FG On Fox: Nine Things to Know about the Best Changeup in Baseball

If the baseball season ended today, an awful lot of people would be awfully confused, and the Seattle Mariners would qualify for the playoffs. There’s no bigger reason for the Mariners’ success than Felix Hernandez, and there’s no bigger reason for Felix Hernandez’s success than his changeup. Felix featured his change as the American League’s starting pitcher in Tuesday’s All-Star Game, and here’s that pitch putting away Yasiel Puig:

FelixPuig

Here’s that pitch putting away Troy Tulowitzki:

FelixTulo

Good hitters, both of those. Good pitches, both of those. By this point Felix is a household name, and it’s no secret that he offers a dominant changeup, or cambio. He’s been throwing the pitch for years, for almost exactly as long as he’s been a Cy Young contender.

But sometimes it isn’t enough to just know something. With Felix pitching as well as he ever has, it seems like a good time to get more familiar with the best pitch he throws, that’s also one of the best pitches in the league. Let’s review some facts about the Felix Hernandez changeup.

Read the rest at Just A Bit Outside.




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Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.


16 Responses to “FG On Fox: Nine Things to Know about the Best Changeup in Baseball”

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  1. dang says:

    “Felix’s whiff rate has been 46%, and his groundball rate has been 71%.”

    I’d like to see a few other numbers – hitter’s swing rate, and foul rate of the pitch. Specifically trying to figure out – of the KFC’s (king felix changeup) swung at, how many of them are not grounders, whiffs, or foul balls?

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  2. Kevin says:

    Tulo’s reaction was priceless. Not often you get a premium hitter in amazement that he just whiffed on a pitch.

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  3. james says:

    the only problem with this article is that felix does not have the best changeup in baseball… hamels anyone?

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    • King Buzzo's Fro says:

      do you feel that? that’s me punching you from across the country

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    • Spa City says:

      Hernandez is a great pitcher. Hamels is a decent pitcher whom people occasionally (and mistakenly) view as great. Nothing Hamels has to offer should be in any discussion of the best (whatever) in baseball.

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      • James says:

        In your opinion “blah blah blah” numbers for you:

        2013-2014
        wCH/C (value per change thrown)
        Hamels 2.86
        Hernandez 2.36

        wCH (overall value)
        Hamels 35.1
        Hernandez 31.1

        2011-2014
        wCH/C (value per change thrown)
        Hamels 2.74
        Hernandez 2.28

        wCH (overall value)
        Hamels 78.2
        Hernandez 61.8

        The number one fact that you need to know about the best change up in baseball is that it belongs to Hamels and I rest my case.

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    • Ben Denissen says:

      @Perhaps – That stat your sorting by is cumulative, like WAR. Hamels’ ch-value is so high over that span because he used it almost 10% more than King Felix did, and still barely came out ahead. The corresponding rate-stat is the column to the right, Ch-C, which normalizes it on number of pitches thrown. Hamels relies on his change more because his other pitches aren’t as good (and he’s a lefty facing majority righties), but when he does use it, its not as good as Hernandez on a per pitch basis

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      • Math Guy says:

        36 runs =/= barely coming out ahead. Also, is it not true that the effectiveness of a pitch diminishes with increased use, so that Hamels’ frequency results in a less than proportionate increase in runs saved.

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      • Math Guy says:

        Also, in 2013, he only threw a change up 24.9% of the time, versus 23% for Felix. His Changeup still graded out as much better.

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  4. Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps says:

    I understand all that. I was replying to Spa City (don’t know why my comment didn’t appear under his) and simply trying to show that the OP claim wasn’t as ridiculous as he made it out to be. Even if the OP was wrong it’s still not laughable. But even if you do look at Ch-C for last season Hamels was actually MORE valuable on a pitch by pitch basis than Felix’s. So. Perhaps it is better? Perhaps Perhaps Perhaps.

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    • James says:

      Thanks for the help perhaps, but its not a question really.. the numbers directly correlate to the fact that Hamels change is better. Is he a better pitcher absolutely not, I am not making that claim I am saying that pitch for pitch his CHANGE is better than Hernandez’s change and the proof is farther up in response to the previous tools opinions.

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  5. MustBunique says:

    Camera angle is brutal.

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  6. Stan "The Boy" Taylor says:

    ENO! Can we get a grips piece on this weapon? FG should fly you to wherever he agreed to take the interview.

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