By FanGraphs run value, the best change-up in baseball among relievers is Devin Williams’ “Airbender”, a pitch so good it has it’s own nickname. The second best change-up among relievers this year; it belongs to Raisel Iglesias.
He throws it 90 mph, he throws it to right-handers and left-handers, he throws it in any count, and when he’s locating it, its almost impossible to hit. Against the change-up, hitters this year have a .148 batting average, a .245 slugging percentage, and a .182 wOBA. Those are of course, abysmal offensive numbers but what may be even more impressive is that the expected numbers are even better. This season, hitters have a .136 expected batting average, a .182 expected slugging percentage, and a .144 expected wOBA. When hitters make contact on Iglesias’ change-up, they do almost nothing with it.
And just making contact on it is no simple task. Iglesias is running a 44% whiff rate on his change-up this season, and a 42% K-rate, both very large numbers. Given he can throw his fastball upwards of 97-98 mph, that 89-90 mph change-up is just enough below that, and with just enough movement, where hitters are constantly swinging over the top of it. For the most part all season, its been a swing and miss, or a swing and very weak contact.
Being a right-handed pitcher, the change-up is Iglesias’ number one weapon against left-handed hitters, who normal tee-off on a fastball/slider reliever. But left-handed hitters only have a .220 batting average and a .278 wOBA against Iglesias this year, with his change-up leading the way. Iglesias has perfected dropping it just below the zone as it moves away from left-handed hitters.
Here it vs Jared Kelenic
and against Kody Clemens
pure filth against Jeff McNeil
and Keibert Ruiz
and Mike Moustakas
You should be nothing a pattern. Iglesias has been wearing out lefties all year by getting a ahead and then dropping this ridiculous pitch on them over and over and over for the strikeout.
But Iglesias isn't just saving this pitch for opposite handed batters. What makes it truly special is he has all the confidence in the world to throw it RH vs RH. Even to a guy like Aaron Judge:
And the same spot on Andrew McCutchen
Even tied up former teammate and battery mate William Contreras on the exact same pitch in the exact same spot.
And even if he doesn't bury it down and in, it’s got enough vertical drop and deception to still get guys to swing and miss.
Where it truly get unfair is when Iglesias comes out of the pen being able to put that change-up wherever he wants, inside or outside the zone.
I mean good luck with this pitch:
Or this one
Even if he swung, he’s not doing anything with this
Being able to throw in the upper 90s and have a really good slider is usually all a reliever can ask for. Many of them survive on two pitches. But Iglesias has those two things and one of the best change-ups in all of baseball. It’s not hard to understand the 2.81 ERA/2.67 FIP he's running this season.