As the popularity of Driveline Baseball has grown over recent years, the Los Angeles Dodgers had multiple pitchers visit the academy this past offseason and speak highly about their experience.
Clayton Kershaw, Kenley Jansen, Joe Kelly and Alex Wood each had different goals upon visiting the Pacific Northwest, but one commonality they shared is the 2019 season left some to be desired.
Jansen saw an uptick in his velocity during Spring Training bullpen sessions and Cactus League appearances, and Kelly pitched to similar results as well. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn’t necessarily support the notion Kershaw and Wood would also experience velocity increases, but he noted both pitchers were showing encouraging signs as a whole.
Of course, all of that is on hold as the 2020 Major League Baseball season is suspended indefinitely due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Now several weeks into the wait, Wood shared video of his work at Driveline along with a detailed description of the focus for his windup.
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December 4th vs. January 24th. Video 1 is the first bullpen of my offseason after a 6 week on ramp. Video 2 is the end of the off season after 4 week velo phase. Regardless of what the eventual outcome will end up being its really rewarding being able to set goals and then visually be able to see the progress you’ve made over the course of a couple months. Main goals were to 1.) Be more fluid and athletic throughout delivery. 2.) Shorten arm swing through constraint drills to help connect upper and lower half. 3.) Fixing lead leg block/increasing lead leg angular velocity.
Wood appeared in three Cactus League games (two starts), allowing four runs over 5.2 innings pitched. However, three runs of those runs came in the relief appearance.
“I’ve always taken a stance where, Spring Training, you want to get you work in, you want to build up and come out healthy. But at the same time, the results matter,” Wood said after his first start. “They always matter to me. I’m not someone who wants to go out there and get the participation trophy. But it’s two things: the results, but also seeing where my stuff is at.
“That’s really important, because if your stuff is good in Spring Training, especially in Arizona, it’s going to play. I felt like my stuff has been good and today kind of confirmed that for me.
“I trained differently in the offseason; a lot smarter, a little more one-on-one stuff. The main reason I went to Driveline and got with Rob was for health. That was the No. 1 reason I went there. I’ve got a lot of moving parts and if they’re moving together, it’s really good and I can stay healthy.
“I feel like I’ve been able to accomplish that from a mechanical standpoint. Just kind of cementing that through all the work and all the throwing, having a good idea of what I need to do in between (starts) is really important. I’m excited about things paying off but also being able to stay in that window of consistency through a lot of the stuff I did in the offseason.”
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