Changeup – The Most Important Pitch A Young Pitcher Can Learn

Opening Day 2015 for the Boston Red Sox was a huge success.  Runs, great pitching, a revamped offense, and that glorious hope of getting back to the championship level of play Red Sox fans want and let’s face it, demand.  Clay Buchholz won his first start and looked very, very sharp.  I’ve watched CB for quite a few years now.  The photo above was taken in the grassy centerfield area of McCoy Stadium about 6 years ago of Clay warming up.

Palming a baseball

One of the many pitches in Clay Buchholz’s arsenal on the mound is a changeup.  A changeup is essentially a definition of itself – it is a change of speed from a pitcher’s fastball.  Although curveballs, sliders, and knuckleballs could technically be considered changeups, their purpose is more about changing the angle of how the ball moves toward the plate.  A changeup (see the grip in the photo above) is designed to fool the batter and “throw off” their timing at the plate.  Most Red Sox pitchers such as Buchholz can reach 90 to sometimes almost 100 miles an hour on a fastball.  Their changeup, if throw correctly, will be thrown roughly 10 to 15 miles an hour slower.  This change of speed affects the timing of the batter and thus, the chess game between pitcher and batter ensues.

 

Practicing a chageup pitch

A changeup is one of the first pitches I learned to throw and it was an effective pitch when I threw it correctly.   No matter what level of baseball you are playing in this Spring, try learning the changeup. Ask your coach to show you and see how effective it can be for you.

 

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