While attending a game at Canal Park this season, fans can “ooh and ah” at the fastballs popping in the high-90s on the scoreboard radar gun. Same with the visible, knee-buckling break of a curveball or slider.
But the changeup is a less noticeable and understated element of pitching.
“They’re not as sexy as breaking balls or fastballs,” Akron RubberDucks pitcher Kyle Davies said. “But you look at people who have been very successful over the years for a long time, they’ve always had… some type of pitch that looks like a fastball, but isn’t a fastball.”
The key with a changeup, according to RubberDucks pitching coach Jeff Harris, is the way it disrupts a hitter’s timing. When thrown right, Harris noted the deception the pitch brings to a pitcher’s offerings.
“You don’t have to be pinpoint accurate with it,” Harris said. “Hitters really have a hard time identifying a good changeup because it looks like a fastball. A curveball, you can see it spins different. A changeup spins the same as a fastball.”
RubberDucks manager Dave Wallace — a former catcher — can speak from experience what a changeup does to a hitter. The idea a pitcher throws a fastball and a changeup puts some doubt in a hitter’s head, doubt that gives pitchers an edge. Read More…
From Indians Baseball Insider, May 3, 2014