DeGrom, Whitley, Anderson: Checking on the Changes

You want to see three of the best new change-ups in baseball? Call up the highlights for Jacob DeGrom, Chase Whitley, and Chase Anderson. Of course, there’s not a heralded prospect in the trio, so something must be awry. Let’s use the pitch type peripherals to get a sense of their strengths and flaws.

Chase Anderson
FA 3.0 swSTR%, 29.2 GB%
CH 29.0 swSTR%, 0.0 GB%
CU 17.9 swSTR%, 33.3 GB%

Chase’s overall numbers may leave you cold, but his per-pitch numbers tell a different story. We set this up as the tale of three great change-pieces, and Anderson doesn’t disappoint in that regard, but the best news is how many whiffs his curve is getting. Unfortunately, the fastball has been putrid so far. BrooksBaseball is a little more appreciative of Anderson’s fastball, as it splits it into two buckets. The four-seamer is still terrible (4% whiffs, 20% GBs) but the two-seamer looks a little better (3% whiffs, 50% GBs). He throws the four-seamer 46% of the time, though, and the two-seamer 15% of the time. Sounds like he should switch those percentages. Velocity might be important to Anderson. The more he can stay over 93 mph, the more we can look his direction in mixed leagues. He’s a decent spot start against the Mets, though, who aren’t great at scoring runs.

Jacob DeGrom
FA 5.4 swSTR%, 23.5 GB%
CH 25.9 swSTR%, 62.5 GB%
SL 8.7 swSTR%, 20 GB%
CU 0 swSTR%, 0 GB%

The Mets may not be able to score runs, but they’ve got a bevy of young arms that are knocking on the door. DeGrom has the best superficial numbers of any of these three so far, but as a change-up guy with iffy other pitches, it’s not surprising to see a bad homer rate. Anderson has to be a step ahead of DeGrom, though, based on these numbers. Those breakers are no good. I mean look at that curve ball. Woof. Watching tells the same story — DeGrom needs a breaker. Teach the man a cutter. In the meantime, sell all shares if you can. Cole Hamels is great, but his breakers get 10% whiffs and his fastball gets 7% whiffs.

Chase Whitley
FA 6.0 swSTR%, 53.8 GB%
CH 15.9 swSTR%, 66.7 GB%
SL 20.5 swSTR%, 33.3 GB%
FT 8.3 swSTR%, 50 GB%

We saved the best for last, it looks like. Whitley has the worst fastball by velocity, and was a reliever until about a year ago. He’s a surprise. But what a surprise. The fastball does great for not cracking 91 on average. That might be due to some deception. Check out his delivery thanks to Mike Axisa, and you’ll see that it looks like hides the ball well:

Otherwise, we’re left looking at a pitcher that has multiple weapons. Weapons against lefties, weapons against righties, weapons for whiffs, and weapons for grounders. As long as CC is out, Whitley looks like a sneaky pickup. In all leagues.

With a phone full of pictures of pitchers' fingers, strange beers, and his two toddler sons, Eno Sarris can be found at the ballpark or a brewery most days. Read him here, writing about the A's or Giants at The Athletic, or about beer at October. Follow him on Twitter @enosarris if you can handle the sandwiches and inanity.

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Emcee Peepants
8 years ago

I like Whitley and have a waiver claim in on him at the moment, but he has faced the Cubs and Mets so far, two of the worst hitting teams in the league, and struck them out at a rate of 18.5%, less than the rest of the league has by ~5% (though he did top both teams’ swSTR%). I am cautiously optimistic, but a little heavier on the cautious at this point. He gets the Cards on Monday, which should be a better indicator.

Emcee Peepants
8 years ago
Reply to  Emcee Peepants

Also, you really dropped by the ball by not squeezing a “Chase” pun into this article and swSTR%.