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97marlin

Trevor Richards "Great Changeup"?

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I'm so confused. I was bored at work sifting through some of the statcast data and I got curious about Trevor Richards. Every time I've watched him the announcers talk about his changeup. I know his fastball has something to be desired but the changeup has been a dominant pitch. It was especially devastating in the last start where he finally showed some control. This lead to the question how did he change last start to be more effective. The answer was equally obvious from the statcast data he increased his use of his slider, essentially using both his other two mediocre pitches to allow his changeup to be a true outpitch. This is why I'm making this post.

His changeup doesn't seem to be that special, if anything it seems to be a bad pitch based on what I think I should be looking for. It almost seems like more of a slow fastball than a true changeup. What I mean is a good changeup should have a slower spin rate than the fastball, and that slower spin rate somehow causes more swing and misses. What I don't understand is how his most devastating pitch doesn't have that same characteristic of other successful changeups. His fastball, changeup, and slider for that matter have the same spin rate across the board. 

Below is the statcast data, and the fangraphs info showing the pitchval. if someone could explain what I'm missing I would be very thankful.

https://baseballsavant.mlb.com/savant-player/trevor-richards-670950?stats=statcast-r-pitching-mlb&season=2018

https://www.fangraphs.com/statss.aspx?playerid=19309&position=P#pitchvalues

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I figured it out!

So essentially because the change up is so much slower, the spin rate being faster makes it an effective pitch. The reason everyone else's spin rates are slower is due to the fact that the literal speed of the changeup is slower. In fact what makes Richards effective is his spin rate on his changeup. With that in mind what makes his slider so pedestrian is it's lack of spin for the speed of the pitch. Essentially I answered my own question above. The fact that it does almost appear to be a slow fastball is what makes it so good.

https://www.drivelinebaseball.com/2016/11/spin-rate-what-we-know-now/

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