It’s not truly Spring Training unless Clayton Kershaw shows up working on his change-up. it feels like for the last decade, that’s been part of the storyline surrounding his games during the Cactus League. Once again, we can proudly say that Kersh is working on his change-up in 2022.
But that’s exactly what Spring Training is for. Getting the opportunity to refine things also extends to trying out new things during games that don’t really matter. The Dodgrs pitcher is certainly no stranger to this and works on that change-up often.
But Kershaw has never really taken that pitch into the season before. He used it just 11 times during 2021, with a few of those likely being incorrectly identified. He threw it just twice in 2020, according to Baseball Savant. It’s just not a pitch the Dodgers pitcher likes to use when the games matter.
“Yeah, I threw a few I think. They were okay, they were okay. So won progress still, but overall it was uh…I did. I threw some good ones, which was more than last year.”
Clayton Kershaw, Changeup. ? pic.twitter.com/ecRTXM1oE7
— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) March 23, 2022
This is just one of the change-ups he threw during his outing today, getting Franmil Reyes to swing right through it. He threw a few more decent-looking ones throughout the game though and adding that pitch in could really help with his declining velocity.
Kersh averaged just 90.6 mph on his fastball in 2021, way down from 94.3 mph in 2015. Age will do that, but developing more ways to get guys out is key at this point in his career. Maybe the change-up is the next evolution of Kersh’s stardom…or maybe it’s Spring.
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