Matt Moore Changes The Process Versus Dunn, White Sox | The Process Report

Matt Moore Changes The Process Versus Dunn, White Sox

Rays’ manager Joe Maddon believes that the fastball is still the best pitch in baseball. The thought here being is that everything else in a pitcher’s arsenal is enhanced by the ability to throw quality strikes with the heater. The skipper’s secondary offering of choice is the changeup.

Since 2010, Rays’ pitchers have thrown the most changeups in the majors. They lead the league in changeup percentage once again in 2013, paced by Alex Cobb, Jeremy Hellickson, and Roberto Hernandez, who rank first, second, and third in changeup percentage among American League starters with a minimum of 75 innings pitched. In the bullpen, Fernando Rodney and Alex Torres are two of just three AL relievers (minimum 20 innings) who throw their changeup more than 30 percent of the time. Recently, Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus talked to several Rays about the pitch and its usage throughout the organization; especially against same-side hitters.

Although it trails his right-handed rotation mates, it looks as if Matt Moore‘s changeup is starting to become a feature item. Over the first two months of the season, Moore preferred his breaking ball as a handcuff to his fastball. Meanwhile, over the past month, the off-speed pitch has surpassed the hook in choice. He has thrown more changeups in his last seven starts (June-present) than he did in his first 11 outings.

Moore’s change (no pun) in selection was on display against the White Sox on Saturday when he set a career-high in changeup usage (31.4 percent). Not only was the pitch plentiful, but highly effective. He used the changeup to complete five of his six strikeouts; all of them swinging. He also was able to induce four ground-ball outs with it.

Despite the organization’s support of same-side changeups, Moore’s usage thus far has been traditional. Since joining the majors in 2011 four percent of his pitches to left-handed batters have been changeups. Coming into Saturday’s contest, he threw just 15 off-speed pitches to lefties all season according to ESPN Stats & Info. He nearly doubled that total against the White Sox, tossing nine changeups against left-handed batters.

Earlier in the day, Jason Collette briefly hit on Moore’s light use of the changeup versus left-handed batters. He cited Chicago slugger Adam Dunn as an interesting matchup.

Dunn went 0-3 against Moore with a pair of strikeouts. Both punch-outs came off changeups. In each instance, Moore followed a mid-90s fastball with a mid-80s changeup in sequence. Of the nine same-side changeups thrown by Moore, six came against Dunn; nearly all below the zone.

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“For the most part, he pitched us a lot different than he had pretty much all year” Dunn said after the game. “He’s throwing lefties a lot more changeups than normal. He had a really good changeup.”

Considering the organization’s fondness of the changeup – in general and to the same-side – the early returns on Moore’s adjustment may lead to further advocacy of using the pitch against batters on both sides of the plade.

Data and visuals courtesy of ESPN Stats & Info.



One Comment

  1. […] stretch. Armed with a plus fastball and good breaking ball, the southpaw has become a company man, embracing his changeup more and more; so much so he is now throwing it against fellow […]

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