Duff Getting A Feel For The Change

Grant Duff, armed with a plus fastball and a plus slider, had a breakout season with the Gulf Coast League Yankees last year. But after he struggled in his first taste of the NY-Penn League, he knew it was time to get serious in the offseason and he went to work on his body and his stuff.

"There's really no excuse," Grant Duff said of his 5.25 ERA with the Staten Island Yankees last season, including walking three more batters than he struck out, "but I got up there and I guess I tried to do more than I really should have instead of having the same mindset I had here [GCL] which was just focus on every pitch and keep throwing like I knew I could throw."

"I went up there trying to prove something because I felt I could pitch at that level and went up there trying to show everybody I'm good. I went up there and got real wild and went to what I was before I came here. It was a bummer. I expected a lot more but you've got to learn from it."

One of the things he learned is he needed to get in better shape. He not only worked ten hours per day building houses for his father in the offseason which contributed to losing 18 pounds, but he also began attending his step-mother's pilates studio in an effort to shed the weight, a workout Duff admits wasn't easy.

"It's honestly the hardest thing I've ever done. All I really had to do was stop eating breakfast over here [at the minor league complex] because breakfast is so good over here you want to eat all day," he said with a half-serious chuckle. "I just watched what I ate, worked hard, and it just started falling off. It was something I really wanted to do because my metabolism slowed down."

Getting in better physical conditioning was just part of the equation. The other half involved expanding his arsenal, which meant improving his inconsistent changeup.

"The pitching coach up there [in Staten Island] showed me a different grip on the changeup and it clicked," said the 24-year old. "That's where it all started with the changeup."

"I threw to some live hitters back at home and the changeup worked real well. Actually the first time I threw the changeup, I hit a guy and I had to start back down because I lost a little confidence in it. It's getting better and better."

Duff says improving his changeup became an obsession this past offseason, so much so that he pocketed his best pitch over the winter in an effort to report to camp with that necessary third pitch.

"I was told by Nardi and all the pitching coaches that it's something that I really needed to develop," he said of the changeup. "In the offseason, I probably threw just five or six sliders the whole time. All I did was throw changeups when I was shagging 'BP' when I helped out at my old college."

"All I did was throw changeups into the bucket and worked on getting a feel for it because it's definitely a feel pitch. It just slowly started getting better and better and in the bullpens, I probably threw 50 percent changeups in every bullpen I threw this offseason. Now it's all finally coming together and it looks like it's going to be a good pitch."

Duff believes that his changeup is not only a quality pitch now, but he believes it will allow him to remain in the starting rotation and help him duplicate the same type of success he had in the Gulf Coast League last season.

"I definitely feel that the changeup will be a big pitch for me to show more than two pitches," he said. "Changing speeds is a huge thing, that's what they really drill into you. Being able to throw something that's not a hard pitch will definitely help me get ahead of hitters and make my fastball and slider that much more effective."

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\r\n \r\n \r\n\"There's really no excuse,\" Grant Duff said of his 5.25 ERA with the Staten Island Yankees last season, including walking three more batters than he struck out, \"but I got up there and I guess I tried to do more than I really should have instead of having the same mindset I had here [GCL] which was just focus on every pitch and keep throwing like I knew I could throw.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I went up there trying to prove something because I felt I could pitch at that level and went up there trying to show everybody I'm good. I went up there and got real wild and went to what I was before I came here. It was a bummer. I expected a lot more but you've got to learn from it.\"
\r\n
\r\nOne of the things he learned is he needed to get in better shape. He not only worked ten hours per day building houses for his father in the offseason which contributed to losing 18 pounds, but he also began attending his step-mother's pilates studio in an effort to shed the weight, a workout Duff admits wasn't easy.
\r\n
\r\n\"It's honestly the hardest thing I've ever done. All I really had to do was stop eating breakfast over here [at the minor league complex] because breakfast is so good over here you want to eat all day,\" he said with a half-serious chuckle. \"I just watched what I ate, worked hard, and it just started falling off. It was something I really wanted to do because my metabolism slowed down.\"
\r\n
\r\nGetting in better physical conditioning was just part of the equation. The other half involved expanding his arsenal, which meant improving his inconsistent changeup.
\r\n
\r\n\"The pitching coach up there [in Staten Island] showed me a different grip on the changeup and it clicked,\" said the 24-year old. \"That's where it all started with the changeup.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"I threw to some live hitters back at home and the changeup worked real well. Actually the first time I threw the changeup, I hit a guy and I had to start back down because I lost a little confidence in it. It's getting better and better.\"
\r\n
\r\nDuff says improving his changeup became an obsession this past offseason, so much so that he pocketed his best pitch over the winter in an effort to report to camp with that necessary third pitch.
\r\n
\r\n\"I was told by Nardi and all the pitching coaches that it's something that I really needed to develop,\" he said of the changeup. \"In the offseason, I probably threw just five or six sliders the whole time. All I did was throw changeups when I was shagging 'BP' when I helped out at my old college.\"
\r\n
\r\n\"All I did was throw changeups into the bucket and worked on getting a feel for it because it's definitely a feel pitch. It just slowly started getting better and better and in the bullpens, I probably threw 50 percent changeups in every bullpen I threw this offseason. Now it's all finally coming together and it looks like it's going to be a good pitch.\"
\r\n
\r\nDuff believes that his changeup is not only a quality pitch now, but he believes it will allow him to remain in the starting rotation and help him duplicate the same type of success he had in the Gulf Coast League last season.
\r\n
\r\n\"I definitely feel that the changeup will be a big pitch for me to show more than two pitches,\" he said. \"Changing speeds is a huge thing, that's what they really drill into you. Being able to throw something that's not a hard pitch will definitely help me get ahead of hitters and make my fastball and slider that much more effective.\"
\r\n
\r\n

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

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\r\n

\r\n

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