Zack Wheeler has added a 6th pitch to his arsenal ahead of the 2023 season
Zack Wheeler is one of the most elite, premiere pitchers in the entire game of baseball…and he’s adding another pitch to his arsenal in 2023.
A slider, kind of? With a bit of a last-second curveball-like movement, often called a slurve, sweeper, whirlybird. There’s not a set name for it, but it’s the most dominating pitch in all of baseball if executed.
Zack Wheeler has a main five-pitch arsenal already. His four-seam fastball, which he throws 42% of the time, along with a slider (27%), sinker (17.6%), curveball (12%, and changeup, in which he throws just 1.8% of the time. Wheeler recently added a cutter into his plethora of pitches, and now, a sweeper.
The sweeper is basically a mix of a changeup and a curveball. All of Wheeler’s pitch spin in towards a lefty batter and out on a righty batter, but the sweeper is going to have the most break of them all. Think of a slider, an offspeed pitch with sort of a horizontal break on it that eventually falls like a curveball…that’s what the new sweeper is.
“Just mixing it in here and there. It’s more of a slurve, it’s just something else to throw in. I try to bring something new to the table every year, whether it’s throwing the same pitch in a different location that I haven’t thrown it before or this year it’s a new pitch. It’s going to be a different look a little bit this year, but that’s always a good thing.” – Zack Wheeler
Zack Wheeler’s ascension to a top arm in major league baseball came quickly when he put on red pinstripes. His time in New York was good, but his game has changed since throwing for the Phillies. His ERA hasn’t risen above 3.00 since joining Philadelphia, posting a 2.82, 2.78, and 2.92 in the last three seasons.
Wheeler has learned a lot from Nola and vice versa, and the two have formed one of the top starting pitching duos in the entire MLB. Wheeler’s innings saw a dip in 2022 thanks to a funky shoulder heading into the season and a bit of time off toward the end of the regular season, but that isn’t holding him back from entering this season.
Zack Wheeler made his Spring Training debut today and threw two scoreless innings, allowing zero hits and striking out two. He talked to reporters during and after the game and said his arm is “ready to go,” and feels like this is his best feeling in Spring so far throughout his career. The Phillies ace’s first fastball of the year sat at 97 mph.
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Mandatory Credit: @Phillies