Collette: On pitchers adding a new pitch

From SABR member Jason Collette at FanGraphs on March 11, 2014:

A variety of indicators tell us that Spring Training is here. The “Best Shape of My Life” stories, the ” _____ has reported to camp” tweets, and pitchers coming to camp talking about new pitches.

When not staring out the window waiting for spring to arrive, pitchers have a lot of time to review the previous season. As Albert Einstein famously said, insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. That quote fits pitchers extremely well. Sometimes, they themselves realize their process is not working and want to add a new pitch. Survivor bias can set in for pitchers as they see new blood coming to camp and want to stand out from the crowd in camp. Other times, the team will have seen something and want to correct it.

Recently retired pitcher Jensen Lewis believes other factors are in play as well. “Adding pitches in camp rarely happens for an established pitcher unless the following happens,” Lewis said.

  • Performance of the pitcher suffers so much that the front office or coaching staff decides it is necessary to add a pitch to survive at the major league level
  • A veteran pitcher adds something to compensate for a loss of stuff/velocity
  • You add a pitch by mistake just by playing catch or trying something different in a side session

Read the full article here:

Originally published: March 11, 2014. Last Updated: March 11, 2014.