The LoHud Yankees Blog

A New York Yankees blog by Chad Jennings and the staff of The Journal News


Making a change

Posted by: Chad Jennings - Posted in Misc, Podcast on Mar 01, 2010 Print This Post Print This Post | Email This Post Email This Post

Andy

A.J. Burnett threw 30 pitches of live batting practice today. None of those pitches were curveballs, but he guessed that 12 of them were changeups. Burnett also guessed what the scouting report on his changeup might be for other teams.

“Has one. Never threw it. But he might,” he said.

Burnett spent the winter trying to improved a changeup that he has thrown “very occasionally” in his career. He threw nothing but fastballs and changeups today, and said he will probably throw nothing but fastballs and changeups through his first two or three starts of the spring.

“Watching CC throw last year, being a power guy and how much he uses it, just kind of opened my eyes a little bit,” Burnett said. “Why not work on something.”

Joe Girardi was sitting behind the batting cage while Burnett faced hitters, and said he liked what he saw in his No. 2 starter’s No. 3 pitch.

“I had some depth to it and some run to it,” Girardi said. “He threw some good ones.”

Here’s the Burnett audio. It’s worth listening for the last line: “I’m talking like a pitcher,” Burnett said. “What’s going on here?”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 
 

Advertisement

51 Responses to “Making a change”

  1. Carl March 1st, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    “Watching CC throw last year, being a power guy and how much he uses it, just kind of opened my eyes a little bit,” Burnett said. “Why not work on something.”

    Called it :)

  2. Erin March 1st, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Good for AJ :)

  3. Bronx Jeers March 1st, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Well, that sounds like good, old-fashioned maturity. :wink:

  4. RiveraBlues March 1st, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    Good for him. Hope he uses it effectively!

  5. John in Ohio March 1st, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Hope and change.

  6. m March 1st, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    Nice changeup, Chad. :P

  7. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 1st, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    LOL that’s hilarious – AJ has a future as a stand up comic after his career is done. If he fails, people can throw pies instead of tomatoes at him

  8. 108 stitches March 1st, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    It never hurts for a pitcher to add to his repertoire of pitches in the latter part of his career to keep the hitters guessing.

  9. Chad Jennings March 1st, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    You got it m!

  10. Warning Track Power March 1st, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    This is great news. I hope the pitch comes along enough for him to use that during the regular season.

  11. Erica - always OPPC March 1st, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    So apparently CitiField is falling apart. Hopefully not an omen for the Mets

    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/l.....IAZQQY4TbP

  12. CB March 1st, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    I really hope AJ follows through with this – he has a terrific change up, but he never uses it.

    This isn’t a new kind of story with AJ. When he was on the Blue Jays AJ used to talk about using his change up more very frequently, especially in spring training.

    He never did it though, despite talking about it quite a bit.

  13. upstate kate March 1st, 2010 at 3:20 pm

    Thanks Chad for all the audio you post.

  14. CB March 1st, 2010 at 3:24 pm

    AJ Burnett, circa 2008 with the Jays –

    “Burnett’s worked on the offspeed pitch in nearly every Spring Training over the course of his career, but he wants to begin utilizing the changeup more during the regular season — a point he reiterated once again on Sunday. Using three pitches — Burnett said he didn’t try any sliders against the Phils — he finished with three strikeouts and three walks.

    “With me, being a hard thrower,” Burnett said, “no matter what, they’re defending that heater, man. So the more confidence I have to throw that [changeup] in any count, I’m going to throw it. I’m just going to. I don’t care anymore. It’s going to help me and I realize that.” ”

    http://mlb.mlb.com/news/articl.....ed=rss_tor

  15. GreenBeret7 March 1st, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Burnett normally used the change-up about 8-10% of the time over the last 4 years until 2009 when he all but junked it for whatever reason. If he goes back to a 7-8% usage in a game, he’s going to scare the batters to Hell. Nobody wants to get caught thinking a change-up is coming and getting smoked by a 97 MPH fastball or expecting the heat and get caught looking at a floater over the plate.

