08 April 2011
Is Chris Tillman Injured or just a Taun Taun?
Posted by Jon Shepherd
This Spring Training there were murmurs from opposing scouts that Chris Tillman had turned into a junk pitcher. He was no longer using his fastball as much and was using it as a show me pitch. Instead, he had increased his use of his secondary pitches. I had thought he was doing this just to get more feel on them and get ready for the season. Last night, it did not look so good.
Swing and Miss: 2
Velocity: 87.3 +/- 1.1 mph (89.5 mph max)
Horizontal Run: -1.8 +/- 1.7 inches
Vertical Drop: 11.0 +/- 1.8 inches
In comparison, this is what he did on July 10, 2010:
Swing and Miss: 2
Velocity: 91.4 +/- 1.2 mph (93.5 mph max)
Horizontal Run: -3.4 +/- 1.6 inches
Vertical Drop: 10.2 +/- 2.1 inches
Whenever I see a difference of 3 mph or more, it concerns me. That loss of velocity is a major hindrance. Comparing the two starts, Tillman was not missing bats with his fastball, but that loss of speed can give a batter more time to square up and make more solid contact. Compounding that with Tillman getting less movement on his fastball and it becomes more of a concern.
Another important aspect of pitching is to have a nice delta between your fastball and change up. The wider the margin while keeping the same arm action will affect the batter's ability to time. Last July the difference between the fastball and change up was 9.5 mph while last night it was 6.8 mph. The movement also looks a bit flatter. Last year it had more horizontal runs and more sink. The curve balls look different too, but both could be useful. Last year, the pitch was harder and had more drop. This year, it is about 3 mph slower with more horizontal movement and slightly less drop.
It may have just been a bad night.
How did it compare to last Saturday?
He was humming along at 89.4 with a max of 93.5 mph. His curve balls was about the same speed, but had almost twice as much movement. The delta on his fastball to change up was 11 mph. So . . . this was not the same pitcher. Tillman, as mentioned earlier, had diminished velocity during the Spring. His game last Saturday would count as that. However, last night was worse as his max speed was 4 mph less. Hopefully, it is just him not being able to adapt to the cold.