Whisenhunt dominating with changeup; other pitches coming along
Published 1:17 pm Monday, July 31, 2023
By Brian Pitts
Here’s how good Carson Whisenhunt’s changeup is.
“You could tell them it’s coming and they still can’t hit it,” Richmond Flying Squirrels manager Dennis Pelfrey said.
Whisenhunt has been baffling batters with that changeup since he played for the Davie Crush in 12-U travel ball. Over the years he has developed three changeups.
“If I’m behind in the count and don’t want to throw a middle-middle heater, I have one that doesn’t move as much that I can steal a strike with,” Whisenhunt said. “And depending on the barrel path and their swing, I have two – one that fades out with more movement and one that’s straight down. It just depends on the hitter and what me and the catcher are seeing at the same time.”
“It’s a very effective pitch,” Pelfrey said. “As long as he continues to throw the fastball for strikes, he’s going to do a lot of really good things with the changeup and give himself a chance to get guys out every single time.”
Whisenhunt appears to be on the fast track. He started the year in Low-A and moved up to High-A and then got the call to Double-A.
In a recent outing for Richmond, Whisenhunt threw four shutout innings with five strikeouts. That lowered his ERA in Double-A to 3.20 and his season ERA to 2.45.
For the season, he has 83 Ks in 58.2 innings, he’s only allowed three homers and opponents are hitting just .177.
What about Whisenhunt’s fastball and curveball? His fastball was clocked at 96 mph in the Futures Game, when he struck out two in one scoreless relief inning. Although the curve is his No. 3 pitch, he’s looking to throw it more to give batters something else to think about when they step in the box.
“The changeup has always been there, so now me and our pitching coaches here have been talking about trying to set it up,” he said. “They want me to use the curveball more and then obviously work on the fastball command, which is definitely getting better. Having that third pitch is going to be big, but obviously the changeup is still going to be my go-to. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lefty or righty.”
Whisenhunt is the No. 90 prospect on Baseball America’s top 100 and he’s No. 95 on MLB Pipeline’s list. He could get a opportunity in Triple-A before the season ends, and he could be with the San Francisco Giants at some point in 2024.
“It’s definitely happened faster than I thought it would, but the biggest thing is just trying to keep the same mentality every time I go out there,” he said. “I didn’t expect to move this quickly since I got here, but I’ve enjoyed every step of it so far.”