Jake Odorizzi Goes Primal | The Process Report

Jake Odorizzi Goes Primal

In the past, Rays’ manager Joe Maddon has used the word “primal” to describe a pitcher getting back to the basics. In most cases this means getting back to a fastball-first approach while using your secondary offerings is support the heater. Since being recalled on Friday, Jake Odorizzi has been down right primitive.

Odorizzi has made two multi-inning relief appearances in the past week. On Friday, he essentially saved the day by providing three and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief – all within the extra innings of an 18-inning epic. In the appearance, he allowed just a hit and walk to the 13 batters he faced. Keep in mind, he started the Triple-A championship just three days before and threw a bullpen session in between appearances.

On Tuesday night, Odorizzi was rewarded with an actual save (even though the environment was much less strenuous). Against the Yankees, he pitched the final three innings of a 7-0 shutout, earning the “super save.” Once again, he allowed just a hit and a walk.

As a starter, Odorizzi uses four pitches with regularity. He leads with a low-90s fastball which is backed by a mid-80s changeup, a slider/cutter hybrid thrown with similar velocity as the off-speed, and a breaking ball that can dip down into the upper sixties. Meanwhile, the reliever version is much more meat-and-potatoes with heavy emphasis on the meat.

Odorizzi threw 96 combined pitches against the Orioles and Yankees. Of those, 79 were fastballs. In shorter spurts, his fastball has gained a bit of velocity, but nothing earth shattering. However, he has shown a bit more command of the heater.

As you can see, Odorizzi likes working to his arm-side, but at times would leave fastballs in hittable areas.

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In his most recent appearances, he is still working arm-side and up, but has concentrated the bulk of his fastballs to one or two main spots along the edges of the zone.

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One noteworthy change Odorizzi has made since leaving the Royals and joining the Rays is his position on the rubber. Formerly on the third-base side of things, he now positions himself toward the first-base side with half of his foot being completely free of the rubber. In theory, this may aide in commanding the heater a bit more.

The idea of Odorizzi, the starter, using 80 percent fastballs does not seem like a sound one. That said, even if he does not repeat a similar gameplan in the rotation, there may be merit to him exploring the primeval approach. First, if tossing more fastballs as a reliever in September 2013 helps him learn how to better command the pitch, it will likely enhance his changeup and breaking pitches when he is working as a starter in September 2014. Second, if Odorizzi realizes that he can get outs at the major-league level, feeling that he belongs “here” instead of just happy to be “here,” then the Rays might have another stage three performer on their hands.



2 Comments

  1. […] season, Odorizzi reached stage three of his career – the I belong here, I can do this phase. He now has two months to prove to it to […]

  2. […] Odorizzi made a slight change to his process and tried to go primal with his fastball the second time through the lineup, but made no adjustments to where he located […]

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