My Biggest Mistakes in Professional Baseball…

professional baseball mistakes

Throughout my professional baseball journey, I’ve navigated the highs of success, confronted the hurdles of challenges, and faced the setbacks of injuries. Despite these experiences, my lifelong goal is still the same as any kid: to make it to the Major Leagues. I want to share my reflection on my career, where I went wrong, what I would do differently, and help lead younger baseball players in the right direction.

Background Info

My baseball career has been a challenge like many other athletes, but I appreciate the lessons I have learned. I played 3 years of Division-1 baseball before getting drafted in the 9th round of the 2018 draft. I spent four seasons in the minor leagues from 2018-2022 and made it up to High-A with my organization.

me signing

I was released towards the end of my 2022 season, and have been trying to get picked up by another affiliated baseball team since then. I spent the 2023 season playing Independent League baseball and will continue to play until I get another opportunity. Everyone’s path in professional baseball is different. There is no shortcut to the Major Leagues. What I have learned from my experience can provide better direction in your career.

My Biggest Mistakes in Professional Baseball:

1. Wrong Training Atmosphere

You will learn from this post, I am extremely passionate about the training I have done with Tread Athletics. Deciding to train at a legit baseball facility, was the best decision I have ever made in my baseball career.

I am all for athletes training on their own and working on their craft at home, but that is not for everyone. If you are expecting everything to click one day and throw 100 or hit the ball 450, that is highly unlikely.

I spent the majority of my professional baseball off-seasons training at home and throwing by myself. This is a mistake that I will never make again because you need to be in a baseball atmosphere to see results.

There is a different level of intent and more adrenaline created in a baseball environment. I can confidently say, that Tread Athletics provided the closest thing to professional baseball training.

I spent too many hours at the field by myself, developing bad habits, and stuck in my head. Baseball players who want to improve, need to have coaches monitoring their throwing and development. There is a reason Major League Baseball players choose to train at Tread Athletics, instead of by themselves.

I am not saying you have to train at Tread Athletics to be successful, but you need to find a facility or atmosphere that challenges you and positively enhances your baseball progression.

If you are interested in training with Tread, please click this link to sign up: https://treadathletics.com/coaches-contact/

When asked, “Who did you hear about us from?” Please scroll to the bottom, select other, and input my name, Brian Eichhorn. This is not a promotional post for Tread Athletics, but it will help me continue my training by referring athletes.

Please contact me if you have any questions about my training with Tread Athletics.

2. I Lost My Identity

Bullpen of me in 2020 when I was lost with my mechanics.

Baseball is such a competitive atmosphere, that it is hard to not compare yourself to other athletes. This can be a frustrating moment especially when you know you work harder than someone, but they still perform better than you. That should be more motivation to work harder, but not change who you are. Here’s an example…

Once I got to professional baseball I was surrounded by incredible talent. Talent that I am now supposed to compete against to earn a job. To prove that I belonged at this level, I felt that I needed to completely change who I was as a pitcher. Fix my mechanics and do whatever it takes to throw the ball harder.

The organization I was with was well known for its pitcher development. I was flooded with new technology, mechanical terms, and drills that were supposed to help me throw better. At first, I was overwhelmed. During my time at college, we did not have access to these resources or information, so I felt at a disadvantage.

I would watch guys throw a bullpen and sit mid-90s. Then I would watch their video and compare it to mine. I would see how they were using their body differently and try and make those same mechanical adjustments to my pitching motion. I would spend hours on hours in the weight room trying to perfect that simple move they do in their delivery.

This obsession with changing my delivery ultimately killed my velocity and pitchability. What most players like myself fail to understand is when you throw decently hard, there are normally a couple of small adjustments that need to be made to throw harder. Not a complete overhaul of the mechanics.

I went from a consistently low 90’s fastball to barely averaging 90 in my outings. My off-speed was horrendous and not competitive at the level I was playing at. My mechanics were changing for the worse, and I failed to realize that in the moment. I thought I was doing the right thing and working on the right adjustments. Instead, I lost who I was as a pitcher.

If you get drafted or you sign to play college baseball, remember there is a reason you are given that opportunity. You do something special better than others, and you have shown that you can succeed. Do not change to be like someone else. Do not try an reinvent the wheel, focus on something small you want to fix.

I wish I had known at that moment what I needed to work on, instead of guessing every day. Yes, in professional baseball you have some of the “best” coaches available to help, but receiving the individualized time you need is tough with so many guys in an organization.

It was not until I started training with Tread Athletics, that I found my identity. I will dive more into how they have helped me later in this post.

3. Did Not Understand My Strengths

Some baseball players are naturally gifted at the game and great at everything they do. Other players are elite at one or two things, but that separates them from the average player. Instead of focusing on a few things that made me “good” I found myself overcomplicating my pitching and changing too much.

This mistake ties in with my first mistake and contributed to me losing my identity. So why did I not understand my strengths?

