"It's a question in everybody's head: Has it helped anybody in terms of performance?" said Robert Donatelli, a physical therapist who has consulted for the Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies and tennis player Andy Roddick. "With pitchers, I don't really see how that would help them in terms of improving velocity. The velocity is mostly dependent upon how far the arm goes back . . . [and] how much time the hand has to develop speed to throw the ball.
"I don't care how strong you are; you can't have a short arc of rotation."
Donatelli said reaching peak velocity in the pitching motion could be compared to a race car's acceleration. If a car can climb from zero to 60 mph in four seconds, it might reach 75 mph in five. The theory is similar for pitching: The farther back a pitcher can take his arm, the more time he has to accelerate the ball before releasing it. Brute strength has little to do with it, Donatelli said, which is why skinny pitchers such as New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera and New York Mets ace Pedro Martinez are able to throw hard.