Slowly but surely, the names of all the Dodgers that visited Driveline Baseball this winter are getting out there.
Alex Wood was the first name, but that was before he returned to LA. Then came Kenley Jansen speaking more openly about it by the day. Followed by Clayton Kershaw, who explained his realization that Driveline is more than just weighted baseballs.
Now add reliever Joe Kelly to the list.
— Bill Plunkett (@billplunkettocr) February 27, 2020
Our friend Bill Plunkett of the OC Register brings us more.
First off, why would a guy that averaged 97.7 mph on his fastball last season need to visit Driveline — a program widely known for velocity development? It turns out that Kelly’s fastball spin rate of 2,150 rpm was considered below average, so he was looking for answers.
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The Driveline think tank, of course, found something during their “compressed, 8-hour session. The ball wasn’t coming out of his hand correctly.
I was throwing fastballs with just one finger. I saw it on the video. There’s only one finger touching the ball (at release). Now I’m just trying to get two fingers, to release the ball at the same point.
I could feel it but I didn’t know what I was doing wrong – until someone tells you, you know.
After a grip adjustment, the right-hander already seems to be in a better spot than he was at this time a year ago. Moreover, he touched 99 mph on his fastball early in spring, which was a surprise to him.
I don’t remember at the end of any Spring Training being able to throw that kind of velocity. My body feels healthy. That’s my biggest takeaway. 99 mph curveball. I couldn’t do that when I was 21.
Added to a potentially resurgent Kenley Jansen, and off-season addition Blake Treinen at the backend of the bullpen, Dodger games may look to get shorter once again. As manager Dave Roberts noted on Thursday, “I think our ‘pen will be a position of strength this year” …him being correct would be a godsend for Los Angeles.