Does developing a changeup affect the velocity of your fastball?
I read an article yesterday regarding Michael Pineda’s shoulder injury and why nobody should “force’ a change-up on any pitcher.
The argument was that Pineda already had two great pitches and many successful pitchers have only two great pitches and have a hard time commanding three. Everyone was putting pressure on Pineda to throw this third pitch and it was the changeup that messed his shoulder up.
There are a few things I would like to write regarding these statements.
How can anyone say that the changeup was the cause of this pitchers problem?
Can a pitcher injure their arm throwing any pitch? Of course
If a changeup is thrown properly then it won’t put any more pressure on the shoulder than any other pitch. Especially when a pitcher uses the same pitching mechanics as he does when he throws his fastball. The same mechanics should be used throwing any pitch.
If using the same mechanics with the change-up as you do a fastball, why would the change-up decrease the velocity of your fastball? The only time a change-up affects your fastball velocity is if you alter your pitching mechanics when you throw it. For example, guiding the change or throwing the pitch slower. You don’t want to do that. You’ve got to learn to throw each pitch with the same mechanics and explosiveness as you do with any other pitch.
The truth of the matter is you want to throw the change-up as hard as you can, just like a fastball. The only thing you change is your wrist and forearm at release of the pitch. The thumb and index finger of your throwing hand should point to the catcher when you throw the pitch. Most pitchers just grip their change differently and take some speed off of it. I can see how this can affect the velocity of your fastball because you are training your body to be less explosive toward home plate.
The change of speed with your change-up occurs due to the position of your wrist and forearm angle at release of the pitch. You physically can’t throw the change-up as fast as your fastball if you are throwing the change correctly. (with that circle or the C facing the catcher at release of the pitch; making a circle or c with your thumb and index finger.)
In addition to the argument that a changeup affects pop on your fastball, the article argues the fact that a pitcher doesn’t have to have three pitches to be successful. I agree with that because you see pitchers like Mariano Rivera succeed with only one; his cutter. It was indeed a nasty pitch that threw batters off because it moved like crazy and it was a very deceiving pitch.
However, would starting pitchers who only have one or two great pitches be much better off with three?
And can a pitcher really master three different pitches he can command at any time in the game?
Starting pitchers are much more effective with three pitches for a variety of reasons. One, they become an unpredictable pitcher. They keep the hitter off balance with change of speed and movement. Isn’t that your job as a pitcher anyway; to keep hitters off balance? Isn’t that what makes hitting one of the hardest things to succeed in in any sport?
When you can throw three pitches that you can locate, have movement and allow you to change speeds often; then the odds of you winning more games as a pitcher increase drastically.
I know pitchers can develop three great pitches and have command of all of them. We see this all of the time in the MLB.
After working with more than 3,000 pitchers and having the opportunity to instruct them how to throw different pitches; I’m certain in can be done! It makes them much more effective on the mound. They dominate keeping the hitters off balance the entire game when all pitches are working.
If you are looking to add more pop to your fastball and add another pitch to your arsenal this off-season, I am confident I can help you succeed!
In my pitching mechanics/how to teach pitchers DVD I teach you how to maximize velocity getting the most out of what you’ve got. You will simply learn to throw faster!
In addition I created the pitching grips and workouts DVD. Here you will learn how to throw different off speed pitches. You will learn how to get more movement out of each one of your pitches. This is extremely important to your success because movement destroys hitters.
I encourage you to be your best on the mound and gain as much knowledge as you can about how to throw a baseball so you can get the edge over your competition.
Your Friends in Baseball,
The Pitching Academy