Paul Sewald, a rookie who was not even on the 40-man roster at the start of the season, has recently been used in more high leverage situations out of the Mets bullpen. He has an ERA of 4.50 with about a 1.3 WHIP. But the right hander does have 47 strikeouts in just 38 innings pitched.
Minor League Record
Sewald was drafted in the 10th round of the 2012 MLB June Amateur Draft from University of San Diego. In his minor league career Paul was always in the bullpen, never making a game start. He climbed steadily through the farm system, with more strikeouts than innings at every level. He pitched a total of 266 innings, striking out 319 and had a 1.04 WHIP. Holding batters to a .216 average.
I talked to the guys at Triple-A today about him, and they said he has a knack to make people swing and miss. Who knows why? But it’s working. It’s always worked for him. He’s a perfect example of a guy who hasn’t changed what he used to get here.
Sewald relies primarily on his fourseam fastball (just 92mph) and slider (83mph). He rarely throws a change (83mph). He throws his fastball for about two-thirds of his pitches.
While the average fastball makes about 2,200 revolutions per minute, Sewald’s makes about 2,400. So the pitch doesn’t drop at the same rate as most fastballs. This makes it appear to rise to the batter.
I didn’t really know why sometimes I got away with a 90-mile-an-hour fastball when others didn’t. For me it was kind of like, ‘I don’t know, I just go out there and throw strikes.’ I can’t tell anybody in this room how to do it. I have no idea when it happened or how it happened.
Swings and Misses
Paul throws his slider about one-third of the time. The little bit left over belongs to his change, and Hall of Famer Greg Maddux thinks he should use it more. Maddux works as a volunteer pitching coach for the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, in Sewald’s hometown.
When he told me my changeup was plus, it kind of surprised me. My first bullpen, he was like, ‘So your changeup is your best off-speed pitch.’ And I told him: ‘Um, no. I could go a whole season without throwing a changeup, honestly.’ He was like, ‘What do you mean?’ I didn’t have a ton of confidence with it, and I couldn’t really throw it for strikes. That blew his mind.
You can see what an effective pitch his change is in this percentage whiffs graph:
So far, Sewald is doing well enough to make him a reliable option on a team that never expected to need him. Mets fans hope that it’s the beginning of a long and successful tenure.
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