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Prospect Watch: Changeups Likened to a Cartoon Rabbit’s

Posted By Carson Cistulli On June 20, 2014 @ 10:59 am In Prospect Watch | 12 Comments

Each weekday during the minor-league season, FanGraphs is providing a status update on rookie-eligible players. Note that Age denotes the relevant prospect’s baseball age (i.e. as of July 1st of the current year); Top-15, the prospect’s place on Marc Hulet’s preseason organizational list; and Top-100, that same prospect’s rank on Hulet’s overall top-100 list.

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For reasons that remain opaque even to himself, the author has composed the present edition of the Watch by, first, searching the internet for instances of the phrase “bugs bunny changeup” since April 1st of the currently year and then, second, identifying which of the changeups in question belonged to pitchers who are both rookie-eligible and also tied to a major-league organization at some level. The five prospects who follow are the resulting results.

Note: players marked with an asterisk (*) are recent draftees who remain unsigned.

Jeff Antigua, LHP, Chicago Cubs (Profile)
Who He Is
A native of Santo Domingo and current 24-year-old left-hander in the Cubs system.

Piece Citing “Bugs Bunny Changeup”
“Cubs System Sonogram Wants The Lefty” by Tim Huwe, published May 6th at Cubs SB Nation site Bleed Cubbie Blue (link).

Relevant Passage
“Antigua was the starter in the first game I went to in Kane County. He has matured since then, after being sent (briefly) back to extended spring training. He features a ‘Bugs Bunny’ change-up.”

Stat Line
10 G, 0 GS, 17.2 IP, 16.4% K, 2.7% BB at Triple-A Iowa

Footage/Other Notes
Here’s an image of Antigua throwing his changeup, definitely:

Antigua

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Alex Claudio, LHP, Texas Rangers (Profile)
Who He Is
A 22-year-old left-hander and former 27th-round selection by the Rangers in 2010 out of a Puerto Rico high school.

Piece Citing “Bugs Bunny Changeup”
“Minor League Roundup: Not So Fast, My Friend” by Josh Nottis, published June 10th at Baseball America (link).

Relevant Passage
“This wasn’t a great day for Carolina League prospect production, admittedly. Still, Claudio and his Bugs Bunny changeup (in the mid-to-high 60s on the radar gun) are incredibly fun to watch. In his first start since 2012, Claudio wasn’t bad at all. He lasted five scoreless innings while scattering six hits and two walks. He struck out three and his strikeout-to-walk ratio this season stands at 44-to-8. This was probably no more than a spot start, but it was a pretty good one at that.”

Stat Line
15 G, 2 GS, 47.1 IP, 29.1% K, 5.0% BB at High-A Myrtle Beach

Footage/Other Notes
Here’s a GIF captured from a longer reel of Claudio’s changeups prepared by our own Nathaniel Stoltz:

Claudio

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James Harrington, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies* (Profile)
Who He Is
An 18-year-old high-school right-hander from Arizona both committed to the University of New Mexico but also just drafted in the 33rd round by the Phillies.

Piece Citing “Bugs Bunny Changeup”
“2014 Season Preview: A Look at Division 1 Teams” by rbinaz, published March 2nd at The Inside Pitch (link).

Relevant Passage
“The [Mesquite High School] Wildcats have 2 front line arms in witch-like lefty Matt Heibult and RHP James Harrington, a 90 guy with a bugs bunny change up that should be outlawed.”

Stat Line
65.2 IP, 2.45 ERA in Arizona prep league

Footage/Other Notes
Here’s a recent image of Harrington probably throwing, but also maybe not throwing, his changeup:

Harrington

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Kodi Medeiros, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers (Profile)
Who He Is
An 18-year-old left-hander from Hawaii who committed to Pepperdine, but was recently selected 12th overall by — and signed for $2.5 million with — the Brewers.

Piece Citing “Bugs Bunny Changeup”
“National POY Watch: Kodi Medeiros” by Joel Beck, published at USA Today (link).

Relevant Passage
“In fact, some observers believe the 6-foot-1, 195-pound lefty is so good on the mound he could get Major League hitters out right now. With a mid-90s fastball, a Bugs Bunny change-up and a nasty splitter, Medeiros has a chance to become the first Hawaiian ever to be selected in the first round of the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.”

Stat Line
43.2 IP, 1.12 ERA in Hawaii prep league

Footage/Other Notes
Selected from a larger reel prepared by Steve Fiorindo, here’s either Medeiros’s changeup or at least some other sort of pitch with excellent fade at which a batter is swinging and missing:

Medeiros

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Nathan Thornhill, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies* (Profile)
Who He Is
A 22-year-old right-handed senior at the University of Texas and recent draftee (13th round, unsigned) of the Phillies.

Piece Citing “Bugs Bunny Changeup”
“Big 12 baseball: Conference’s best pitchers share their ‘out pitch’” by Trent Shadid, published May 23rd at NewsOK (link).

Relevant Passage
“‘I haven’t named any of my pitches, but I guess the Longhorn Network named my change the Bugs Bunny changeup,’ Thornhill said. ‘It has a lot of movement to it, so they said it’s almost cartoon-like.’”

Stat Line
20 G, 15 GS, 105.0 IP, 5.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 in NCAA Big 12 Conference

Footage/Other Notes
Here’s an image that accompanies Shadid’s article and which illustrates how Thornhill grips his changeup:

Thornill Change


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