Timing is everything in baseball; on the mound and at the plate. Precision is paramount in baseball. It’s often focused on when it comes to hitters, but rarely do you hear about pitchers attempting to mess with hitter’s timing.
With the advent of the quick pitch, pitchers suddenly have an avenue to vary their timing to the plate. But that’s not the only way to change things up, as Roberto Osuna is quickly learning.
If you’ve watched him pitch as of late, you may have noticed as slight hesitation or “crane kick” leg as he pauses just prior to throwing to the plate. It’s by design and judging by the results this season, it seems to be working for Roberto Osuna.
Brian Anderson of the Tampa Bay Rays broadcast team picked up on it during yesterday’s game and said this:
“Like he needed something else to mess with the hitter’s timing. His stuff is enough”.
The best part of all this? Roberto Osuna learned this move from Jason Grilli. Not long after the acquisition of Grilli, Osuna started employing these new timing tactics. Buck Martinez picked up on it during one of the Blue Jays’ games in early August.
“You see that hesitation? Jason Grilli watched him pitch in the postseason and everything was the same timing. But you see there’s a little hesitation to confuse the hitters at the plate.”
And Arash Madani echoed the same sentiment when he spoke to Jason Grilli about Roberto Osuna varying his delivery to the plate.
Jason Grilli, methodical by pitch, told me advice he gave Osuna was to mix up his rhythm on the mound.Not to let hitter get your timing down
— Arash Madani (@ArashMadani) July 9, 2016
Grilli, the wily veteran, must’ve had an impact on the Blue Jays closer, because Osuna started messing with his timing right away. This is a quick pitch to Nolan Reimold of the Baltimore Orioles back on June 10th.
And then on the very next pitch, Osuna uncorks his hesitated delivery. Not surprisingly, it totally crossed up Reimold.
Since then, Roberto Osuna has used the varied leg lift on several occasions. But the key is he doesn’t use it all the time. Sometimes, it won’t even show up in an entire appearance. But this one was from August 27th against the Twins.
Osuna has a kind-of-Cueto thing going on now. pic.twitter.com/Tr3egRQjt0
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) August 27, 2016
However, the one tell that Osuna may be tipping his pitches in this instance; he often follows through with a fastball if he does that hesitated delivery. But with the ability to dial his heater up to 99 miles per hour, it doesn’t matter all that much, as hitters often can’t catch up to Osuna’s fastball anyway.
In a game of constant adjustments, Roberto Osuna decided to make a slight change on the mound with his timing to the plate. So far, it seems to be working … and Roberto Osuna can thank his mentor Jason Grilli for bringing it to his attention.