When it comes to Julio Teheran, I tend to relax my body and allow the positive emotions to wash over me. I contemplate his ceiling, his expected production, his eventual peak, and lastly - but perhaps most frequently - his changeup. Particularly, I idly ponder his changeup circa 2010-2011. This is the pitch, aside from his mid 90s fastball, that drew praise from the scouting world. I recall his brief demo in 2011 where he made Ryan Howard look foolish on a changeup with spectacular vertical break and armside movement, and that memory is burned into my memory. Finally, I long for it again.
The changeup is a feel pitch, so when it essentially vanished from his repertoire in 2012-2013, I went through the five stages of grief, before eventually arriving at a more cogent conclusion: Julio lost his feel, and his confidence, in the pitch.
What follows are Julio Teheran's pitch values for the very young (and likewise, SSS disclaimer) 2014 season. With these findings, unsubstantial though they may be, I feel an inkling of hope once again for this much lauded pitch.
Julio Teheran 2014 Pitch Values
We'll start with usage. The more frequently a pitcher uses a pitch, the more he has confidence in it, and confidence is ultimately derived from performance. This makes sense to me. All values are of PitchF/X origin.
2013 CH: 4.9%
2014 CH: 9.0%
Velocity for the 2013 and 2014 CH remained the same, at 81.8 MPH. An 8-12 MPH variance from the fastball offering is desirable for an offspeed pitch. 2014 FB velocity clocks in at 91.6 MPH, so we're in that desirable range. I wouldn't be too bothered by the decline in his 2014 FB velocity, as early season decline in velocity is a fairly classic finding across the sport. This doesn't stop the sensationalized speculation from journalism, of course.
On to pitch values. Pitch value is derived from contact%, movement, command. These numbers are weighted over 100 pitches thrown of the same type.
2013 wCH/C: -1.27
2014 wCH/C: 5.17
Again, SSS. Yet, this confirms the eye test for me. While some folks on Twitter pondered whether the pitch was a slider or a changeup, it's apparent that the changeup vs. lefties provides real value. I don't know about you, but I'll be watching intently for future changeup performance. It's an important pitch for any starting pitcher for neutralizing platoons, and moreso for Julio Teheran who once implemented it as his best offering.
You can thank Ervin Santana's resurrected changeup for this post. A good changeup gives me hope for future performance, and with the NL East being dense in quality left handed hitters, it's a good way to get by.
Anything that will aid in striking out Bryce Harper gets my adoration.
Of note, Julio's slider value in small sample has declined.
2013 wSL/C: 0.43
2014 wSL/C: -0.43
But his curveball (used 6.8% of the time on the young season) has fared better.
2013 wCB/C: 0.36
2014 wCB/C: 3.10
So, what do YOUR eyeballs tell you? Do you wear the same rose-colored glasses that I wear? Or is the small sample performance of the changeup merely an aberration?
This post, again, was brought to you by Ervin Santana's changeup.