Finding the Best MLB Pitchers: Changeup Dominance


While a changeup is not always a pitcher’s go-to pitch, it’s often a vital piece in a starting pitcher’s repository. A changeup is an off-speed pitch (which means it has a lower velocity than a fastball), and its aim is deception – it’s relatively slow and can fool a batter into swinging before the ball gets to the plate. Adding to the deception is the fact that changeups are thrown with a similar motion as a fastball, which serves to trick the batter further.

Dominating With the Changeup

Let’s take a look at PITCHf/x data (wCH/C, weighted changeup runs per 100 pitches to be specific) for MLB pitchers with at least 100 innings pitched through Aug. 27, 2017, and see who dominates the changeup pitch.


This scatterplot compares dominance against the percentage of time a pitcher throws a changeup. The ideal location here is the upper left quadrant – it represents the pitchers who have had the best changeups and who use them frequently. Lefty starter for the Kansas City Royals Jason Vargas is well-known for the quality of his changeups, often relying on a changeup with a circle grip. While primarily making use of his fastball, teammate Danny Duffy also has a quality changeup in his arsenal. Carlos Carrasco and Gio González, of the Cleveland Indians and Washington Nationals respectively, also command a dominant changeup.

In the lower right quadrant, you’ll find pitchers who haven’t necessarily fared well with changeups, but they also don’t tend to use them very often. Mike Foltynewicz of the Atlanta Braves is one example – he uses his four-seam fastball most often but will utilize the changeup now and then. J.C. Ramírez is another example of a player who uses changeups very infrequently.

The upper right quadrant, interestingly, shows pitchers who use changeups frequently but aren’t necessarily performing well with this pitch. Jeremy Hellickson of the Baltimore Orioles is one such pitcher – changeups are his favorite, but he hasn’t had much success with them.

curveball_aug_27_asset_3 copy 2

This chart incorporates the same data as the scatterplot above but may be a bit clearer to see which pitchers are more dominant with the changeup when compared to their peers. Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers comes first in this category – although he doesn’t use a changeup frequently, he’s certainly mastered it. Carlos Carrasco is second, and his changeup frequency is higher than Kershaw’s, so he’s taking advantage of his changeup dominance.

At the opposite end, we find J.C. Ramírez, who uses his not-so-dominant changeup infrequently, as well as other pitchers like Drew Pomeranz of the Red Sox and Lance Lynn of the Cards.

Throwing a Change of Pace

While you’re checking out your favorite pitchers as they race to the postseason, make sure you’re suitably attired with great swag from Fanatics.


Home Run Analysis

The 2016 Major League Baseball season was one for the books. Between two endearing teams, the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians, facing off to end their century- and half-century-long World Series title droughts, tensions ran high and die-hard fanatics came hyped!

Both clubs wouldn’t have made it to this pivotal game without help from their supercharged rosters. Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, and Addison Russell led the Windy City with the most home runs and RBIs completed during the season. Over at the “Rock and Roll Capital of the World,” Carlos Santana, Mike Napoli, and Jason Kipnis reigned as Cleveland’s batting leaders.

All in all, home runs in the MLB are on the rise, and the baseball analysts at Fanatics compiled all batting stats from the 2016 season to provide you with enough home run data to hold you over until we start seeing some bombs this season.

Continue reading to see which teams and players stepped up to the plate this season with a home run state of mind!

Teams With the Swing

Major League Baseball players are some of the hardest hitters in the world. Let’s take a look at which teams have been crushin’ balls out of the park and dropping the jaws of teammates and fans alike.

The Baltimore Orioles topped the charts this season by scoring a total of 253 homers – the most nailed by any team in the MLB. Mark Trumbo – first baseman and outfielder for The O’s – led the Maryland-based squad with 47 at-bats converted into critical home run hits. Fielders Chris Davis and Manny Machado backed up the home run batting leader by nailing 38 and 37 home runs, respectively. The Orioles enjoyed a strong home run lead advantage over the rest of the clubs in the league for the majority of the season. The only team to step up to the plate to rival the Orioles was their inter-league competitor – the St. Louis Cardinals – trailing the Birds by 28 homers.

Rounding out the top five in season home runs were the Seattle Mariners (223), Toronto Blue Jays (221), and New York Mets (218).

Home Run State of Mind

Being the batting leader in your respective league is quite an impressive feat to boast on a major league resume.

Slugger Mark Trumbo hit a total of 47 home runs during his time at the plate this past season. Although the first baseman has been described as “one-dimensional,” his home run abilities are unrivaled. Trumbo’s excellence against inside pitches is what sets him apart from the rest, designating him an elite power hitter. No. 45’s exceptional performance could be accredited to his newfound happiness after signing a multiyear contract with the Orioles.

