Percival’s changeup

Ken Rosenthal takes a look at Troy Percival’s newest pitch. It’s not everyday that a 38 year-old learns a new changeup. But “learned a new pitch” ranks right up there with “Lasik surgery”, “finally healthy,” and “best shape of my life” as fake-o excuses for altered performance. What do the data say?

According to his player page at Fangraphs, Percival threw the following assortment of pitches last year:

Fastball    76%
Slider       7%
Curveball   13%
Changeup     4%

This year, in a small sample size:

Fastball    77%
Slider       1%
Curveball   11%
Changeup     12%

He’s nearly abandoned the slider and is throwing a change much more frequently. Whether it’s a new changeup or not, we’ll have to take his word for. His player card at Josh Kalk’s site shows that the change moves left-right like his fastball, but has a sharp downward bite. I don’t know if his rarely seen pre-2008 changeup had the same action, though.

Percival has pitched very well this year – a 1.52 FIP – so maybe there’s something to this new changeup business. Thanks for the scoop, Ken.

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