Mark Mulder had an interesting tweet the other day while watching the WBC, about the possibility that Fernando Rodney may be tipping his pitches. After viewing different pictures of Rodney’s delivery, it appears as though he brings his hands up higher when he throws his fastball, and keeps them lower when throwing the changeup.
While this certainly bears watching to see if he continues to hold his hands differently depending on the pitch during the season, does it really matter? Rodney was practically unhittable during the WBC, as he allowed only one hit and three walks in 7.1 scoreless innings, while striking out eight batters. This follows up his recording setting regular season, where he posted a 0.60 ERA, striking out 76 batters in 74.2 innings of work.
It would stand to reason that, if someone watching the game from their couch can see this, so could opposing players. Yet, this seemingly has not mattered, as Rodney has been a dominant force over the last year. This also appears to be an easily correctable issue, as opposed to a major mechanical flaw, so the Rays coaching staff should have few problems in correcting the problem.
This just serves to underscore how good Rodney was last season and during the WBC, where he was practically telling the opposing hitter what was coming, yet it did not matter. It certainly lends itself to the interesting thought that, as great as Rodney was last season, he may be able to be even better in 2013. While that idea is highly unlikely, Rodney would probably benefit from the minor adjustment.
In the end, it may not matter if Fernando Rodney is tipping his pitches or not. But if he is able to get another advantage on the opposition, he may end up in a better position to replicate his success.