About three weeks have passed since Chad Green returned to the Yankees. After a horrendous start to the season, the organization decided to press the reset button. Green went to Triple-A, made a few tweaks, and got plenty of work in without major league games being on the line.
The big adjustment Green made was noticeable from his first appearance in Triple-A. ,The righty used to set himself with his glove at the belt. Now, he readies himself at the chest. How this benefits him from a technical standpoint isn’t necessarily explainable. If it was a one-size-fits all fix, everyone would do it. Rather, it appears to be a change out of comfort.
I also watched a handful of videos comparing Green’s motion before and after to see if anything else was different. The only thing obvious to my untrained eye is where he’s breaking his hands. Similar to his setup, he broke his throwing hand from the glove at the belt prior to his demotion. Now, he breaks at the chest. So it’s not merely an adjustment at the set – it’s also a part of his motion.
Green’s release point has dropped since his return, too. It’s down to a point that we haven’t seen since 2016. How does that help him? Beats me, to be honest. Might just be a result of the other things he’s changed.
These changes are interesting and all, but making adjustments doesn’t mean anything without positive results. Here’s how Green has done:
|Up until demotion (4/23)||7.2||16.3%||9.3%||4||0.512||0.459||16.43||10.05|
|Since return (5/12)||7.2||29.4%||2.9%||2||0.406||0.274||4.70||5.09|
More strikeouts: good. Fewer walks: also good. Far weaker quality of contact: great. Even though he’s still had some bad luck in comparing wOBA to xwOBA, it’s evident that Green has pitched better. Maybe it’s just inevitable regression or maybe it’s just a small sample size, but we do have a mechanical tweak to point to as an inflection point.
Perhaps we can also credit Green’s improvement to a slight change to his repertoire. He’s all but removed the splitter from his arsenal. In fact, he’s only thrown two of them since he came back to the Bronx. He wasn’t throwing a ton of them beforehand, but it was featured enough for hitters to be conscious of it.
Aside from a minor tweak in removing the split, Green also has bumped up his fastball usage. That sure seems to be a sign of growing confidence, and for good reason. In particular, his velocity and spin rate has improved.
Aside from what looks like a single game anomaly, he’s sat at 97 MPH since he returned from Scranton. His spin rate is up to 2,469 RPM from 2,433 RPM, which although seemingly minuscule, is better than it being stagnant.
All of this is good news, but Green isn’t out of the woods yet. He’s had a few duds since getting back, but he’s also shown flashes of brilliance. His vintage self was on display in his first game back against the Rays and yet again earlier this week against the Padres. We didn’t see anything remotely like those performances back in April.
The next step will be to pitch high leverage innings. Understandably, Green has to earn that. Nonetheless, the Yankees really need him to make that leap successfully. The bullpen has been worked hard of late and Dellin Betances is still on the injured list. Green’s not where the Yankees envisioned him just yet, but it looks like the trip to the minors did him a world of good.