Pirates Prospects Daily: Best Offspeed Pitches In The Pittsburgh Pirates System

A good changeup is often one of the last pieces of a starting pitcher’s puzzle to figure out on the mound. The change of speed is big as a different look as a pitcher faces the same batters multiple times throughout the game.

We saw this season some of the lower level guys who were ahead of the game when it comes to throwing an offspeed pitch, but the Pirates have quite a few players throughout the system that are already really comfortable with the pitch.

Below are the best offspeed pitches in the Pirates system. If you missed it, we previously covered the best fastballs and breaking pitches.

Ricky DeVito Splitter

Acquired in the Richard Rodriguez, DeVito missed the majority of the 2021 season with an injury and didn’t make his Pirates system debut until this past year. 

He worked back in slowly, pitching longer outings by season’s end, and part of the reason for his success was his splitter that was rated as the best changeup (the two are grouped together) in the Pirates’ system.

DeVito’s ability to place the pitch, against righties and lefties, is really what sets the pitch out against others in the system, making it a lot more effective and unpredictable.

Omar Cruz Changeup

The lefty doesn’t have an overpowering fastball, but his changeup helps make it a lot more deceptive than it would usually be. 

While a changeup isn’t always thought of when it comes to a swing and miss pitch, Cruz’s offspeed pitch generated misses at just as high of a rate as others in the limited data from the pitcher’s participating in the Arizona Fall League.

Cruz’s changeup generated a 70% whiff rate in the fall league, while also posting a called strike plus whiff rate of 42.1%. So the pitch generated either a called strike or whiff almost half the time he threw it.

Carlos Jimenez Changeup

A player to watch for a breakout, although he will get the tough assignment of pitching in Greensboro this upcoming year. 

Jimenez started to turn some heads last year for his changeup, a pitch that he threw more than his fastball at times. It was for a good reason, as he generated nearly a 60% whiff rate with his changeup for the majority of the season.

The pitch obviously isn’t at that level, but it does have a Devin Williams ‘Airbender’ type of break to it.

Po-Yu Chen Splitter

If spin rates are your type of thing, then Chen is a player to really watch in the system. He posts really strong spin numbers on just about every one of his pitches, and his splitter is no exception. 

Through the first half of the season, his splitter had an average spin of 1451 rpm, and had over 30 inches of vertical break on it, while also generating nearly a 50% whiff rate.

Highlight of the Day

Pirates Prospects Daily

By Tim Williams

**Missed yesterday? Anthony broke down the best breaking pitches in the system.

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Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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-Ricky D’s pizza, 10 min from PIT int
The best
If he finds the pizza makers level of consistancy
Its PNC sooner than later

-Thought Cruz would be better,
Tough watching him in Altoona same in the AFL
He is part reason we have to carry a rule 5 Lefty
Still has time as do alot of LH

-Chen is young and outright nasty
lots of time

CJ- will be in Altoona sometime this year

JC flowers update

Theres so many prospects, the quantity that still need close looks
is mind boggeling and thats what the peeps hating don’t understand
There is simply too many for them ALL TO FAIL


Watching the Giles grand slam is awesome, but I’d love to see that entire inning. I wasn’t at the game, but I was watching on TV and it was the most amazing comeback I’ve ever seen.

Last edited 1 month ago by john_fluharty

On ST, have these pitches taught to ALL of our pitchers! Perhaps, even if a couple can use them, it would be worth it?


Do you have any reason to think any pitcher at A ball hasn’t tried to learn a change? Or that coaches haven’t offered to help? It’s just a tough pitch to master.


Ya ever know. You read stories all the time where Pitcher A learned Pitch X from Pitcher B. Just look at Mitch Keller this year.

Agree, that learning a new pitch is tuff. Most times it is learned out of desperation.


Especially for grip pitches like a slider or one of the changes, those sidebars can be big.


I picked Ricky D as my pick to click last year, he did ok, but I think I was a year early and picking a pitcher to click in Greensboro is kind of silly. So I’m staying away from Jimenez until he gets to Altoona and going with DeVito once again.


My point exactly! n the end I thin DeVito is a reliever, but I’m hoping is a leverage one, at least better than Rich Rod.


He is a RP candidate only, to me.


They need starters in AA!


Who is Scott Randall?
Never mind, the guy from the Diego trade…..another change up heavy guy….

Last edited 1 month ago by PirateRican21

Looking forward to reading it!


DeVito, Chen, and Cruz (LHP) are all very close to helping the Pirates. There are probably a lot more at the AA/AAA levels, and one kid not mentioned who I like is Noe Toribio.

Toribio was 22 at AA last year after throwing only 50 innings in 2021. Through June of 2022 he was already at 39 IP with ERA’s of 2.61, 1.37, and 1.50. So, they promoted him to AAA and pitched him another 44 innings even though his ERA’s and BB/K rates were terribly high – the last 3 months at the higher level were ERA’s of 4.50, 9.00, and 8.36. Was the pitching that thin at AAA?


I was such a Giles fan! Our wives used to work together, well, she was my wife’s regional supervisor, but seem to favor my wife’s location.


I’m never not blown away when I look up the lines Giles put up in Pittsburgh. Unfathomable.


I was a HUGE Giles fan back in the day. Although, his #’s may have been inflated


Probably true, but it was still a lot of fun. A power header like that that rarely struck out it’s a rare rare thing.


He also had to of my favorites defensive plays as an outfielder, the homerun steal which is the best Pirate homerun steal ever, sorry Snider and once he came in on a ball, dove and the ball bounce off his forehead……priceless,


Oh Lord I forgot about the forehead ball


Ever any proof. Let it go.

John Dreker

I’ve heard a Devin Williams changeup comp for Jimenez from two different scouts, so the possibility is there. We heard when he was in the DSL that his changeup was described as “unhittable”


JC Flowers

Indy? Is there room? Is there ever going to be any room

Quality arms everywhere!


Crazy for other things maybe, but apparently not that…


There’s your guy again, Wilbur. How does Chen ever get hit in A-ball with that curve and splitter.


Definitely not an expert, but yesterday I mentioned sequencing of pitches. Another consideration would be his velocity – is he strong enough physically to keep hitters from “sitting” on his off-speed stuff?

When he first signed he was throwing an 89-91 mph FB. If he can get that FB velo up to 93 mph, then he can assure that hitters will have to respect that velo – speeding up the decision-making process.


He’s up to 93…sits 91-92 from what I rem from watching this past summer.

He doesn’t trust he stuff, especially after he gives up a hard hit and will start to nibble on the edges.


So maybe someone gets lucky occasionally and gets on base and then he goes to pieces. Hope they find a way to getting past that tendency.


A Kendall and now a Giles video in the past few days? With Jack Flash and Kendall on base? Besides the tornado warning going on where I live in SC this may end up a good day. Couldn’t tell who was on third. Did see Aram jumping up and down at the end.


My friend played college baseball at Pitt Johnstown with Pete Vukovich’s son in the late 90’s. Said that Giles nickname was Giggles. Not sure how true it was. And if you read this NMR that’s the same friend that went to a Phish concert recently.


Me too. Besides the writing part. Just talking nostalgic mode.

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