Juan Carlos Oviedo is Home | The Process Report

Juan Carlos Oviedo is Home

By now it’s no secret the Rays might encourage pitchers to use their changeup against same-handed batters. After all, the three right-handed starters with the highest rate of changeups thrown against right-handed batters since 2011 are Jeremy Hellickson, Alex Cobb, and James Shields. Roberto Hernandez has upped his usage of changeups versus righties this season. Even Alex Torres, in his brief stay in the majors this season, has shown a willingness to throw his changeup against lefties. Perhaps it’s not an organizational thing, but it feels closer to that than a total coincidence.

Which is why it’s not too surprising to learn Juan Carlos Oviedo likes to throw his changeup against righties. Among right-handed relievers since 2011 Oviedo ranks 12th in changeup usage rate. Fernando Rodney ranks third, and Joel Peralta would rank fifth if his splitter were classified as a changeup. Former Rays like Joaquin Benoit and Shawn Camp also rank in the 90th percentile or better.

The changeup is often used against opposite-handed batters, and there’s even stigma associated with throwing an inside changeup. Oviedo is willing to eschew both truisms. Add in the natural deception offered by his arm speed and he’s taken advantage of an inefficiency of sorts, just as other Rays pitchers have in recent years. Although Oviedo may not pitch for the club until next season, rest assured that he’ll fit in when he does.

Stats courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info

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