  16. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 1st, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    CB, I assume it’s because he’s not confident in it. Maybe other people think it’s a good pitch for him, but if he doesn’t, then there’s no point in throwing it. The NJ.com article a few days ago quoted AJ as saying something to the effect of “we’ll see if I throw it during the season”. I think he’s aware that he’s promised to use the change before and hasn’t really followed through. That said, he also said in the article that he can’t trust it…….which would explain why he hasn’t thrown it.

    I suspect AJ really will use the change this year. First, he was disappointed (somewhat) in his performance last year in terms of walks and record (blaming himself for not taking advantage of a great offense). Secondly, he works hard. Lastly, I think AJ enjoys learning from pitchers he sees up close who have had great success. He worshipped Doc and he seems to feel the same way about CC. I remember a comment he once made about his Florida years when he sort of regretted that that young staff didn’t have any veterans to look to. In a way, he’s trying to learn to really pitch somewhat late in the game because he’s now had those mentors maybe he was looking for early in his career. We’ll see. In any case, he’s at least funny.

  17. blake March 1st, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    I think AJ should work on and use his change more. I do think it could help him but the lack of a change is not what’s kept him from the next level as a starter, its his spotty command of the pitches he already uses. That said, it would be a great out pitch if he can keep it down in the zone.

  18. stuckey March 1st, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    ‘Stuckey or Lets go Yankees,

    I am new to advanced stats. I find fangraphs hard to navigate. Do you know of any other stat sites that might be better to start with?”

    Dave F, despite what I suppose is impressions, I’m the wrong guy to ask. Not really a big sabremetrics guy my own self.

  19. CB March 1st, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    “Maybe other people think it’s a good pitch for him, but if he doesn’t, then there’s no point in throwing it. ”

    I don’t think that’s true at all. That’s just an argument for why things should stay the same. It’s always difficult to change.

    Young pitchers try to throw too hard all of the time. Why do they do so? Because they don’t have the confidence to throw a bit softer. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do. What they are confident about, makes them worse.

  20. GreenBeret7 March 1st, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Any pitcher that’s not smart enough to pick up information and ideas from guys like Halladay, Pettitte, Rivera or Sabathia is a fool and cheating himself and his team mates.

    Hughes sat at the feet of The Master last season and obviously absorbed a lot of knowledge because he was smart enough to realize that he didn’t half even half of the answers.

    It’s up to Burnett, Chamberlain, Robertson and Gaudin to learn those same lessons this year.

  21. stuckey March 1st, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I think Burnett should try to learn the back-door cutting fastball that moves back towards the plate to RH batters and away from LF batters – the one Maddux perfected and Mussina based his short-lived career revival on.

    With his action moving away from RH, if he could start a fastball off the outside of the plate and runs back in, he’d be unhittable.

  22. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 1st, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    CB, that may be true, but I don’t see how throwing a pitch you aren’t confident in is going help a pitcher. The pitch won’t have any conviction behind it. In any case, I’m basically agreeing with you. I hope AJ does use the change; maybe he said the words in Toronto and he didn’t really mean them. Who knows? He seems to genuinely want to improve so I’m going to assume that he means what he says.

  23. Tripps78 March 1st, 2010 at 3:41 pm

    AJ Burnett. My favorite Yankee pitcher. He’s a joy to watch pitch. Best stuff on the staff.

  24. CB March 1st, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    “that may be true, but I don’t see how throwing a pitch you aren’t confident in is going help a pitcher. The pitch won’t have any conviction behind it.”

    I don’t buy this argument. Often times when anyone tries anything new they don’t have a lot of confidence in it.

    I don’t see how “conviction” is more important than say innovation or desire to improve.

    One day Mariano Rivera was throwing long toss in the outfield with Ramiro Mendoza. He happened to hold the ball a little funny and the ball started to cut.

    That’s how he started throwing his cutter. It seems unlikely that he had as much “conviction” or “confidence” in that pitch as he did his four seam fastball – the pitch that he had dominated major league hitters with the year before.

