The Change Up

So I got this theory.  It has to do with this pitch.

Your Toronto Blue Jays have three players who are going deep into games, in a row, in the starting rotation.  All of them feature this pitch in their repertoire and use it between about 20 and 30 percent of the time.  They all throw their fastballs right at about 50 percent of the time.  Check it:

20.7% change ups
19.9% fastballs
28.3% two seam fastballs

8 of his 13 starts he has pitched at least 7 innings

31.9% change ups
32.4% fastballs
19.6% two seam fastball

7 of his 12 starts he has pitch at least 7 innings

Brett Cecil (sans Oakleys)

25.9% change ups
27.1% fastballs
24.4% two seam fastballs

4 of his 10 starts he has pitched at least 7 innings

The Theory:

All of these pitches (fastball(s) and change up) use the exact same arm angle, release point and arm swing.  They have to in order to be effective.  It is the most natural and least taxing way to throw a baseball.  No violent twisting or snapping.  Just free and easy.

Our trio of studs are doing it 7 or 8 times out of every 10 pitches. 

I think there may be a correlation between that and the amount of effective innings they have been able to log.  I acknowledge the change up is a deadly pitch to try to hit, even when the hitter guesses that it might be coming.  But I respectfully submit that it is not the pitch itself but the fact that the way it needs to be thrown puts little to no strain on the arm/elbow/shoulder.  And that is why our boys are able to pitch deep into games virtually every start.

Simply put, their wings don't hurt.  

If I may give a suggestion to the manager, you may want to break these guys up in the rotation.  Perhaps use the All Star break as your excuse and reset them, like this:


That way you don't have three guys in a row that feature basically the same stuff.


  1. Jay,
    Thanks bro! Been thinking about this for a few days now. Glad it came out right.

  2. Ultimately their pitching deep into games because their pitch count is low, regardless of types of pitches thrown, yes?

  3. Mattt,
    Absolutely 100% true.

    What I was wondering is why these three guys are able to do it consistently.
    If a pitcher lives on the junk, then his arm takes a pounding every five days and eventually he runs out of bullets over the course of the season. Ex: Tallet
    If a pitcher relies on mostly fastballs and the other team is able to get around on it, then he won't be able to get through the order more than twice. Ex: Morrow early on this year.
    Our trio live and die on changing speeds, which is a very effective way to pitch and get people out. Not nearly as sexy as blowing guys away with the heater or bending knees with the breaking ball but effective none the less.

    The conclusion I came to, after looking into their pitch type frequency, was that Marcum, Romero and Cecil are innings eaters. And I think the reason lies in the fact that they do not need to rely on pitches that create undue pain in their arms to get Major League hitters out. That is good news for us going forward because I believe they will be able to continue to keep the pitch counts low and in turn go deep into games.

    Thanks again for your comments. They are always appreciated.

  4. Definitely true that there will be less arm stress as opposed to a heavy curveball/slider guy. Here's hoping they all stay healthy and keep this up...