Pittsburgh Pirates: Analyzing Connor Overton’s Changeup

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 16: Connor Overton #41 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds during the game at PNC Park on September 16, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 16: Connor Overton #41 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the first inning against the Cincinnati Reds during the game at PNC Park on September 16, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Pirates right-handed reliever Connor Overton has a deadly , but under-the-radar, changeup. Let’s analyzing the pitch.

We all love to watch devastating pitches. Whether that’s a 100+ MPH fastball, a wipeout slider, a big looping curveball, or even a knuckleball, you have to admit there’s something satisfying about watching a pitcher completely overpower a batter and make them look silly with a powerful pitch. Pitches like this is something the Pittsburgh Pirates need more of on their staff.

In early September the Pittsburgh Pirates claimed right-handed pitcher Connor Overton off waivers. He’s only thrown 4 innings in a Pirate uniform, but he has looked quite good in his small sample size, not allowing an earned run with 3 strikeouts and a WHIP of 0.75. Leading to him making MLB history.

But what I want to focus on is one offering he has, an offering that is his best pitch. Overton throws a fastball, slider, changeup, and occasionally a sinker and curveball. Today, I want to take a glance at his changeup.

Overton’s changeup looked nasty in his first MLB start. Just look at how badly he got Nick Castellanos to whiff at it.

While Castellanos isn’t the hardest batter to strike out, to make a guy who went into the day with a 145 wRC+ look that bad is an accomplishment in and of itself. Castellanos isn’t the first batter to look bad while taking a swig and miss badly.

This season Overton’s changeup has a 58.3% whiff rate. Milwaukee Brewer reliever Devin Williams has what is considered one of, if not the best changeup in the game, yet only has a 47.1% whiff rate with the pitch.

Another guy with a changeup considered to be arguably the best in the sport is Cincinnati right-hander Luis Castillo, and he only has a 32.4% whiff rate. Now granted, it’s a much smaller sample size compared to the two division rival right-handed pitchers, but a whiff rate above 50% in any sample size is still outstanding and promising to say the least.

Overton’s changeup only averages around 1850 RPM (1832 RPM to be exact), but the low spin rate may actually help its movement. Think of how a lack of spin helps a knuckleball have such an effect as it travels from the pitcher to the catcher. So far, he’s used the pitch in 6 plate appearances, striking out 2 of the batters who faced it (one being the Castellanos strikeout you saw earlier), giving up a single walk, and hit vs the offering. In the times opponents have made contact, they’ve only been able to manage an 84.9 MPH exit velocity against the offering.

Next. Cruz, Rodriguez Flash Power & Clutch Gene. dark

Overton’s change-up looks like a deadly offering. He does very well with the offering, and batters, so far, haven’t been able to hit it. It’s a pitch that could lead to success for the right-hander. If he can throw his other pitches with confidence, he may be a very under-the-radar pick-up by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Ben Cherington.