Trailing behind the seasoned slugger was Seattle Mariners outfielder Nelson Cruz, with a notable 43 homers under his belt in 2016. Cruz’s talent at the plate is prodigious and is showing no decline in this department as he is the only player to have surpassed the 40-homer threshold throughout the past three Major League seasons.  

Brian Dozier, Edwin Encarnación, and Khris Davis finished up as the top five hardest hitters in the league – all reaching the 42 home run mark by season end.

It’s That Time of Year Again…

Just as the weather fluctuates by season with reason to Earth’s axial tilt, the MLB tends to witness a spike in home runs depending on the month of the year.

Data suggest that sluggers at the plate are less likely to hit a dinger in April, with only 740 pitches hit out of town during the rainy month. It appears that the weather wasn’t the only thing on fire this summer. MLB batters were on a hot streak between the months of June and August, slamming a total of 2,928 homers. August takes the cake by far, recording an astronomical 1,053 home run hits alone within the 31 calendar days.

Major League history was made this season when the Baltimore Orioles set the all-time home run mark for the month of June with 56 dingers. Hyun Soo Kim is responsible for the record-setting rocket after his solo blast during the seventh inning against the Mariners.

Hey Batta, Batta!

The world of baseball is riddled with an array of written and unwritten rules. One of those “unwritten” rules entails not swinging at a risky 3-0 pitch as the batter is just one ball away from being handed first base. The majority of sluggers who step up to the plate attempt to hit a long ball on the first pitch thrown, and it seems to be working. Batters launched the most rockets to flight off 0-0 pitches with a total of 983 homers – dominating all other situational pitches with a 300-plus home run lead.

Curtain Call

With spring training in full force, there’s no telling how many home runs one should expect from the 2017 season. Be ready to support your home team the best way you know how. Head over to Fanatics, because we’ve got you covered with the latest MLB jerseys and fan gear.


The Evolution of the Baltimore Orioles Hat – MLB Baseball Caps

The Evolution of MLB Hats: Baltimore Orioles

The Baltimore oriole, the official bird of Maryland, has been the proud emblem of Baltimore baseball since 1954. First fashioned with a rudimentary profile depicting the Baltimore oriole, the official ball cap of the franchise has been stitched with a variety of insignias throughout the team’s 63-year history. The Baltimore Orioles cap we know today is an iteration of the logo first displayed in the 1960s, portraying “The Oriole Bird” mascot.

All six of Baltimore’s World Series appearances have showcased The Oriole Bird on their caps, including their three championships in 1966, 1977, and 1983. Coincidence? No. Superstition? Likely. With one of the most recognizable mascots in professional sports, the Baltimore Orioles proudly sport their fine-feathered friend during another glorious year of America’s game.
Let’s take a look at how the Baltimore Orioles cap has evolved since the mid-20th century.

Baltimore’s Brims

1954–1963: In the Orioles’ inaugural 1954 season, the team styles itself in the black and orange color of the state bird. The “flaming orange and black” bird perches on Baltimore caps in the style of a simple line drawing for nearly a decade.

1963: The Orioles fashions their 1963 caps with a block-style “B.” A single letter is not stitched onto the face of Baltimore’s official cap again for nearly 50 years.

1964–1965: An orange-on-black line drawing very similar to the original insignia replaces the one-and-done “B” for two seasons in the mid-1960s. This depiction arches the songbird upward as if it is singing.

1966–1988: Enter “The Oriole Bird.” For over two decades of uniformed caps, Baltimore flirts with six iterations of their beloved mascot. Each is a cartoon-themed logo that brings post-season success and heartbreak to the ballclub. Slight variations are made to the logo throughout these 22 years.

1989–2011: The Audubon-style depiction of the Oriole is introduced in 1989. The form is similar to that of their inaugural logo, but this version is enhanced in detail, style, realism, and just about every way possible. Five variations ride Baltimore’s caps to victory over a 21-year span. Each version of the logo is more detailed than the last.

2005–Present: Baltimore introduces a letter for a cap logo for only the second time in the franchise’s history. In 2005, a cursive “O’s” emblazons the ball cap. This alternate is still in use today, alongside an updated bird-themed hat that is reintroduced in 2012.

As the Baltimore Orioles battle on the baseball diamond in 2017 to reclaim American League glory, at least we know they’ll be sharply adorned while doing so.

Whether you’re a fan of orange stick-figure fledglings or classical-realist Oriole stitching, has you covered for your Baltimore ball cap needs.



Home Run Hot Spots: Oriole Park At Camden Yards

Home Run Hot Spots: Oriole Park At Camden Yards

Hometown Cal and Camden Yards

The St. Louis Browns baseball team (1902-53) did not win ballgames, which is, unfortunately, the point of a ballgame. They did manage, however, to make it all the way to the 1944 World Series, but lost to cross-town rival St. Louis Cardinals. The Browns had their spark, but the flame was never fanned bright enough to carry the team into the latter half of the 20th century. So, MLB owners in 1953 unanimously voted to move the team to Baltimore, where the Orioles have since thrived.

