In addition to the pitch clock and larger bases, new equipment was introduced to the ballpark this year. The campaign did not have its own marketing campaign and was not tested with focus groups or minor his leaguers. Even those in charge are surprised by its presence on stadium scoreboards.
“When it said ‘sweeper,’ we were like, ‘What the hell?’ Because there are sliders.”
Major League Baseball’s Statcast system, which feeds scoreboards and television screens, has quietly introduced sweepers and slabs as new pitches this season. However, slabs are better known as a combination of sliders and curves. Sweeper is… what exactly is it?
“It’s kind of a glitchy pitch,” Yankees pitching coach Matt Blake said. “Some players were throwing, but maybe they didn’t really understand how they were throwing. I started saying, ‘Okay, you can tell this person or that person,’ and now all of a sudden everyone has information.”
Specifically, many of the Yankees throw. Blake said the trend started with staffers in Houston and Cleveland around 2017, but the Yankees have been fervently preaching sweeper virtues throughout the system.
King, Nestor Cortez, Clay Holmes, Ron Marinaccio and Clark Schmidt all throw it. So did several pitchers traded last summer who were raised in the Yankees system, including JP Sears and Ken Woldichak of the Oakland Athletics and Hayden Wesneski of the Chicago Cubs.
“This is an opportunity to say, ‘OK, what is their main curveball and can it miss?'” Blake said. “Maybe there’s an opportunity to add something here. Give it a try.”
Sweepers are horizontal sliders with less downward movement than slabs, Blake said. A classic slider like the Gerrit Cole (often called a “gyro” slider by the Yankees) is intended to look like a fastball to the hitter, who swings it when it falls down. to jump over. The sweeper never looks like a fastball, but lures the hitter by making it look like an easy-to-hit breaking ball before moving away from the bat.
“You need a sidespin,” said King, who learned sweeping from former Yankees starter Corey Kluber, now with the Boston Red Sox. “We always talk about the nose of the ball, but when throwing a gyro slider, the nose is like a spinning red dot that points straight at the hitter.
Pitching is brotherhood. Teammates and even opponents regularly compare grips and share tips on things like finger pressure and seam direction. With high-speed cameras now a common teaching tool, pitch design is more accurate and efficient, and teams are devoting more resources (technology and people) to it than ever before. The right curveball can turn a strong contender into a big leaguer.
Of course, more often than not, data only disseminates what older generations already knew. Before he made a name for himself, the sweeper helped fuel a Yankee dynasty in the 1990s and early 2000s through top starter David Cohn and outstanding set-up man Jeff Nelson.
“Right-handed pitchers can start toward hitters and go over inside corners to land front-door sweepers. I would start on their hips,” said Cohn, now a television analyst, formerly of YES Network. spoke at the booth. game last week. “That pitch was a little frowned upon by traditional pitching coaches because a miss is a home run. If the hitter recognizes it off-speed and inside the plate, he launches it and pulls the fly. Because you can.”
he added: “But it’s a matter of form. The Sweeper has a bigger, flat break, swing-and-a-he’s designed for misses and flinching. To make a man flinch if you’re on the doorstep. When you throw, let him swing.” to escape.”
Nelson, who is currently called up to a game between the Yankees and the Miami Marlins, said he always thought his signature pitch was a slab, describing it as a “strong, big, breaking slider.” At 6-foot-8, right-hander Nelson threw from a low three-quarter angle and used a riding inside-angle fastball to stop right-handed hitters from reaching his sweeping curveball.
“Sometimes it got choppy and I slowed down and still got less than a mile,” Nelson said. “There were days when I was like, ‘I don’t know how to control this.'”
Nelson may be wild, sure, but before relief pitchers became commonplace, he regularly struck out more than he pitched innings. Closer Mariano Rivera’s famed cutter struck out a lot of swings, but was more famous for breaking the bat, the ultimate result of poor contact. The cutter looks like a fastball before a lateral slice in the second half. Cohn calls the pitch “Baby Sweeper.”
The Yankees’ current closer, right-handed Holmes, has an exceptional sinker that hits right-handed hitters. He complements it with both sliders and sweepers, making it logical to distinguish between pitches.
“I threw both last year, and when I went to Statcast, it was all one pitch,” Holmes said. “I was throwing a sweeper and a gyro, but they were treated as one, so the average wasn’t an indication of either throw, really velocity, movement, etc. It was a blend of both. So the average didn’t really show this pitch shape and that pitch shape.”
now, this shape and or Shapes have their own official names.