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Monday, August 04, 2014

Chapman abandons change (mostly)

So, less than two weeks ago, I wrote about how Aroldis Chapman's improvement this year can arguably be traced to the debut of his change-up.  Well, as Jeff Sullivan noted, almost coinciding with when I wrote that, Chapman now seems to be moving away from using his change-up.  In fact, he's thrown the pitch in only 1 of the last 5 games, and 2 of the last 8:

The reason appears to be that he has a hard time throwing the change-up for strikes.

The good news was that while he was not throwing it for strikes, he was usually missing down (assuming he was even trying to get it in the zone).  Nevertheless, it does look like the pitch has fallen out of favor.  So much for my last piece on him! :)

I personally hope that he can continue to work it in, even as a show-me pitch.  Hitters can catch up to his fastball if they know that it is coming.  The slider is a fantastic pitch, and I'm sure he can be quite successful as a fastball/slider reliever.  But a third pitch against right-handers, at least, would be one additional thing that hitters need to keep in their minds as they step in to face him.