    Should he have just scrapped it?

  25. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 1st, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    CB, Are you saying that if a pitcher goes out there and wants to throw a curve, but the catcher suggests a FB, that he’s going to throw a FB (not his first choice) with the same conviction he would have thrown the curve (his first choice)? There are very few Mariano’s. Mo has a tremendous belief in himself (by the way, he tried to rid himself of that cutter, but it stayed with him; he thinks that was a sign from God); how do we know that AJ does? I’m not going to kill him for not throwing the change as I don’t believe in killing someone for having a lack of confidence. IMO, he’s doing the best he can and he’s working hard; that’s all I can ask. He’s a good pitcher; if he doesn’t live up to the expectations others have of him, that’s really their issue.

  26. tk March 1st, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    CB,

    GB7 and I briefly discussed AJ’s changeup last week. I researched the PitchFX data some and attempted to describe just how impressive the movement on his changeup actually is. At the same time I noticed the movement on his curveball was considerably less in ’09 than in the previous couple of years. You seem to have a pretty firm grasp on this data, would you mind sharing your thoughts on the potential effect of AJ employing a changeup and any difference you may have noticed in his curveball last year?

  27. upstate kate March 1st, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    seems like ST would be the ideal time to try out a new pitch

  28. CB March 1st, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    “Are you saying that if a pitcher goes out there and wants to throw a curve, but the catcher suggests a FB, that he’s going to throw a FB (not his first choice) with the same conviction he would have thrown the curve (his first choice)?”

    I’m saying that the level of conviction doesn’t necessarily translate into better performance, and can become an inflated reason for not doing something new and different.

    Joba had a ton of conviction in his slider last year, particularly when he threw the slider out of the zone. He had a ton of conviction in throwing that pitch and it stunk. It was one of the more ineffective pitches in baseball.

    But because he truly appeared to “believe” in it, it was the right thing for him to throw despite it leading to poor outcomes?

  29. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 1st, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    By the way, CB, I wasn’t directing my last comment to you or anyone in particular……

  30. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 1st, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    LOL Well, that’s a good point, CB. I guess the only way AJ (or Phil, for that matter) is going to gain the confidence in the pitch is to just throw it. I guess we’ll see. I’m going to think positive….

  31. spidanyc March 1st, 2010 at 4:17 pm

    Anybody know when regular season tickets go on sale?

  32. Rishi March 1st, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    New York Yankees
    Home/away: The Yankees are home for 19 of their first 41 games.
    Games against teams that finished over .500 in 2009: 29 of their first 41.
    Meat-grinder stuff: The Yankees start their season with 12 straight games against teams that posted records over .500 last year — including six at Boston and six at Tampa Bay — and then from May 7 to May 20, they play 14 straight games against AL contenders.

    http://insider.espn.go.com/mlb.....id=4955682

  33. Bronx Jeers March 1st, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Jorge’s probably listening to AJ talk about the change and thinking to himself ” Great, another pitch he can shakeoff”

  34. Erin March 1st, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    NYPost_Kernan #Yankee fans: In red, white and blue they are painting this logo on the grass on 3rd base side of GMS Field: World Series Champions 2009 16 seconds ago

  35. Rishi March 1st, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    Erin
    March 1st, 2010 at 4:20 pm
    NYPost_Kernan #Yankee fans: In red, white and blue they are painting this logo on the grass on 3rd base side of GMS Field: World Series Champions 2009 16 seconds ago
    ——————-

    that’s great stuff :)

  36. tk March 1st, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    “It was one of the more ineffective pitches in baseball.”

    I got the same impression from watching him pitch. However, I had noticed before on FanGraphs that his pitch values are: wFB -21, wSL 7.5, wCH -3.1, wCB .3. Not really sure how to reconcile that, perhaps he was just ineffective overall and his poor slider control often created the need to throw a fastball over the heart of the plate?

