Fredi G. likes change-ups he’s seen early

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The Braves always like as many of their young pitchers as possible to master the change-up, and manager Fredi Gonzalez noticed several throwing the pitch more effectively during the first week of workouts.

While early arriving Braves position players took batting practice against coaches with fans in the stands at Champion Stadium, Gonzalez spent the mornings roaming the backfields and watching the pitchers throw live batting practice to catchers.

“Saw some good changeups,” he said. “Even Jonny Venters was throwing some good ones. Some of the younger kids, like [Arodys] Vizcaino and [Jaye] Chapman, have pretty good ones.”

Vizcaino, a strong candidate for a bullpen job, is one of three Braves pitchers – along with starters Julio Teheran and Randall Delgado – rated among the top 100 prospects in baseball by most experts. He impressed in a callup last season.

Chapman, 24, has risen slowly but steadily through the farm system and posted a 2.50 ERA in 52 games last season at Double-A and Triple-A, with 77 strikeouts and 31 walks in 68-1/3 innings. He had a 2.98 ERA in 43 games at Triple-A Gwinnett.

18 comments Add your comment

Bravo_F 52

February 25th, 2012
6:12 pm

richbrave

February 25th, 2012
6:30 pm

Previed CHAPMAN this a.m. before the new bloggage. he’s getting close. If his considtancy picks up, he’ll be ready to make the leap to ATLANTA’s pen.

Perlo

February 25th, 2012
6:49 pm

How would that fool know a good changeup from a bad one?

Dawgdad (The Original)

February 25th, 2012
6:50 pm

It is always the same, each spring we hear about pitchers working on new pitches, then as soon as the season starts it is back to what worked last year. Smoltz was the best, a knuckleball, then a curveball. Last year we were thrilled with Moylan learning to throw the change, he even had a name for it, but never threw more than two or three all year.

Lemke's Knuckler

February 25th, 2012
7:06 pm

If Venters starts throwing a consistent change-up, God help the rest of the league. The tilt on his ball is hard enough to hit, can’t imagine what would go through a hitters mind having to guess on speed as well.

Lemke's Knuckler

February 25th, 2012
7:10 pm

I’ve been waiting on Chapman and Eric Cordier for a few years. Saw them both pitch a few times when the G-Braves played here in Charlotte and went away thoroughly impressed with their stuff. I know guys like Varvaro and Martinez did well last year and have the inside angle at the last bullpen spots, but I would love to see Chapman and Cordier finally harness their stuff and contribute at the ML level.

Lobosolo

February 25th, 2012
9:44 pm

Perio, that “fool” is a major league manager, and you, on the other hand, are not… wouldn’t imagine your prospects for becoming one are very good, either…

BraveDan

February 25th, 2012
9:58 pm

Start Vizcaino

February 25th, 2012
10:10 pm

IF Vizcaino is throwing an impressive change up then he should be starting games in AAA this year instead of pitching in the bullpen. Hes young and his value as a starter is worth more then a set up man.

JAFO

February 25th, 2012
11:31 pm

The fact he is IN the major leagues doesn’t make him A major league manager.

huddie ledbetter

February 26th, 2012
8:56 am

@JAFO – um, it kinda does

Dwight Mays

February 26th, 2012
9:35 am

just because ajc will print your post does not mean u r a literary person either. so u sand lot players just cool it and let. the manager do his business

fm

February 26th, 2012
10:30 am

@Perlo

Fredi Gonzalez was a catcher back in his minor league days, so he presumably had some experience catching and thereby seeing different types and qualities of pitches. Also, I would hope that he watches video of his players and observes different types of pitches.

But you have a point, though–despite the above, he doesn’t really have that much experience in pitch evaluation. I would feel more comfortable if Roger McDowell had reported on the change-ups.

Bravo_F 52

February 26th, 2012
11:44 am

I hope it doesn’t affect him the way Smoltz’ change up affected him =arm trouble

DetroitBraves

February 26th, 2012
12:42 pm

@Start Vizcaino, agree 100%.

DOB, any idea how the Braves view Vizcaino’s role long-term?

willie o

February 26th, 2012
1:18 pm

Going on last years performance. I doubt if Gongalez has a clue as to what is going on. If the Braves are going to be succesfull it will be in spite of him, not because of him. I still see him sitting in the dugout and doing nothing while Kimbrel struggled to find the plate in that last game. Mc Dowell was no help either. It will take a while to get me back on board with this guy in the drivers seat.

Laughing out Loud

February 26th, 2012
2:13 pm

The facts that Fredi has played the game and in fact does manage the Atlanta Braves not only makes him a MAJOR LEAGUE manager gives him more credibility to comment about his evaluations than any of you naysayers, haters, and bandwagon fans. Criticize all you want, it’s your privilege, but don’t expect every one to value your opinion just because you do. The fool is the one who proclaims others as fools.

JAFO

February 26th, 2012
9:35 pm

Just keep tippin that cap.

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