It seems as though every Spring Training that Clayton Kershaw is working on locking down his changeup. Every year that he has played with the Dodgers, at least one reporte has surfaced that the pitch was being added to his repertoire.
While we didn’t hear too much about it in the first rendition of Spring Training, we’re definitely hearing about it in Summer Camp. Kershaw turned a few heads when he flashed his change-up in an intrasquad against Kiké Hernandez last week. Since then, the Dodgers’ pitcher has been asked multiple times if that will be something he showcases in 2020.
I feel good with it…good might not be the right word, I feel average. Doc said too, it’s not a pitch I’m throwing 25 percent of the time, but if there are situations that I can mix it in throw it five to ten times a game and make it something that at least it’s in the back of hitter’s minds, a fourth pitch to think about, I think that would be the goal. I think I have the ability to do that and we’ll see what happens.
The movement on that change-up that he threw was pretty ridiculous and certainly caught Hernandez off guard. According to Statcast, there were 16 pitches thrown by Kershaw in 2019 that were tracked as change-ups, meaning he threw it less than 1 percent of the time. If the Dodgers can get him to use it up to 10 times a game, that would be a dramatic increase in use.
Whether he decides to utilize the change-up in 2020 or not, it just goes to show you that these guys never stop learning. Kershaw is now in his 13th season with the Dodgers at 32-years-old and still fine-tuning his craft.
The Dodgers’ southpaw saw another dip in velocity last year. That partially contributing to a rise in homeruns allowed and a diminished Fielding Independent Percentage(FIP).