It’s GIFs like these that make the hardcore baseball fans drool.
This awesome GIF shows Felix Hernandez throwing a fastball and changeup and superimposed it so you can see the movement of the two pitches at the same time.
This actually came from two pitches thrown to Brandon Moss during a July 11 game between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s. Moss fouled off the changeup on the second pitch of the at-bat, and then he struck out on the fastball on the fourth pitch.
The movement on that changeup is just sickening. I seriously had to watch it several times to believe it. I thought it was a splitter, but Felix doesn’t throw one. It broke almost like a 12-6 curveball, but it wasn’t. That was a changeup. And it sure helps to explain how Felix has maintained his dominance despite his declining velocity.
King Felix averaged in the 95 mph range on his fastball his first 3 seasons in the majors. He averaged in the 94 mph range his second three seasons. The past three seasons, though, he’s averaged no higher than 92.4 mph on his fastball. So how has he been so successful? He’s started throwing his changeup more. A lot more.
According to Fangraphs, King Felix threw his change 23 percent of the time last year, and he’s throwing it 28.7 percent of the time this season.
A drop in velocity has been death to several pitchers — Justin Verlander and CC Sabathia are coming to mind — but King Felix has been able to stay awesome. That changeup explains everything.
If you liked that, you’ll love this Yu Darvish GIF.