Pitchers learn and develop different pitches, and they do so at varying stages of their lives. It might be a curveball in high school, a cutter in college, or a changeup in A-ball. Sometimes the addition or refinement is a natural progression — graduating from Pitching 101 to advanced course work — and often it’s a matter of necessity. In order to get hitters out as the quality of competition improves, a pitcher needs to optimize his repertoire.
Nestor Cortes Jr., New York Yankees
“When I first got drafted, I was just fastball-curveball-changeup. One of my pitching coaches in Rookie ball, Jose Rosado, told me I needed [a slider]. I was throwing a bullpen and he was, ‘Hey, you’ve got the slow curveball, and you’ve got your heater. There’s about a 15 mph difference, so you need something in between.’ We started messing around with the grip.
“It’s come a long way since then, but there’s still a lot of room to improve it. It’s basically like a cutter, and I’m…