Laurila: Brandon McCarthy’s new changeup

From SABR member David Laurila at on May 2, 2012:

As FanGraphs readers know, Brandon McCarthy made some notable changes prior to the 2011 season. As Ryan Campbell wrote last October, the A’s right-hander fined-tuned his mechanics and traded in his four-seamer for a two-seamer and a cutter. The results of his data-driven adjustments were striking. Armed with a new repertoire and approach, McCarthy emerged as a frontline starter. He wasn’t satisfied. McCarthy is in the process of perfecting a new pitch, which he talked about prior to last night’s game at Fenway Park.

Brandon McCarthy on his new changeup: “When I started this process, I knew that I needed a changeup and that I wasn’t going to go back to my old one. Finding a grip that will work has kind of been a slow process. I need something that I can throw for strikes, where I want it, and with enough action. It also needs to be slow enough.

“My old changeup was something nobody else throws. I gripped it with my ring finger, pinky finger and thumb. I didn’t want to go back to that, so I’ve kind of flirted with different grips. Some feel really good, but when you throw the ball it doesn’t do what you want it to do. [The new] one has sort of stuck the last month or two. It’s close to a split-finger grip, but it’s not as far down on the ball. My fingers kind of run along the sweet spot, just outside the seams. Now it’s a matter of finding out which counts it will work in and who the best candidates are for it. I need to get it into more game situations to see what the reaction is to it.”

Read the full article here:

Related link: Listen to Brandon McCarthy talk about how sabermetrics has changed his approach to the game at the SABR Analytics Conference (March 15, 2012)

Originally published: May 3, 2012. Last Updated: May 3, 2012.