Impact of Strasburg's new pitch

A new pitch for Stephen Strasburg is bad news for the rest of the National League. AP Photo/John Minchillo

Let's say you're a big league pitcher. You've had some success at the highest level, but like any good professional, you're looking to improve. How do you do it? Getting into peak physical shape helps, but it's extremely rare for a pitcher to add significant velocity in a single offseason, and command is generally improved over a period of several years, not all at once.

So what can you do? For many pitchers, the best route is to add a new weapon to their arsenal in the form of a new (or improved) pitch. As just one example, Clayton Kershaw came to the big leagues without a slider and threw it infrequently for most of his first two seasons. Now it's not only one of his best pitches, it's one of the most feared offerings in baseball.

Each spring, you hear about numerous pitchers coming to camp hoping to showcase a new pitch. Today, we'll focus on four of them to watch for this season.


Stephen Strasburg, RHP | Washington Nationals
New pitch:

Between his 2011 elbow injury, the ensuing (and controversial) 2012 shutdown and the fact that a disappointingly large number of people probably put stock into an 8-9 record last year, it seems as though the public perception is that Strasburg hasn't lived up to the massive hype that surrounded him as 2009's No. 1 overall draft pick. Despite the missed time, he's still in the top eight for ERA, FIP, K/9 and K/BB among all pitchers with 400 innings from 2010 to '13.