Aaron Civale of the Indians had a mediocre 2020 but a new pitch added to his arsenal may help change things up in 2021 and could see him breakout.
Pitchers in the Cleveland organization rarely ever have had high profiles coming out of the minors. In modern times there was Jarrett Wright and C.C. Sabathia, but most of the breakout stars in the Indians organization, at least from a pitching perspective, have never really been big-name prospects. Sure, Trevor Bauer was, but he never broke out with the Indians like he was supposed to. The leagues best, like Corey Kluber and Cliff Lee, were surprises. Same with the current Ace of the AL, Shane Bieber. So with a new pitch to his resume, Aaron Civale is looking to take the next step in his game.
Civale told Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com that he’s working on a new split-change that he’ll use instead of a traditional changeup.
I’m transitioning to a split-change from a changeup. Just a little bit better pairing with the pitches that I currently have. There’s some shortening of the arm path for timing, sequence. There’s a few things that are visibly different. Once we get into games I’m sure you’ll be able to see some of it. It’s a good transition. Pretty smooth.
Now, this may not seem like a big deal but as Matt Lyons of Let’s Go Tribe points out, Civale is someone who needs a better changeup, and in theory that could lead to big things for the pitcher.
Civale lacks a changeup with any drop right now — only 28.7 inches, or 6% below league average
With his fastball and sinker only at 91 to 92 MPH, deception is going to be a big key to his game. Right now, that’s something that Civale is missing; that devastating pitch that can get a hitter out, or end an inning. While the split-change isn’t an easy pitch to use, Lyon suggests only six use it to any effect, if Civale can get a good grasp on it, he could really make a huge mark in the third season of his career.
Right now his career is ok, but it could be better.
Right now he’s 7-10 on his career, with an ERA of 3.68, 131.2 innings pitched, 15 HRs, 32, BB’s and 115 strikeouts. As he’s barely played a full season yet, it’s hard to say for sure what exactly Civale can bring in 30 starts per year.
If this new pitch works, however, and there’s hope that it will, Civale may just be the next big pitcher to breakout in the Indians organization.