Archer’s Changeup | The Process Report

Archer’s Changeup

One thing that stood out from Archer’s 2014 debut was that his oftdiscussed changeup never made an appearance. There was a reason to that, which Chris Archer explained to Casey Stern of MLBNetwork Radio earlier today.

Previously, Archer has stated that his usage of the pitch is dictated by his comfort with it.  The pitch has sometimes made just a cameo appearances as was the case in his final start of 2013 against Toronto, or it is a featured pitch as it was when he threw it 18 times on June 18th at Fenway Park. The decision to leave it in the bullpen on Thursday night was not one dictated by comfort, but by game plan. As Archer explained to Stern:

You have a game plan for every team, and the changeup was the third-best pitch to throw to anyone in their (Toronto’s) lineup. The analytic team fully prepares us to put us in the best position to win, including how our stuff plays against the hitters’ swings. There were some guys I could use the changeup with, but the situation never really arose to where I would have to use it so I stuck with my 1 (fastball) and 2 (slider).

Archer has made four career starts against Toronto, and the changeup has rarely needed to make an appearance. He has thrown 371 pitches to Toronto batters: 244 fastballs, 118 sliders, and just 9 changeups. Over those four starts, he has held Blue Jays batters to a .217/.283/.289 slash line in 92 plate appearances.

Archer went on to say that the exclusion of his changeup in that outing does not mean he has lost any confidence in the pitch and explained his grip and purpose for the pitch:

I walked away from spring training very confident with it. I  throw a basic circle-change to offset the hitter’s timing. It isn’t a swing and miss pitch yet, but it may get there. It is more of something to complement my fastball and make it better and it can help my slider as batters won’t see it as often…. I’m comfortable throwing it to righties and lefties.

Perhaps his changeup will make its 2014 debut on the road in Kansas City as he squares off against fireballing phenom Yordano Ventura.

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