For Siegrist, decreased velocity working just fine
MILWAUKEE -- After investing in various mechanical changes this spring, lefty Kevin Siegrist has opened the season with numbers reminiscent of those he posted during a sensational 2013 season. Siegrist is getting those results, however, with a much different look.
Entering Friday, over seven scoreless appearances, in which Siegrist has allowed five baserunners in six innings, he's averaged a fastball velocity of 92.7, according to Fangraphs.com. That's a few ticks below where he was in 2013 (95.2 mph) and '14 (94.2).
"I still feel like I have more in the tank, velo wise," Siegrist said. "But I feel that will come back as the season goes on."
The Cardinals, however, aren't necessarily sure that he needs to find it.
"If the velocity isn't there and you're still getting outs, I think you're going in the right direction," manager Mike Matheny said. "Now if there's more in the tank, we'll certainly take it. I see him as a better pitcher right now than I've ever seen him. … He's got good stuff. I wouldn't get too caught up, if I were him, about the velocity if he's making good pitches."
Though he may not be throwing as hard as he once did, Siegrist has become a bit less predictable with his repertoire. He's throwing far more changeups this year (16.3 percent of his pitches) than he did in 2013 (5.8 percent) or 2014 (4.7). The use of his slider has also increased.
Siegrist is one of two Cardinals pitchers to thrive early this season with a little less on the fastball and increased usage of secondary pitches. The other is Carlos Martinez, though he has dropped his fastball velocity intentionally to improve his command. That's different than Siegrist, who is right now simply pitching with what he's got after a season marred by injuries.
"You're looking at changeups, breaking balls that are actually breaking," Matheny said, speaking to Siegrist's pitch repertoire. "That makes him a different weapon. I think getting him some more confidence against left-handed batters will be helpful, because right now he almost looks more comfortable against the righties."
In fairness, almost no one is having any success against him these days. Entering this series in Milwaukee, Siegrist has held righties to a .154/.214/.154 slash line and lefties to one of .125/.333/.167.