Brandon Maurer's Invisibility Pitch
Most-comparable MLB arsenal: Ryan Dempster


If you like crossword puzzles, cool.  If Sudoku's more your thing, great.  If you want to try Baseball Sudoku, we got one for you.

Open this Brandon Maurer vid in a new window.  See if you can find the reasons that his slider is functionally invisible... Here are the pitches, in sequence.  

  • 0:15 - 87 changeup
  • 0:24 - 86 high slider to LHB (contradiction in terms)
  • 0:34 - 84 slider low-away to RHB, garbage swing
  • 0:44 - 84 slider cap-to-knees vs RHB, garbage swing
  • 0:51 - 86 slider letter high, topped
  • 1:00 - 74 change curve
  • 1:15 - 85 slider low-away to RHB, garbage swing

Per F/X, Maurer's slider has a normal break ... -0.0 sideways, actually +2.0 inches up and down.  Nominally the movement is below average.


Jamie Moyer used to say that -8 MPH was the demarcation line for an effective offspeed pitch.  "If I can't get an 8 MPH separation, I'm usually backin' up bases."

Maurer's fastball was 89-92.  Why should an 86 MPH slider with 0x2 inch break, be impossible to hit?  Complicating the mystery, Maurer's changeup is also 84-87 MPH, which is well short of Moyer's magic -8 MPH standard. 


But it is.  Okay, okay ... if you really must take a peek at the Sudoku answers in the back of the book, here is a Ryan Dempster video.  At 0:40 he throws a Brandon Maurer slider.


Just for fun, here's the vid of Maurer's seven K's yesterday.  Here's the box score -- Choo, Phillips, Votto, and Ludwick all struck out, Votto and his 174 OPS+ twice.


Dr D


RockiesJeff's picture

As always, thanks for the info Jeff. I loved the sequence of pitches by Maurer. Those are dirty! Maurer looks like he has a good head on his shoulder and can hit what he is aiming for. This is not worth much but my theory on the minus 8 is that no matter what number you have for speed differential, if there is not deception in the pitches for the first 20 feet or so and consistency of delivery and release, a good hitter will often win. If the hitter gets frozen for a bit and the pitcher hits his spots, that pitcher normally wins. Pretty simple but everyone is different. I don't get to see much face to face or even on tape but is it true that Felix doesn't have as much differential as he used to? Differential would therefore be much more important for Jamie M than Felix because no one was going to be overpowered by any of his pitches. Speaking of it true what I saw on MLB about Capps or Pryor throwing a mid 70's curve and then coming in with a 95+ fastball? That is crazy.
Working with kids, my son has about around a 13 differential from 4 seam to change up. As he gets stronger it will be interesting to see if that differential changes with it. My concern is location and movement, then velocity or differential.
Moe correctly said it, "Command 4 pitches..."

RockiesJeff's picture

Moe, my favorite pitch of the top link above is at about the 15 sec mark with the change outside to the lefty. That is the necessary ability to expand the strike zone and then attack., a lot! I hope!


Start at the 3:15 mark....and you'll see an expanded lesson on what Maurer seems to have some of: Lately he's thrown to little bitty spots. He's hit them with a 4 pitch arsenal.
Command four pitches and you win. A lot.
Mysterious? Nah. Invisible? Not really. Just dang hard to get a hold of.
Checked out that K clip again. On the 2nd K he misses with a high FB, but throws it by him. On all the others he doesn't make the catcher work very hard. Misses just off the plate with the slider, where you're supposed to....throws the heater on the black inside, or just off. Right where your supposed to. Hard to see a changeup in that sequence....
But he chucks the ball to the right spots.
Love the presence after the K's, too. Just like he's done it before and knows he can do it again.
He'll do.

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