The modern-day Baltimore Orioles are synonymous with Cal Ripken Jr. Dubbed “Iron Man,” the Maryland native played each of his 20 years in Major League Baseball with the Orioles. The 2007 Hall of Fame inductee, 1983 World Series champion, two-time AL MVP (1983 and 1991), and 1982 AL Rookie of the Year has more home runs (431) than any other Oriole ever. Above all of his accolades, though, Cal holds one of the most staggering statistical achievements in sports: consecutive games played. Ripken played in every single MLB contest for the Orioles for 16 straight years, amassing 2,632 consecutive games played.

While Hall-of-Famer “Steady” Eddie Murray walloped 504 career home runs, he’s still second on the Orioles all-time list for 343 homers over 13 seasons in Baltimore. Most of Murray’s home runs took place at Memorial Stadium – Baltimore’s home field from 1953 to 1992.

In 1992, Oriole Park at Camden Yards hosted its first season as the team’s home field. Ripken split his career down the middle, playing at Memorial for his first 10 years and at Camden for the latter 10. Camden holds 172 of the Iron Man’s home runs.

Oriole Park At Camden Yards Heat Map - Historical Home Run Locations

Baltimore’s leading active slugger is center fielder Adam Jones, with 222 career home runs for the O’s. Nipping at his heels is current first baseman Chris Davis (199 home runs). Youngster Manny Machado will be looking to swing big this season to add to his 105 career round-trippers. Machado hit 37 long balls last year.

The Orioles’ “colossus of clout” last year was second baseman Jonathan Schoop, who had a career year (164 hits, 82 RBIs, and 25 HRs) in 2016. He also went Johnny-Rockets last June against Toronto at Camden, with a 461-foot shot to left field’s upper decks.

Lefties are swinging for the fences at Camden Yards. The park is teed up for left-handed hitters, with the right field fence a check-swing away from a home run hit. Long-ball territory in right rests 318 feet from the batter’s box. Left field is 333 feet away from home plate, and dead center sits at an attainable 410 feet.

The most voluminous helping of home run shots to right has historically landed in sections 92, 94, 96, 98, and especially the SRO (standing room only) section, which consumes a bulk of right field spectating. If seated out in left field, have your glove ready in sections 74, 76, 78, 80, 82, 84, and 86. Home runs are generous from Camden’s left field foul pole all the way to the bullpens in center field.

If you’re planning on heading out to Camden Yards in your old, faded Ripken Jr. jersey, maybe it’s time to check out Fanatics to upgrade to a fresh, new Ripken Jr. jersey.  



Baltimore Orioles Walk-Up Songs


Since 1992, Camden Yards has been the home of the Baltimore Orioles. While they haven’t yet managed to make a trip to the World Series in their new home, fans are optimistic this season will be different. Currently, just out of first place (behind the Toronto Blue Jays) and leading the Wild Card race, these O’s have a chance to please fans and themselves with an amazing post-season run.

Walk-up songs, selected by the players, are helping them to get in the zone and prepare for such a challenge. We looked at just what genres of music these players are using to hype up the home fans – and potentially intimidate the other team’s pitcher – when they walk up to the plate.

Press Play, Play Ball


Indecisive might be the proper way to refer to the Orioles players – nine of them selected two or more songs as their walk-up music. Out of those nine, three chose three different tracks to use as they strut out for their at-bats. Designated hitter Pedro Álvarez, third baseman Manny Machado, and center fielder Adam Jones are those three. Given the volume of songs they’ve selected (nine), they’re also the reason why hip-hop and rap lead the way.

Jones comes out to either Meek Mill’s “Bout That Life,” 2Pac’s “California Love,” or Young Jeezy’s “Lose My Mind.” Machado represents the 305 (Miami, Fla.) by exclusively using artists who hail from that area: DJ Khaled (“Born and Raised”), Pitbull (“El Taxi”), and Trick Daddy (“Where You From”). Alvarez goes with a sampling of the NYC rap game, walking out to either Jay-Z’s “Brooklyn Go Hard,” The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Juicy,” or Pharoahe Monch’s “Simon Says.” T.I., Fabolous, Rich Homie Quan, and The Game are just a few more rap and hip-hop artists that fans in Baltimore hear when their team walks up to the plate.

Unlike some of the other teams we’ve examined, no player for the Orioles walks out to Drake. In fact, the only duplicate artist is AC/DC. Pitchers Brad Brach and Zach Britton may play America’s favorite pastime, but they love walking out to one of Australia’s best exports. You’ll know it’s Britton when you hear “For Those About to Rock” and Brach when the first note of “Thunderstruck” echoes throughout the ballpark.

