Baseball Primer Newsblog
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Man, the Diamondbacks would trade him for talking all this crap.
You’re trying to create the illusion of a white baseball. The faster it spins, the whiter it’s going to look. Most hitters assume that if it’s white, it’s a fastball. Therefore they’re going to swing at the very top of where that ball is going to go – in their mind, where they think the ball is going to go. A perfect curveball is going to have exactly the opposite spin of a fastball, but if it comes out white the hitter is going to react to it like it’s a fastball.
Some guys will throw a changeup that has side spin. Good hitters, once they recognize the ball has a little side spin, kind of freeze… you want all of your spin axis to be as parallel as possible.
My data is harder to get information from than other guys’.
I throw five or six pitches and it’s all shades. Literally, my spin axis is… I cover something like 270 degrees. I don’t have under spin, because I don’t throw underhand, but I create different kinds of spin from different types of angles. I’ll throw a sidearm curveball and an overhand curveball. Those are 90 degrees away from each other. If someone is trying to scout me off my spin data, they’ll be like ‘aah, I don’t know.’ One thing I’ve seen is that my offspeed pitches spin harder than my fastball does. It has a higher RPM. That’s what the data showed when I looked at it a month and a half ago.
PITCHf/x sometimes doesn’t read my pitches accurately.
I’ve been filming my side sessions with my GoPro to make sure my body position is the same with everything. Earlier this year I was tipping my pitches. I found that out by watching video… If you have guys who have walk rates that are preposterously low and all of a sudden they’re in 3-2 counts and taking super-close pitches, they know what’s coming. There’s no other explanation. You don’t spontaneously get a Ted Williams concept of the strike zone, mid-season, when you were basically swinging at the rosin bag before that. I looked at video and thought, ‘there’s no way that guy should have taken that pitch.’ Then I watched the video again with a more analytical mind and saw I was doing something different with my changeup.
I throw everything. I’ve thrown everything in a game, now that I’ve thrown a knuckleball. I’ve thrown a screwball this year. I learned it from watching a Pedro Martinez video on YouTube. He threw an opposite side spin changeup. If you watch his arm angle, it was low enough that he could curve over the top of the ball, and flick the top of the ball. He threw a changeup with topspin, which is a screwball by definition.
You practice every day. This is my life.
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