage,” Lehman said. “He knows me as a pitcher compared to another catcher. It is great to have him on the team.”
The George Washington product has said pitching in the AFL has been a “great experience” and will “benefit a lot in the long run”. Lehman said he expects to visit the D.C. area sometime during the offseason and then prepare for spring training.