Weird, it’s almost like he was always made for a Arthur Rhodes like role?
Obviously it was a great performance by Akin in his season debut and yes I kid about his success in that role since its a role I’ve been saying would be his best since he was in Bowie. Hey, but what do I know, I’m just some older guy with a website.
I looked into Akin’s numbers to see what was different from last year and of course this is one outing, but there were some difference.
The fastball averaged 93.1 1.1 MPH faster than last year but more importantly it did not sink with gravity as much losing 1.6 inches of sink from last year. That contributed to the crazy good 63% whiff rate on the 8 swings against his fastball. Here they are in action:
He also appeared to change the movement of his changeup losing 5 inches of vertical drop for added velocity (3 MPH) and horizontal movement (3 inches more). Here’s it in action.
The curveball had 10 more inches of drop and he threw it about 1.7 MPH slower. He only threw two of them though. The slider was a about a MPH harder like his fastball and it was effective.
Obviously when you see a 4-pitch guy you think starter, but I really think he’s better off in 3 inning or less stints. He also may be better off not knowing when he’s going to pitch though I imagine he knew he was coming in after Lyles.
So we did see an increase in stuff, but the question is, was it because he just had a good outing, did his stuff play up because he knew he only had a shorter stint or is he did he improve his pitches over the offseason?
It will be interesting to watch him in his next outing because his biggest issue has never been a lack of stuff, but lack of consistency from outing to outing, and sometimes inning to inning.