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2017 TigsTools: Detroit Tigers Best Changeup

For most big-league pitchers the changeup is a third offering; a softer pitch to keep opposite-handed hitters off balance. An average change can be a solid way to induce weak contact and get occasional swings and misses, but those who master the cambio can find themselves with a devastating weapon. The best practitioners throw it with the same arm speed and slot as their fastball, but deliver it 5-10 mph slower, and send it diving away from helpless batters.

Best Changeup

1. Mark Ecker (RHP)

2. Tyler Alexander (LHP)

3. Josh Turley (LHP)

4. Austin Sodders (LHP)

5. Clate Schmidt (RHP)

 

The Tigers snapped up Mark Ecker in the 5th round of last year’s draft after he posted a 0.39 ERA in 46 2/3 innings as Texas A&M’s closer. He owns a high-octane fastball and pairs it with above-average changeup that sits in the mid-80s and features splitter action.

 

Alexander’s changeup is more of an average pitch that jumps up a half-grade thanks to his above-average control and command. The low-80s offering gives him ideal separation from his fastball, it fades away from hitters late, and he mixes it smartly with his other pitches.

 

A solid organizational pitcher since being drafted in the 16th round in 2012, Turley generates some noise for throwing an occasional knuckleball, but his low-80s changeup with solid movement is his best pitch.

 

Sodders was the Tigers choice in the 7th round last year, and the lefty from UC Riverside offers a solid three-pitch mix that includes a changeup that has a chance to be average thanks in part to a deceptive delivery that features a high knee lift.

 

Detroit drafted Schmidt out of high school in 2012 and again out of Clemson last year. A starter in college, he figures to work in relief in pro ball where his average low-80s changeup will play nicely off his low-90s sinker.



Honorable Mention

Artie Lewicki (RHP)

Myles Jaye (RHP)

Jason Foley (RHP)

Joe Jimenez (RHP)

 

Lewicki and Jaye both own fringy changeups that are firmer pitches in the mid-80s and work best as rare offerings to keep hitters off the fastball.

 

Foley’s changeup is actually a splitter, but it serves the same purpose for him and it has a chance to be an above-average or even plus pitch in time.

 

Jimenez is more known for his fastball/slider combo, but the big reliever also owns an interesting changeup. It’s a firm offering in the high-80s with nice fade and sink, but he’s still developing feel for it.

 

Projection Kings

Beau Burrows (RHP)

Matt Manning (RHP)

Sandy Baez (RHP)

Burrows, Manning, and Baez are all big-armed right-handers with developing changeups that have the potential to be average offerings. Burrows throws his in the low-to-mid 80s with the same arm action as his fastball, while Manning’s is a bit firmer with solid armside run. Baez used to work with a below-average traditional changeup, but he has transitioned to a more split-fingered grip that gives the pitch more downward action.


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