2013 TigsTools: Best Changeup

In a similar scenario as the best breaking balls in the system, the Tigers minor league pitchers still need some work in developing quality changeups. Several left-handed relievers and some starters offer quality slow offerings, but the majority still need some work to be MLB ready. Check inside to see who tops this year's list.

Best Changeup
1. Kenny Faulk (LHP)
2. Kyle Lobstein (LHP)
3. Drew VerHagen (RHP)
4. Zach Reininger (RHP)
5. Kevin Ziomek (LHP)

Faulk's success in the minor leagues has always centered on his complimenting his average fastball with a solid-average changeup that kept hitters off balance. Faulk's changeup was at its best throughout most of the 2013 season and he enjoyed success against both left- and right-handed hitters. The development of his breaking ball will always be the key to Faulk's potential at the MLB level, but there is little doubting his changeup is an MLB caliber pitch.

Lobstein showed off a quality multi-pitch mix in his first year with the Tigers, and at times, his changeup stood out as his best pitch. With good arm speed and some fade to the pitch, Lobstein can keep right-handers off the rest of his arsenal by keeping them honest with his changeup.

VerHagen's profile resembles Kenny Faulk in some ways, most notably that his changeup is of MLB quality, but his breaking ball needs to continue advancing to give him a legitimate MLB future. VerHagen typically trusts his changeup in tight spots and he has used it effectively to help induce weak contact and a decent number of ground balls.

Both Reininger and Ziomek are new to the Tigers system, and both showed off potential solid-average changeups during their debut summers.

Honorable Mention
Edgar De La Rosa (RHP)
Hudson Randall (RHP)
Jake Thompson (RHP)
Jade Todd (LHP)

Though Edgar De La Rosa is often more closely associated with his mammoth size and big velocity, his changeup is a quality secondary pitch that can show in the average range. As with most of his arsenal, De La Rosa can be a bit too firm with his change at times, but when he trusts the grip and lets it go, the pitch offers good deception from fade and velocity separation.

Hudson Randall and Jade Todd both show off average changeups when they are at their best, giving them both a quality slower offering. Thompson's changeup will flash average at times but still needs to gain consistency both in terms of command and quality of the pitch itself.

Projection Kings
Endrys Briceno (RHP) Cesar Burgos (RHP)

One of the Tigers most unheralded pitching prospects, Briceno's changeup has the potential to develop into an above-average pitch that could help ensure he remains in the rotation long term. Burgos also brings a potential above-average changeup to the table, but his future still likely rests in the bullpen.


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