  37. MTU March 1st, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    I don’t think it’s a matter of “conviction” when it comes to AJ not wanting to throw his CU. A day or so ago an article was posted here wherein AJ himself admitted that he is just ‘stubborn” about using it.

    He needs to disabuse himself of that notion.

    It will only help him.

    When his other stuff isn’t clicking it might give him something else to fall back upon.

    And when all three are working. It’s no-hitter time ! :)

  38. tk March 1st, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    “Games against teams that finished over .500 in 2009: 29 of their first 41.”

    There have been some discussions about this on other Yankee blogs and they have pointed out how this isn’t all bad. The Yankees usually start slow anyways, and since every team will inevitably have a tough stretch, this might be the perfect time to get that out of the way. Additionally, the Yankees have one of the AL’s easier schedules this year (I’m pretty sure it’s the easiest in the division), so if they take of business through the first 41 games, just think how favorable the rest of the schedule will look.

  39. Randy March 1st, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    Any word on the grip he’s using?

  40. CB March 1st, 2010 at 4:37 pm

    “I got the same impression from watching him pitch. However, I had noticed before on FanGraphs that his pitch values are: wFB -21, wSL 7.5, wCH -3.1, wCB .3.”

    Pitch value is a useful tool but the data only presents a narrow part of the total information required to draw the relevant inference.

    The data I link to below for instance is very striking and likely driven by his slider:

    http://www.beyondtheboxscore.c.....s-starters

  41. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 1st, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    LOL He already has a no-hitter (albeit, one he’d like to forget)………

  42. MTU March 1st, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Betsy-

    “LOL He already has a no-hitter (albeit, one he’d like to forget)………”

    Well, he could always use a second one.

    One thing I have heard said about AJ’s knuckle curve is that when it spins up there “you can hear the seems”. Wow !

    Can you imagine those poor hitters facing a killer FB with movement and location.

    that terrifying Curve.

    AND …. Wait for it ….. a plus changeup.

    Uh oh ! :)

  43. Betsy - Romine wasn't built in a day March 1st, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    I would love to see AJ get another one, but I’m not counting on it as it’s just too hard. I’ll just be happy with a very good year and another WS, lol (AND a pie to Jeter’s face).

  44. MTU March 1st, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    Randy-

    “Any word on the grip he’s using?”.

    I believe it’s called a “death” grip.

    Because that how it’s gonna feel to the hitter. ;)

  45. Rishi March 1st, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    http://tweetphoto.com/12956459

  46. Randy March 1st, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    MTU,

    Watch how you use that. It could be death for the Yankees if it’s straight down the middle!

  47. Chad Jennings March 1st, 2010 at 4:51 pm

    New post.

  48. tex's friend March 1st, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    a no – hitter with 9 walks. it’s one of those, cool but what the hell sort of feelings.

  49. MTU March 1st, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    Randy-

    “Watch how you use that. It could be death for the Yankees if it’s straight down the middle!”

    A I N T G O N N A H A P P E N.

  50. smurfy March 2nd, 2010 at 10:04 am

    stuckey March 1st, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    I think Burnett should try to learn the back-door cutting fastball that moves back towards the plate to RH batters and away from LF batters – the one Maddux perfected and Mussina based his short-lived career revival on.

    With his action moving away from RH, if he could start a fastball off the outside of the plate and runs back in, he’d be unhittable.

    Wwwwht wheww!

  51. best ab exercises for women March 14th, 2010 at 10:42 pm

    Yes, that is correct with your conclusion. I am going to do some research and post it here for clarity. Stay tuned and I’ll be back with the info. I made sure to bookmark the site so I’ll be able to find my way back. LOL Also, if any of you women need <a href="http://www.squidoo.com/best-ab.....&quot; ab exercises for women don’t hesitate to begin immediately.


Sponsored by:
 

Search

    Advertisement

    Follow

    Mobile

    Read The LoHud Yankees Blog on the go by navigating to the blog on your smartphone or mobile device's browser. No apps or downloads are required.

Advertisement

Place an ad

Call (914) 694-3581