Cam Bedrosian on Spin Rate and a Split-Seam Change

Cam Bedrosian features a fastball with velocity and jump. The 24-year-old right-hander’s four-seamer averaged 94.4 mph last year. What he lacks is consistency and command. He fanned more a batter per inning in 34 appearances out of the Angels bullpen, but his ERA was an unseemly 5.40.

The son of former All-Star closer Steve Bedrosian, and the 29th-overall pick in the 2010 draft, Bedrosian augments his heater with sliders and a modicum of changeups. The former flashes plus, but doesn’t always break as planned. The latter — a pitch he’s considered scrapping — has been a minus.

Bedrosian discussed his repertoire, and where he needs to locate in order to be effective, at Tempe Diablo Stadium.


Bedrosian on having a high four-seam spin rate: “The first time I heard that was last year. I’d heard about spin rate, but didn’t really know much about it. A couple guys on our team were talking about it, and I guess I was one of the leaders. I knew what my ball did, but I never put the two together and assumed I had a high spin rate. I know there are team that look at that.

“It’s totally natural. I’ve never thought to myself, ‘I have to try to put more spin on the ball.’ It’s all been, ‘Just throw it.’ I get behind the ball really well, and I think that’s what allows it to happen. Growing up, my dad always taught me, ‘out front and get that wrist at the end.’ Beyond that, it’s God-given and something that’s just there.”

On elevating and eye levels: “The last couple of years I’ve been working on (pitching up in the zone) more. When I was in Double-A and having a really good season, that’s what I was going to a lot — fastballs up. I’m working on that here in camp, elevating and then getting it back down. What’s good for me is changing eye levels.

“It’s a misconception that every pitcher needs to always work down. You want to be down for the most part — there have been times I was told, ‘Just work the knees’ — but not everybody is the same. If I throw everything down, eventually guys start to see it well. The backspin I get on the ball helps me when I work up. I’ve had guys tell me that my fastball almost has a rising effect to it.”

On his slider: “I can throw my slider for a strike, at the belt, or I can throw it down in the dirt. I can change eye levels with it, much like my fastball. I do need to be more consistent with it. Last year there were times it was almost curvish, and there were other times it was more sliderish. Sometimes it was closer to 12-6 and other times it was more 1-9, or something like that.

“I’ve had guys tell me it looks like I’m throwing a cutter when I’m actually throwing a fastball or a slider. Improving the consistency of my pitches is something I’m focusing on.”

On his changeup: “My changeup is my least-best pitch. I definitely want to throw one, so even though it’s not the greatest, I haven’t scrapped it. This past offseason, I worked on it with a guy named Buddy Carlyle. He went to Japan and learned kind of a split-seam kind of changeup funny thing. I’ve been working with that. I grip the ball with the horseshoe kind of off-kilter, so the seams go between my fingers. It’s almost like I’m not holding any seams at all. My thumb is on the side of it.

“Other grips haven’t worked for me. There have been variations — different guys taught me different things — but nothing really worked. To be honest, I was close to scrapping a changeup before Buddy taught me the new split kind of change. It’s been pretty good so far. As long as I stay through it, I get some depth. Other times, I’ve cut it and got kind of two-seam run instead.”

On the mental side of pitching “Probably 90% of what I need to do this year is mental. Physically, I feel fine and I know that I’ll do fine. Mentally, I need to step up my game.

“I need to do more than just see the sign and throw. I need to learn to read hitters better. I need to watch guys’ swings and get a better understanding of what they’re trying to do. I need to be thinking, ‘Where am I going to start it and where am I going to finish it? Do I want to go off the plate? Do I want to go in to this guy? Is this a good time to be elevating? I need to think the game more.”


Bullpen coach Scott Radinsky on Bedrosian: “Strong lower-half delivery with a power arm. Good leverage coming down the slope. The ability to create good spin with his four-seam fastball through the top of the strike zone for swing-and-miss. He has an extra gear crossing the plate.

“His slider has potential to be a plus pitch. He can throw it for strikes and expand when needed. It should continue to get better with usage and understanding. He’s also working on a cutter to keep the ball in on left-handed hitters.”

David Laurila grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and now writes about baseball from his home in Cambridge, Mass. He authored the Prospectus Q&A series at Baseball Prospectus from December 2006-May 2011 before being claimed off waivers by FanGraphs. He can be followed on Twitter @DavidLaurilaQA.

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7 years ago

Cam’s spin rate may be high but its not working out for him, guy gets crushed every time he comes into the game. I’d rather see a position player on the mound than Cam at this point.