Hebert Opening Some Eyes

Left-hander Chaz Hebert jumped on to the prospect scene with a spectacular professional debut season this year, posting a 2.52 ERA for the Gulf Coast League Yankees, striking out 30 batters in just 25 innings and issuing just four walks. However, it was at Instructs where he really saw an uptick in his stuff, especially with his curveball, that really opened up some eyes in the organization.

"I improved my control, a lot of my mechanics, and especially my offspeed pitches," Hebert said. "I came [into the year] with a fastball and somewhat of a changeup, and a very loopy curveball, but towards the end of the season my changeup was one of my best pitches and my curveball, especially at Instructs, I got it up to 77 mph."

The curveball in particular really blossomed at Instructs. Throwing more of a loopy 68-69 mph breaking ball during his inaugural season, he saw the benefit of working with different coaches at Instructs.

"I never really worked on it all that much during the season," he admitted. "I just threw what I had during the season because it worked for me so I kept throwing it. Once I move up against these better hitters though I'm going to need something else and one of my pitching coaches during Instructs helped me out and it just clicked for me.

"I was able to feel it, let it snap out of my hand, and now it's hard, it's straight, and it just breaks at the last second. I didn't change the grip. I was out there in the field warming up, tossing it back and forth. I couldn't really get the feel for it with the way they were telling me how to throw it.

"And one of my coaches, Danny Borrell, he said he had the same problem when he was pitching. He'd get around it and get over it. I told him I could feel it with every movement I make and I'm really coming around the ball and flipping underneath it.

"He said 'throw a slider and gradually start to turn your wrists'. It took me two days and I figured it out. It was something I was able to do."

Drastically changing his curveball seemingly overnight, it's not as if he was primarily a fastball-changeup guy most of the year.

"I threw a lot of curveballs during the season, mostly curveballs actually, just a few changeups when I needed it," Hebert said.

The changeup dramatically changed over the course of the season, going from basically a slower batting practice fastball to more of an actual changeup, one that finally started to dive over the plate at the last second and mirrored the image of his fastball delivery-wise.

But to now have three reliable pitches, including two offspeed offerings that break at the last second, Hebert can see his game really beginning to take off.

"I'm really excited. The curveball I had before, you could see it. It was just a big loop. Now I was throwing [the new one] to these hitters at Instructs and they timed it up but at the last second it would just drop and they were swinging right through it.

"I can control it a lot better. I remember throwing it 0-2 for a called strike. I just have a much better feel for it. I just snap my hands -- I love it. It's so much better than the loopier one.

"It's hard now. They can time it up but at that last second it drops down. Everything looks the same now. My changeup looks the same as my four-seam [fastball], my curveball looks the same as my fastball, and I have my fastball. I think I'm going to be a much better pitcher going into next year and I'm really excited for it."

Considering the names of guys on the mound that were Instructs this year -- Nik Turley, Jose Ramirez, Matt Tracy, Rafael DePaula, etc -- it would be understandable if a relative newbee like Hebert didn't stand out in the crowd but the fact is he did.

"I definitely think so, that's a most definite right there. I was a late-round draft pick. I didn't sign for as much money as everyone else did. Everyone knew that all I wanted was a chance. They gave me that chance and I think I really opened up some eyes.

"I got a lot more attention at Instructs [this year]. Out of all the pitchers there I definitely feel like I was one of those top five with the progress that I was showing and I feel like the coaches feel the same way," he concluded.

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Royal Curve Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\n\"I improved my control, a lot of my mechanics, and especially my offspeed pitches,\" Hebert said. \"I came [into the year] with a fastball and somewhat of a changeup, and a very loopy curveball, but towards the end of the season my changeup was one of my best pitches and my curveball, especially at Instructs, I got it up to 77 mph.\"
\r\n
\r\nThe curveball in particular really blossomed at Instructs. Throwing more of a loopy 68-69 mph breaking ball during his inaugural season, he saw the benefit of working with different coaches at Instructs.
\r\n
\r\n\"I never really worked on it all that much during the season,\" he admitted. \"I just threw what I had during the season because it worked for me so I kept throwing it. Once I move up against these better hitters though I'm going to need something else and one of my pitching coaches during Instructs helped me out and it just clicked for me.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was able to feel it, let it snap out of my hand, and now it's hard, it's straight, and it just breaks at the last second. I didn't change the grip. I was out there in the field warming up, tossing it back and forth. I couldn't really get the feel for it with the way they were telling me how to throw it.
\r\n
\r\n\"And one of my coaches, Danny Borrell, he said he had the same problem when he was pitching. He'd get around it and get over it. I told him I could feel it with every movement I make and I'm really coming around the ball and flipping underneath it.
\r\n
\r\n\"He said 'throw a slider and gradually start to turn your wrists'. It took me two days and I figured it out. It was something I was able to do.\"
\r\n
\r\nDrastically changing his curveball seemingly overnight, it's not as if he was primarily a fastball-changeup guy most of the year.
\r\n
\r\n\"I threw a lot of curveballs during the season, mostly curveballs actually, just a few changeups when I needed it,\" Hebert said.
\r\n
\r\nThe changeup dramatically changed over the course of the season, going from basically a slower batting practice fastball to more of an actual changeup, one that finally started to dive over the plate at the last second and mirrored the image of his fastball delivery-wise.
\r\n
\r\nBut to now have three reliable pitches, including two offspeed offerings that break at the last second, Hebert can see his game really beginning to take off.
\r\n
\r\n\"I'm really excited. The curveball I had before, you could see it. It was just a big loop. Now I was throwing [the new one] to these hitters at Instructs and they timed it up but at the last second it would just drop and they were swinging right through it.
\r\n
\r\n\"I can control it a lot better. I remember throwing it 0-2 for a called strike. I just have a much better feel for it. I just snap my hands -- I love it. It's so much better than the loopier one.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's hard now. They can time it up but at that last second it drops down. Everything looks the same now. My changeup looks the same as my four-seam [fastball], my curveball looks the same as my fastball, and I have my fastball. I think I'm going to be a much better pitcher going into next year and I'm really excited for it.\"
\r\n
\r\nConsidering the names of guys on the mound that were Instructs this year -- Nik Turley, Jose Ramirez, Matt Tracy, Rafael DePaula, etc -- it would be understandable if a relative newbee like Hebert didn't stand out in the crowd but the fact is he did.
\r\n
\r\n\"I definitely think so, that's a most definite right there. I was a late-round draft pick. I didn't sign for as much money as everyone else did. Everyone knew that all I wanted was a chance. They gave me that chance and I think I really opened up some eyes.
\r\n
\r\n\"I got a lot more attention at Instructs [this year]. Out of all the pitchers there I definitely feel like I was one of those top five with the progress that I was showing and I feel like the coaches feel the same way,\" he concluded.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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