Looking to the future, Coffey makes changes in his mechanics

About a week ago, I published a story here on O's pitching prospect Cameron Coffey.

He was drafted in round 22 last June, then signed a nearly one million dollar bonus in August with the Orioles. This, even after he underwent Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery last March.

During a recent phone conversation with the 19-year-old lefty, I could tell he was a real intelligent young man that is taking his career seriously.

He spoke of re-tooling and changing his pitching mechanics in an effort to avoid future injuries. He has made changes to his stride, arm slot and leg swing.

Here are Coffey's comments on those changes:

"I've changed my mechanics quite a bit. People say your mechanics can determine the health of your arm. I looked at a lot of video of healthy pitchers vs. injured pitchers.

"I tried to remold my mechanics to mirror pitchers who have had long and healthy careers. The coaching staff has backed me up on that and feels this is good for my arm.

"We have shortened my stride about four inches which will help me to use my legs a little more and take some stress off my arm. I should come back a healthy pitcher and one that is stronger and more durable. One that one day can pitch 200 innings in the Major Leagues.

"The mechanics I changed were more the way I draw my arm from my glove up to a pitching position. Before, when I pulled the ball from my glove my elbow would be above my shoulder. That put stress on the elbow and shoulder.

"Now I lead more with the ball and take my arm more toward second base and my elbow never gets above my shoulder. That keeps a lot of the stress off the shoulder. Throwing a baseball is such an unnatural motion to begin with.

"I was the one who decided to make these changes. I don't want another Tommy John surgery. I discovered that the success rate for a second surgery is around 10 percent where that rate is around 90 percent after the first surgery.

"I don't want to be a guy whose career is determined by health. If I don't make the Majors I want it to be that I am not good enough. I took the initiative and starting looking at my mechanics. I was doing a lot of things that were bad for the elbow.

"If you saw me throw before and now, you would still know it's me, just now it looks a lot cleaner."

Baseball America recently released its list of the top 100 prospects in baseball. Four Orioles made the list with Brian Matusz rated 5th, Josh Bell 37th, Zach Britton 63rd and Jake Arrieta 99th.

We now know that other O's got votes to make the top 100.

In a story on its website, Baseball America's Jim Callis said the four staff members that selected the top 100 began the process by each submitting their list of the top 150 prospects.

Three O's got votes for those top 150 lists, but in the end, did not make the top 100. Pitcher Matt Hobgood was listed by three of the staff members on their orginal rankings and was rated as high as 63rd.

Brandon Snyder and Brandon Erbe also were among the top 150 on some lists but didn't make the final list of the top 100.

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