Jump to content
Brewer Fanatic

The Mysterious Changeup


wickedheat

OK, I like to think I understand a lot about the game of baseball. Maybe I don't. I thought learning a fastball and a changeup was key to a successful little league player. I came to know that was true after coaching 13-16 year-olds for 5 years. And, after actually playing baseball for years, I know how devastating a good fastball/changeup can be (helps to have a 2-seam AND a 4-seam FB, but you get the point). And, not being the most talented pitcher, I found it relatively easy to learn a changeup. And it was very effective given my horrible fastball. So I can't help but scratch my head when I see this from milwaukee.brewers.mlb.com:

 

"Sheets surrendered his first runs of the season in the first inning of Saturday's start in New York, but he retired 18 Mets in a row at one point and surrendered only one more run. He threw as many as 10 changeups and four or five outs came from that pitch, giving Sheets a potentially dangerous complement to his fastball and curveball."

 

Didn't he have a changeup before? Did it really take him (and coaches) until now to get him throwing a changeup to compliment that fastball and curveball? Please tall me I'm missing a crucial detail and I'll humbly shut up. But if not, WHY didn't he develop this changeup way before now???

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Recommended Posts

He has thrown it in the past, and at times it has really looked like he was turning that corner and becoming a three pitch pitcher, but I don't think he's ever been really comfortable with it, and with his fastball/curve combo, I can understand why. When you've got two overpowering pitches, and you don't feel that comfortable with your third, you're not going to go to it in big situations.

 

There was one game last year where he threw his change, and I don't recall which is was..it may have been opening day, but he really had it going. It was by far the most impressive I'd seen him throw it. I think he'll eventually develop it and go to it in order to become a more efficient pitcher...I just hope it's wearing the Brewers Blue.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You got it Gopher. I wonder if it's generally easier for MLBers to pick up a curve or change off the pitcher's hand....meaning, if a curve is easier to pick up because of the spin, than a change would be a great pitch to have, even if thrown infrequently. Think about pitchers like Wise who used it exclusively, without much else, to be effective.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Very true. There was a quote a year or two ago when we played the Redbirds. Pujols was talking about how Sheets' changeup, and Rolen came over and said Pujols is the only one who could talk about Benny's changeup, as Sheets had no reason, given his other two pitches, to throw it to any hitter outside of the truly elite guys. I'm glad he's putting that pitch in the opposition's mind, as long as he doesn't put it in the opposition's wheel-house.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It amazes me, frankly, that it has taken him this long to use it even sporadically. It can be a devastating pitch, and it has the additional benefit of creating relatively little arm strain.

 

I don't really buy the "he didn't need it" argument. Benny has great stuff, but it's not like he's been in the sub-1.00 WHIP range for his entire career. I actually think it might have been more of a pride/machismo thing -- he has wanted to blow guys away rather than finesse them.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sheets actually said in an interview that he already has an off speed pitch so why does he need to throw a change up if he his commanding his other pitches. The biggest thing about a change up to me is that it reduces injuries. Fastball and change up are pretty easy on the arm compared to curve/slider. Having that third pitch is always a good thing though, I think every pitcher should be taught FB/CU.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

What's the harm in continued experimentation. If Sheeter does all of a sudden find a plausible change up he could really be elite. I think a change up could make him devastating even though he doesn't strictly need it.
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Guys like Derek Lee, Pujols, etc all have seen quite a few changeups in recent years.

 

I'll never forget the change he dropped on Lee last season on a 3-2 count for the K. Had Lee talking to himself like he had multiple personalities on the way back to the dugout. The pitch, along with the sequence & guts Ben had to throw it in that situation... simply beautiful.

Stearns Brewing Co.: Sustainability from farm to plate
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah Sheets has been throwing that pitch a few years now. Sometimes his will throw it more often then other times. If he could ever get it done like a Gagne or Santana type change he would almost be un-hittable with that fastball and curve.

Yeah, and that's what frustrates me about it a little bit. Nothing is stopping him from throwing it more -- and being more effective -- other than sheer will.

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well if you have two great pitches like he does you don't want to get beat throwing your third best pitch. He uses it just enough to keep it in hitters minds but not enough that they can truly look for it. But if he could get it as good as Santana's well that would be nice.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well if you have two great pitches like he does you don't want to get beat throwing your third best pitch. He uses it just enough to keep it in hitters minds but not enough that they can truly look for it.

Exactly. This was touched on a little bit in this thread as well, and Rluzinski has some great graphs using data from Gameday. As long as he throws it 10 or less times per game, no one will be expecting it. It's not like Benny really needs another pitch to be successful, so there's no reason to overuse it.

If I had Braun's pee in my fridge I'd tell everybody.

~Nottso

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

The Twins Daily Caretaker Fund
The Brewer Fanatic Caretaker Fund

You all care about this site. The next step is caring for it. We’re asking you to caretake this site so it can remain the premiere Brewers community on the internet. Included with caretaking is ad-free browsing of Brewer Fanatic.

×
×
  • Create New...