A Great Read on Jake Arrieta's Changeup, and Sahadev Sharma's New Home

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A Great Read on Jake Arrieta’s Changeup, and Sahadev Sharma’s New Home

Chicago Cubs

jake arrieta vintageAt long last, friend of the program Sahadev Sharma’s new post-BP gig has been revealed: it’s a new site called The Athletic, where he’ll be writing about the Chicago Cubs, together with former ESPN writer Jon Greenberg (who pens the official launch article here).

The site officially launches today, and, among the many great pieces already there worth reading, Sharma writes about Jake Arrieta’s plans to continue improving upon what has already been a tremendous stretch in the last two years.

I found this quote from Arrieta on his changeup usage last year to be particularly enjoyable: “I’m becoming more comfortable with [the changeup], it’s gotten better every year. I used it quite a bit last year, but I’d go extended periods without using it all. Not because it was intentional, but there were times I really didn’t need it. But to stay sharp with it, you need to work on it on a consistent basis. I use it a lot in my side sessions. It was a pitch for me that I could use from time to time and get some big outs. I want to be able to have that and establish it in just about every start. Just to kind of have another look that guys have to worry about.”

Did you catch that? Arrieta, who throws four other pitches (sinker, four-seamer, curveball, slider), went long stretches last year without throwing a dominating pitch because he didn’t really need it. This is a guy who won the Cy Young Award, and off of whom batters hit .094 against the changeup last year, and slugged an identical .094. That’s comically good.

And it’s a pitch that he often didn’t even need!

Now, of course, a pitch like the changeup will always be more effective for Arrieta the less he has to show it to opponents. So there’s a balance between using it as much as you can to maximize performance, but not too much as to neuter its effectiveness.

It’ll be fun to see how Arrieta’s game evolves in 2016, and, while no one should reasonably expect a repeat of a literally historic season, it is fair to expect, with health, that Arrieta will be fantastic once again.

In the meantime, check out Sharma’s article at The Athletic, and his other launch pieces there (as well as Greenberg’s). I’m sure we’ll be going back there plenty.

Congrats to both Sahadev and Jon on the new gig!

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.