Blake Fister: the Change Curve (and the Phil Hughes comp)
Extreme Makeover, dept.


Q.  Beavan said that his yellow hammer was his K.O. pitch?

A.  If he says so, I guess.  Looked to me like his 4th pitch for sure.

But if that's his intention, great.  That tells us where he's going with it.  Cool by me.  

The Japanese 71 MPH change curve is one of my favorite pitches to watch, but I've got to admit that not many RHP's can get away with it in the majors.  Lefties?  You get David Wells and Barry Zito using those awesome bloop curves, but for whatever reason the righthanders don't seem very effective with it.


Q.  Does ANY righthander throw the change curve well?

A.  Cue up some video of Adam Wainwright and Zach Greinke.  They're fun to watch.  Also Yu Darvish and Phil Hughes use them effectively.

In fact that brings up Blake Fister's new ideal -- not Fister; he can't do that, but probably Phil Hughes.  I could see Beavan taking a Phil Hughes career path.  Both guys are very intelligent, precision RHP's and now Beavan wants to use 4 pitches, like Hughes.

So I'm enthused about Beavan's enthusiasm for the change curve.  That wasn't the way March 17th, though.


Q.  What were the results March 17th, as to the change curve?

A.  9 pitches, 7 in the strike zone, 4 taken for strikes, 3 swung on and all put into play hard.

In fact, Beavan had only 2 swings-and-misses in 61 pitches.  To go off that alone, though, that would be a poor assessment, because the minor leaguers were simply "tipping their caps" on all the offspeed pitches.  

There was an avalanche of called strikes on offspeed pitches.  So that doesn't really count.


Q.  Sounds like SSI took a pretty close look at the game.

A.  Dr. D cued up the DVR, watched the first pitch, the Fister imitation, and cracked a sardonic smile.  Beavan did it the second time, and ... he changed seats to lean in and grok this new pitcher.  Especially the offspeed stuff.

Watched two innings, and then hit Brooks Baseball, analyzed all of the movement.  Tried to draw a template for the new pitcher.

Then returned to watch the last several innings, and saw that the REACTIONS of the hitters were not what you'd expect from the template.

In other words, this isn't an off-the-cuff reaction.  When you really grok the March 17th game, you grok that the offspeed stuff was SO effective that the minor-league Ranger lineup wasn't even attempting to deal with it.

Where that leaves us, I dunno.  We haven't seen major leaguers react to Beavan's new game.


Q.  Best guess, as to whether this will allow Beavan to pitch with 2 strikes now?

A.  Well, as we've mentioned, Beavan was already a pretty decent pitcher up until there are two strikes.  He throws fastballs in locations that hitters want to avoid.  But then he was a tragedy on the 2-strike count.  

Everything hinges around the 2-strike pitch.  As a 1-2 BB guy, Beavan only needs 5.6+ strikeouts to become an impact pitcher.

Beavan is a young guy.  As James put it, most MLB starters would figure it out if they stayed healthy and kept getting chances. Beavan is focusing on a new game that will, in theory, catch batters "in between" and that does, in theory, give him a chance to execute Phil Hughes' attack.

The good things about Beavan -- command and makeup -- have stayed constant, and he's reinvented all the cruddy elements in his game.  I don't think I've ever seen a pitcher go through such an Extreme Makeover in one offseason.

What can we say but ...

Eyes slideways,

Dr D


M-Pops's picture

With Hutlzen, Maurer and either Beaven or Ramirez waiting in Tacoma, the M's SP's #2-5 better perform or I suspect they will quickly find themselves on the DL/Bullpen.
Once the season starts, does the competion in Tacoma for next in line for a SP spot get reset? Does the guy throwing the best at the time get the call or does it automatically go to Ramirez/Beaven due to their experience?
The non-Felix starters should have a little extra adrenaline/nervous energy before every start because they probably know that their collective/respective leash is as short as any in MLB.
Am kind of loving the idea our 2-5 NEEDING to outperform our 6-9, or else >:-)

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