Jake Odorizzi Impresses | The Process Report

Jake Odorizzi Impresses

Jake Odorizzi made his season debut on Friday night.

The positives about the 24-year-old’s game have always included his athleticism (he played wide receiver in high school), his pitching aptitude, and his ability to throw four average-or-better offerings for strikes. He showed all those against the Rangers. What made the appearance a pleasant surprise was Odorizzi’s improvements in his areas of weakness: command and lack of a true outpitch.

Odorizzi mixed his pitches well throughout the night. He used each of the four to begin at least three at-bats, and pounded the zone with all but one: his slider. Try as he did, Odorizzi just couldn’t locate the slider within the zone, or place it in a spot where a batter would reach for it. Nonetheless, Odorizzi’s other pitches were on point. He spotted his fastball well, used his low-70s curveball to steal a few strikes, and displayed big-time confidence in his new split-change.

Confidence is a hard thing to quantify, but Odorizzi showed full trust in his new toy. He started the game with a change, and went on to throw 31 in 95 pitches. The quantity might impress, yet it was the quality that encourages. The pitch looked good, and Odorizzi used it well. He kept the ball down in the zone, used it against lefties and righties alike, and showed no concern for the count. Odorizzi even went through two sequences where he threw four and five consecutive change-of-paces to the same batter.

Odorizzi wasn’t perfect on the night—he went through a stretch where he couldn’t finish batters, and another where Texas batters were able to hit a few ropes off his fastball—but it’s hard to argue with the end results against a quality Rangers lineup. If Odorizzi continues to show this kind of command, and this kind of belief in his split-change, then he’s going to have a dandy season.

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