I was a successful college pitcher because of my ability to compete. When I got to professional baseball I was competing with pitches that were not effective. But if I was in a professional baseball organization, shouldn’t I have known my pitches were not effective?

Yes, looking back I have mixed feelings about this. I find it crazy that some professional coaches never broke down what made me successful in college and told me to focus on that. But, then I also blame myself for not being aware of my strengths and abilities. However, this comes with time.

Here is an example: Analytically, my best pitch is my fastball because of my low vertical approach angle, and the vertical movement. Basically, I should throw fastballs up and I will be at an advantage. That is terminology I could have never told you about myself when I was first in professional baseball, but why?

Sometimes all it takes is having a coach sit you down and tell you, “Hey this is what you are good at, focus on this, not that.” Hearing from a person with authority will make the message more clear. I never really had that talk in professional baseball. Instead, I found myself trying to create other strengths.

Once I started training with Tread Athletics, I had that talk. I had a coach, multiple times, sit down and show me what I was good at, and provide evidence to prove it. This was a turning point in my career. When you understand what your strengths are as a baseball player, your confidence in that skill will drastically improve. As a result, your performance will as well.

Find a place that can help you understand your strengths, like Tread Athletics did for me. Do not waste your time on making every skill “perfect.” Chances are that will never happen. Find what makes you elite, and learn how to maximize your potential with those strengths.

This does not mean stop working on the little things about your game, because they are important. This advice is more practical for older baseball players. You will reach a point where improving “everything” is not logical. Be smart about your training and dedicate more time to sharpening your strengths.

4. Did Not Understand My Body

To get the most out of your baseball training and progression, you have to understand how your body works. I failed to realize and unfortunately injured myself in the process. This is an aspect of my career I did not fully comprehend until I started training with Tread Athletics. Let’s break down what I mean…

Everybody’s body works differently. That is why you see pitchers and hitters with different mechanics. This can be something like ankle range of motion, internal/external hip rotation, or pronation/supination bias. These are all important factors that shape you as a player and affect how you move throughout athletic motions.

Okay great… everyone has different movement patterns, but why does that matter? Well, think about it from a coaching aspect. If I have two players who move completely differently, why would I teach both of them to move the same way?

This was a major problem I ran into in professional baseball. The movements, pitches, and exercises I focused on, were not designed to best support my body. Let’s look at an example…

I spent years of my life trying to master the curveball. A pitch that was highly utilized by the Major League pitchers in the organization I was with. I spent so much of my time trying to make this a “good” pitch and add to my list of strengths.

The problem was my metrics on my curveball, did not grade out to be an effective pitch. At the time I could not understand why. I mean 13-year-old kids were spinning a better breaking ball than me.

What I did not realize, was that my lack of ability to hold supination was negatively affecting my analytics on my curveball. So all of that time I spent on my curveball, I should have been applying to a different pitch like a hard slider.

That is just one example, but I could go on and on with others such as pitching mechanics. What I want younger athletes to understand, is that you need to grasp your body’s movements and limitations when changing mechanics. Or else you will spend countless hours like I did working in the wrong direction.

Baseball players who are serious about their development, need to have a full body assessment. This is where you will learn how your body moves, what your body is good at, and where you need to improve. This is why I recommend Tread Athletics to any athlete looking to master their athletic ability.

With Tread Athletics, before they tell you what to work on or how you can improve, they do an initial assessment of you. This should be standard with any baseball training facility. In professional baseball, I did too many assessments to count, but guess what, nobody ever explained to me what everything meant like Tread Athletics.

Never once in professional baseball did I have someone with authority change my pitching delivery based on my body assessment. The very first day I went into Tread Athletics, my coach told me, “Hey, we are going to lower your arm slot to be more on plane with your hips.”

I could go on and on about this. Working with Tread Athletics made me realize, that in places where you expect coaches and staff to be the “best of the best” like professional baseball, that is not always the case. Professional organizations, however, are not to blame. I can understand how hard it is to provide individualized training for every single player.

So to get the individualized attention you need to progress your baseball career, you have to go to a training facility like Tread Athletics. If I could go back and change anything, I would have gone to them sooner to have a better understanding of how my body works.

If you are interested in training with Tread, please click this link to sign up: https://treadathletics.com/coaches-contact/

When asked, “Who did you hear about us from?” Please scroll to the bottom, select other, and input my name, Brian Eichhorn. This is not a promotional post for Tread Athletics, but it will help me continue my training by referring athletes.

Personal Reflection

It is easy to look back on the “mistakes” you make and realize where you went wrong. At the time, however, I believed I was doing all the right things. The biggest piece of advice I can give to someone is to put yourself in the best position to succeed.

What I mean by that is do whatever it takes to take you to the next level. Keep putting yourself in an atmosphere where you are surrounded by individuals who have experience and knowledge to help you grow. Eventually, you will find the place and the people that work for you.

This could take months or it could take years. But if you are always trying to build the best version of yourself, you will find yourself in the environment you need.

Take a risk, venture out, learn from the process, and always invest in yourself.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *