GIF: Hector Santiago Throws a Screwgie

It’s possible that the screwball Hector Santiago throws is actually not that great of a pitch. It doesn’t get a ton of whiffs or grounders, he seems to have lost control of it a bit, there’s a chance that using it less this year has led to more success, and mostly batters just don’t swing at it.

And yet, with famous screwgie throwers like Tug McGraw and Fernando Valenzuela backing him up, it’s worth trying to perfect.

Here’s a decent one, from his start against the Mets on May 22nd:


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Graphs: Baseball, Roto, Beer, brats (OK, no graphs for that...yet), repeat. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris.

15 Responses to “GIF: Hector Santiago Throws a Screwgie”

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  1. MITexan says:

    Am I missing something here? How is this a screwball?

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      I’ve watched so many of his screwballs, I’ll say this: I don’t know what his great screwball looks like. This was called a screwball, and it went the right velocity, but you’re right, looks to be going the wrong direction.

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    • Eno Sarris says:

      Yeah, check out Carson’s double GIFs below. It’s like his changeup, but it’s slower and drops more. I think this one was thrown inside. I hate the camera angle.

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      • tz says:

        Thanks for including. The screwball on this one does remind me of the pitch Valenzuela threw in its late down and out movement to righties.

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      • United States of says:

        Much better angle there.

        I was under the impression that a good screwgie would actually push harder in the opposite direction toward the end. This looks like it rounds off the end of a slow curveball’s downward arc.

        That can still be effective, I just thought the ‘screw’ portion would torque harder.

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        • Resolution says:

          I’d agree – but this dude’s real low 3/4 arm slot probably disallows that. The fact that he’s basically throwing (what appears to move like) a 12-6 curve from that arm slot is pretty impressive.

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          • Jacob says:

            I think you’re overstating how low his arm slot is.

            Either way, wrist angle can determine the arc on the curveball, though it becomes more difficult to throw and less deceptive the more the wrist angle and the arm angle differ.

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  2. Jacob says:

    He has reported that going to the bullpen caused him to can it, because he needs a long warm-up and sometimes a few innings of tinkering to get the release down. Still a work in progress, but he has added a changeup to compensate. The changeup makes his fastball better, but it’s not a good pitch. Dead straight, misses up in the zone constantly, and unsurprising gets hit for a lot of home runs. Given the lack of quality of his offspeed pitches, it speaks volumes that he still gets so many strikeouts and does so well.

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  3. Mr. Drummond says:

    But a query arises: Can one truly glean anything when the opponent is the Metropolitans of New York?

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  4. Choo says:

    It would be interesting to compare the grip and movement of Santiago’s screwball to the one thrown by Danny Herrera:

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  5. Benzedrine says:

    Here are some screwballs from Yoshinori Tateyama from last year:

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  6. Eminor3rd says:

    His screwball is bad and he leaves it up in the zone. It’s a gopher ball pitch — I wish he wouldn’t throw it because he clearly can;t keep it down.

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    • Jacob says:

      You are confusing it with the changeup. He has hardly thrown any actual screwgies this year and thus hasn’t really been hurt by them. The changeups, on the other hand..

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    • Jimbo says:

      If SC on the Pitch f/x page is recording it accurately, he’s thrown 46 so far this year (out of 937). Splits show wRC+ is 0, wRC is negative.

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  7. GoodasGoldy says:

    It’s a small sample size for his ML career, but Santiago performs significantly better across the board as a starter vs. reliever. It could have something to do with being able to gain a better feel for this pitch over the course of a game as a starter.

    I did some digging and found his greater effectiveness as a starter vs. reliever shows up in his minor league career splits as well. Here’s how his breakdown looks in both the minors and majors:

    STARTER:53 in, 1.21 WHIP, .196 BavgA, 4.6 bb/9, 10.7 K/9,.9 GO/AO%, 2.38era
    RELIEF:69 in, 1.491 WHIP,.233 BavgA, 5.1 bb/9, 8.8 K/9,.7 GO/AO, 3.89era

    STARTER:146in,1.24 WHIP, .232 BavgA, 3.7bb/9, 8.4 K/9, 1.28 GO/AO, 3.14era
    RELIEF:209in, 1.39 WHIP, .247 BavgA, 4.4bb/9, 10.4 K/9, .8 GO/AO, 3.78era

    The significantly better numbers as a starter in the minors is even more glaring when you consider his starts all came from high A ball (8), AA (15) and AAA (3). Whereas the vast majority of his relief work in the minors was between the Rookie Leagues and low A Ball. Almost any lefty with his FB racks up high K rates there.

    I can see now why Whitesox Mgmt recently said they were excited to get a long look at Santiago in the starter role with Peavy out. He’s got sleeper written all over him as a starter.

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