We aren't very far into Spring Training, yet it seems like nearly every Mariners pitcher has added something to their repertoire already. There are a handful of starters who have added splitters, Munoz is trying a two-seamer, Matt Brash a cutter, and Marco a slider. They aren't the only ones though, as Diego Castillo has been experimenting with an old friend. The Changeup.
Back when he was a starter, he used to dabble with a change. It was something that Skipper Scott Servais was thinking about, and when they brought it up to Castillo, he confirmed that he did throw it back in the day when he was in the Minors.
The great thing about technology is how quick a pitcher and the coaches can see and analyze new pitches. You don't have to wait til actual game situations to see how it performs. You can check all the surrounding statistics on it and get an idea if it's going to be effective, which is what they did with Diego. And he loves it.
Diego Castillo has a changeup, and it makes his strong arsenal that much better in relief.
If you're wondering why he needs this pitch, there's a simple reason for it. Relievers, in order to be more elastic in their roles, need something that they can use against hitters from both sides of the plate. A righty throwing a slider can really mess with RHB when he pairs it with a sinker, but the lefties could leave the sinker alone as it broke towards them. In fact, if you check his splits, you can see a massive difference. A .181/.255/.260 vs a line of .243/.346/.371.
The changeup should bring that line closer together, as he now has a pitch that can fall away and out of the zone to any hitter, regardless of which side of the plate they are on. Diego seems to love the pitch as well, and Scott Servais noticed instantly how it was affecting his mindset.
""He came off the mound yesterday, he was like a kid in a candy store. He had a new toy""- Scott Servais
This is really interesting to me, and I hope that it works out. Being able to plug Castillo, already a really good, if not great, reliever into any spot in a game will be a boon to the bullpen. If Castillo can break a ball left, break a ball right, mix in the slider, and work quickly, we might see one of the best seasons of his career. The fact that he is comfortable with the pitch already speaks volumes and alleviates much of the concern about him speeding up his process on the mound.
Of course, these guys still have to throw the pitches for strikes and work them effectively into their repertoire, but it's a good sign early that things are continuing to build and grow for the Mariners.