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Because Roy Halladay needed an additional pitch

Aug 10, 2010, 3:33 PM EDT

Ever read those stories about how some insanely rich guy made a business deal to make him even more insanely rich?  That’s how pitchers must feel when they hear how Roy Halladay picked up a new trick or two in the offseason:

In spring training, Halladay worked hard at developing his changeup, a
pitch that had always been a distant fourth option behind his
two-seamer, cutter and curveball. First, with some consultation from
pitching coach Rich Dubee, he changed his grip on the pitch. Instead of
nestling the ball in his palm, a technique that pitchers like Cole
Hamels and Jamie Moyer use to loosen their grip on the ball and lower
its velocity while maintaining arm speed, Halladay began using a
split-finger grip. Next, he spent much of the latter part of spring
training throwing it over and over and over again. Now, he is more
comfortable with the pitch than ever before.

Roy Halladay was already more talented and successful than just about every active pitcher in baseball, and if he didn’t change a thing in his approach we probably wouldn’t have really noticed. The fact that he spent his spring trying to get even better and did so — note the article’s analysis of his strikeout rates — is truly terrifying.

(Thanks to Jonny5 for the heads up) 

  1. Trevor B - Aug 10, 2010 at 3:56 PM

    Halladay used to have a 4th pitch that was essentially a change up thrown in his palm, many called it a palmball. He stopped using it a while ago, however, due to its ineffectiveness. Good for him for taking his old clunker of a pitch and making is useful though!

  2. SouthofHeaven - Aug 10, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    It’s only terrifying to you, Braves fan.
    (though I might sing a different tune if we get a Yankees/Phils World Series rematch)

  3. Steve C - Aug 10, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    Quick look at his splits and it would appear that it is helping attack righties. It stays relatively flat like a slider but breaks in towards the batter like his fastball, only more so.

  4. Utley's hair - Aug 10, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    “Ever read those stories about how some insanely rich guy made a business deal to make him even more insanely rich?”

    Wow…another shot at A-Roid? Too bad he can’t retire when he wants to. 😦

  5. Jonny5 - Aug 10, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    For real, Even Roy Halladay isn’t good enough for Roy Halladay. The man is a stud.

  6. Simon DelMonte - Aug 10, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    As a Mets fan, I so don’t want that rematch.
    But as a baseball fan, who isn’t salivating at the idea of CC vs Roy H?

  7. Scott - Aug 10, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    Oh COME ON. I mean, more power to him for learning a new pitch, but his strikeout rate is the evidence we’re pointing to here? He moved from the toughest hitting division in the DH league (and all of baseball) to the NL and added 0.34 Ks per 9 innings from last year. Confirmation bias is an understatement.
    Looking at FanGraphs pitch types, we get what I’d say is an accurate assessment – Halladay’s change has been extremely effective this year, but he’s so damn good it’s still his 3rd best pitch. All in all, his other pitches are slightly more effective – probably more a function of the move to NL than developing a changeup. A new pitch is never a bad thing but the fact is Halladay was so awesome before it’s hard to make him better.

  8. Trevor B - Aug 10, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    You have to love guys like Halladay and Lee. They remain the best because they’re never satisfied with their game and always strive to make their game better. You can’t truly put a lot of pitchers into the same class as Halladay and Lee who are constantly working on thier game.

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