What makes Steve Cishek unique makes him great
The prototypical cookie-cutter closer is a big body pitcher a fastball similar to that of the great Aroldis Chapman.
That’s not the case for Steve Cishek, who is in the middle of a comeback season with the Seattle Mariners. His delivery almost appears as the submarine delivery. The sinker is his go-to pitch and his arm angle makes that pitch nearly impossible to hit.
“Any sort of deception helps,” Cishek said. “You got to be at little bit different to get people out in this game.”
Cishek has said that he’s always pitched with that unorthodox delivery since his childhood and what makes it bizarre is that it looks like and he feels like he is throwing over the top.
It’s also a delivery that very few pitchers in the bigs can pitch with. He has the ideal frame for it where as pitcher like Josh Collmenter of the Arizona Diamondbacks would look like a softball pitcher if he tried it.
“There’s a flexibility factor,” Cishek said. “If you’re a big bulky guy you’re not going to have the same arm angle I got.”
Successful hitting comes from timing and anticipation. After eight innings facing pitchers who throw overhand and in the pivotal ninth inning the winning team’s closer, the team’s best reliever if not best pitcher, comes in and instead of throwing heat like everyone else he throws a sinker from a slinky like sidearm delivery.
Anyone who has to beat that pitcher in the ninth inning is screwed, and that’s been the case for many of the Mariners’ opponents.