Dodgers News: Josh Sborz Benefitting From Changing Arm Slot
Josh Sborz, 2020 Spring Training
Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Dodgers have developed young players better just about any organization in recent years, most notably pitching prospects.

One arm who they are grooming to be a member of their bullpen for years to come is Josh Sborz, who they drafted in the second round in 2015. Sborz made his MLB debut in 2019, often going back and forth between the big leagues and Triple-A Oklahoma City.

The same can be said for this year, although with no Minor League season being played, Sborz has been back and forth between the Dodgers and their alternate training site at USC.

The righty has only appeared in one game, tossing a scoreless inning against the San Francisco Giants on Aug. 27. He has stayed ready whenever needed though and will likely make more appearances to finish out the regular season since the Dodgers are already close to clinching a postseason berth.

When he does take the mound, Sborz revealed he is throwing from an arm slot that changed from his professional career. “During quarantine, I lowered my arm slot because I sort of lacked command,” Sborz explained.

“When I missed, it was a big miss. It was a 45-foot spiked fastball. Just lowering the arm slot kind of made my command go up. Also, another benefit was my elbow and shoulder pain has been real limited this year, which has been great. Being healthy so that every day I can get better and keep attacking.”

Sborz has dealt with both elbow and shoulder issues in the past, but he has been healthy since making the change. “Once I lowered the slot, I really haven’t had any issues. It’s been nice waking up every day and feeling healthy,” he said.

Sborz credited Dodgers assistant pitching coach Connor McGuiness for helping him make the change. “He just put that out there one time, because I had been playing catch with (Dennis) Santana and obviously he’s a little lower arm slot than I am. So I tried to emulate him a little bit, and the feeling with how it came out of my hand was just different,” Sborz said.

“I wanted to going at it and then threw a live, had really good results, the command was there, and that’s something I’ve sort lacked over the past couple of years. I figured keep rolling with it and when I took it into Spring Training 2.0, the results kept coming. I was like, might as well stick with it.”

Pitchers often make mechanical tweaks during the offseason, but Sborz tweaking his arm slot represents a pretty big change. He is hoping it will help him get back to being the pitcher he once was.

“I think I’m kind of getting back to what I originally was when I was a lot younger,” he said. “I think I sort of forced myself to make adaptations to try to make numbers look better, and they never did. Probably because my arm was never in the right place to move as efficiently as possible.”

Sborz enjoyed working out at Camelback Ranch

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the MLB season did not get started on time and ultimately was pushed back a few months. Sborz used that extra time to make the mechanical changes while working out at Camelback Ranch, which he enjoyed.

“I think the development and then having the type of hitters we had in Arizona. I mean, we had Bellinger, Muncy, Kiké, Keibert. We had these quality guys hitting against us, so the at-bats we were having were relatively challenging,” he said.

“When you’re talking about three All-Stars, having to face them every week, you’re going to learn. I thought I had solid success against them, so I think that gave me added confidence. Then you get to reinforce it because we’re not in a season yet, so you’re able to throw once or twice a week and the in between days work on stuff just to ingrain it better.”

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