It’s not as common as everyone being in The Best Shape Of His Life, but pitchers showing up to spring training with an altered delivery and lots of optimism attached to the change happens regularly.
Diamondbacks right-hander Trevor Cahill is the latest, as Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic explains:
Instead of his usual three-quarters motion, he’s throwing from almost straight over the top. The hope is he’s able to find a delivery he can repeat consistently, thus leading to more consistent command. The early results are encouraging.
“The ball has been very electric out of his hand so far,” manager Chip Hale said.
With his new arm slot making the ball move more vertically than laterally, like it was before, Cahill doesn’t have a good feel for how much his sinker is sinking. And though catchers have told him the ball is still diving, he’s curious to see what happens when he faces hitters.
Cahill is coming off a bad year in which the Diamondbacks demoted him to the minors, but he’s still around in Arizona because they owe him $12 million for 2015.
Prior to the rough 2015 he had a 3.89 ERA in 930 career innings, so new delivery or not the Diamondbacks are hoping that the 27-year-old can resume being a solid mid-rotation starter.