X’s and the O(rioel)s

While there are many different genres of music ushering batters to home plate at Camden Yards, these Birds can agree on one thing: winning – not walk-up songs – is the most important thing. Electric, country, ska, or rock couldn’t matter less if the team ends up in a losing streak or doesn’t make it to the post-season. However, if the right tunes contribute to strong on-base performance, then by all means, the songs should be cranked up to 11!

You can rally toward victory and keep a beat like your favorite MLB superstars by getting officially licensed apparel and merchandise at


The Evolution of the Baltimore Orioles Uniform


The idea of losing a professional team to a faraway coast – as St. Louis just did when the Rams bolted for Los Angeles – is not new to the people of that city.

In late September of 1953, St. Louis lost their baseball franchise, the Browns, to Baltimore – though the home team’s final game only drew 3,174 fans, so the sting of the loss is debatable.

The Browns adopted a new nickname and logo for their new city. They became the Baltimore Orioles, named after the Maryland state bird.

The team drew well over 1 million fans for their first season in Baltimore. Despite their dismal record, with more than 100 losses, a team was born.

So begins the creation story of the uniform history of the Orioles.


Baltimore Orioles WinCraft 12″ x 30″ Premium Pennant

Logo History

1954–1962: The Lead-Off Bird

For nine seasons, this simple but life-like drawing of a bird adorns the Orioles caps.

1963: Orange “B”

For a single season in the team history, Baltimore’s cap is birdless.

1964–1965: The Chirping Bird

The bird is once again the word, returning to the Orioles’ cap.

1966–1988: The Original Cartoon Bird

Spending 23 glorious seasons on the Orioles’ cap, with various tweaks, this cartoon bird logo comes to symbolize the glory days of Baltimore baseball. They are easily the winningest team in baseball during this period, with 19 winning seasons, seven American League Championship Series appearances, six pennants, and three World Series Championships.

1989–1997: The Ornithologically Correct Bird

Heading into the ’90s, the Orioles remove the cartoon Oriole from their caps and try out another, more realistic depiction of the common migratory blackbird.

1998–2008: The Lifelike Bird

More detail is added to the face and body of the state bird.

2009–2011: The Traditional Bird

The bird logo is simplified and drawn in the traditional shades of orange, black, grey, and white.

2012–Present: The New Cartoon Bird
The smiling cartoon Oriole makes its return as the team celebrate their 20th anniversary at Camden Yards, widely regarded as a jewel of a park.


Baltimore Orioles Glitter Trail Pin

Notable Uniform Changes


  • 1954: The team go traditional for their inaugural season, wearing white and grey uniforms with “Orioles” written in black.
  • 1955: The text becomes orange.
  • 1955–1974: Hats are black with orange brims and a logo.
  • 1956: Road uniforms say “Baltimore.”
  • 1958: Uniform numbers are added to the lower left abdomen.
  • 1963–1964: Home uniforms are black and white with hints of orange outlining.
  • 1968–1969: An alternate vest uniform is added.
  • 1971: An orange alternate uniform is added for this landmark year, in which the O’s have four 20-game winners on their team.
  • 1973: The text on the road uniforms returns, forever, to “Orioles.”
  • 1975–1988: The cap gets a white, black, and orange brim and logo.
  • 1993–1994: Black alternate uniforms are added.
  • 1989–2011: Hats become fully black, with a logo.
  • 2012: The away hats are entirely black, while the home hats are white in front and black in the back. Both have an orange brim and logo.

Looking Back to Look Forward

With a rich history, but a rather sparse run as of late, the Orioles currently rest with just six retired numbers, most of these coming from their glory days. Of the names on this list, only Cal Ripken Jr. spent any time toiling away on a losing squad:

No.4 – Manager Earl Weaver

No. 5 – Brooks Robinson

No. 8 – Cal Ripken Jr.

No. 20 – Frank Robinson

No. 22 – Jim Palmer

No. 33 – Eddie Murray


Cal Ripken Jr. Baltimore Orioles Majestic Cool Base Cooperstown Collection Player Jersey – Orange

On the other hand, the following two numbers are considered to be semiretired:

No. 7 – Cal Ripken Sr. – 36 years with the franchise in various capacities

No. 44 – Elrod Hendricks – 28 years as a bullpen coach and 11 seasons as a player

One number that has to be considered for the retired list is No. 35 – Mike Mussina. Leaving to join the rival New York Yankees certainly hurts his odds, but a WAR second only to Jim Palmer in franchise history helps.

Currently, the Orioles have a crop of talent, all in their prime. With any luck, the retired numbers list may be growing.

Before heading out to #BirdLand, make sure you are equipped with the latest Orioles gear from Fanatics to show off your true orange support!