Brandon Waddell (29-Dusan Bears) is back, and he’s not the same pitcher he was last year.
In three starts this season, Brandon is 1-1 with a 0.90 ERA (through 11 days). In those three games, he’s thrown 20 innings and struck out 21 batters. In terms of innings pitched and ratios, he is not far behind Eric Peddy (NC Dinos), Raul Alcantara (Doosan), and Adam Plutko (LG Twins), who have been the best foreign pitchers this season.
Doosan didn’t re-sign him expecting this kind of performance. Brandon already played for the Doosan last year as a replacement for Ariel Miranda. At the time, he was a ‘quote’ pitcher. That was both a plus and a minus. He went more than five innings in every game and had a sub-3 ERA.
However, he didn’t have much potential for improvement. His fastball was fast, but he didn’t have a breaking ball to get hitters to swing and miss, and he was only able to match his spacious home stadium (Jamsil, Seoul). He struck out just 5.54 batters per nine innings and had a 20.1% swinging strike rate.
To date, the only tracking data we have on Brandon is from June 24 against the Gochuk Kiwoom Heroes. The stadiums in Ulsan and Pohang, where he has pitched since then, don’t have tracking equipment. Although it’s only one game, it’s clear that Brandon’s pitching repertoire has changed this season. His velocity hasn’t changed much from last year’s average of 146.5 km/h (per Sport2eye) to 146.8 km/h.
Instead, his repertoire has changed. After averaging a 136.7 mph slider last year, his slider is averaging 131.7 mph this year. It’s not that it’s slower, it’s just a different pitch. Last year, I threw a slider with a small angle and a fast cutter (cut-past ball), and this year, I’m throwing a slider with a large angle. Sports2eye’s PTS observed that Brandon is throwing a separate cutter this year (average velocity 138.9 km/h). You can see that this is last year’s slider. The cutter had a small changeup angle that made it difficult to induce swings and misses, but the addition of a pitch with a larger angle has led to an increase in strikeouts.
Brandon told us, “I think the slider is working. I can induce more false swings than before,” and “I think it’s a slider rather than a sweeper because it has up and down movement.” However, an A’s official said, “Brandon’s slider can also be considered a type of sweeper.”먹튀검증
“I wanted a pitch with a big changeup during the offseason,” Brandon said. I asked my teammates, Mitch Keller (Pittsburgh Pirates) and Tyler Biddy (Yomiuri Giants), to help me learn the grip and throw it at will, and it worked out well, so I’ve been throwing it ever since.” According to Baseball Servant, a Major League Baseball (MLB) statistics site, Biddy throws a slider, while Keller has a sweeper.
Brandon is scheduled to finish the first half on Wednesday against the SSG Landers. The clean start has allowed him to enjoy the All-Star break in good spirits. When asked about his schedule, he said, “I haven’t decided yet, I’ve just discussed it with my wife. I think I’ll be traveling around Korea,” he laughed.