Pedro Martinez is inarguably a top three pitcher in Red Sox history, providing clutch play leading up to Boston’s 2004 World Series triumph. He was one of the most feared pitchers of his time, with an absurd changeup at the forefront of his arsenal.
Martinez’s changeup is one of the best pitches of all time. He threw it with the same speed and arm slot as his fastball, making it hard to predict, and it broke down and away from left-handed hitters. This pitch is respected by all of the baseball community, and certainly for a reason. Here’s just a few statements from both teammates and opponents about his elusive changeup.
“But I just loved watching him,” Severino wrote. “From the very first time I saw him play, I was hooked. His tempo was unbelievable, and he was never afraid of anyone or anything. If he had to pitch inside, he’d pitch inside. If he needed to hit you, he’d hit you. And that changeup was just incredible to me — how he could throw so hard and then come at you with a changeup on the very next pitch. It was always just so much fun to watch.”Severino on watching Martinez as a kid in The Players Tribune
“Pedro’s changeup was the best I’ve ever seen,” Ortiz wrote. “It was so good that he could have walked right up to the plate and told you, “Hey bro, I’m about to throw you the changeup.” And you still wouldn’t be able to hit it. It would start right on the plate, then it would fade out. Most changeups have some movement, but Pedro’s would move about 10 inches away from you. Now he winds up for the next pitch and it’s the exact same motion, same delivery, same release. Oh okay, I’m about to hit this changeup into the cheap seats. Nah! It’s a 95 mph fastball.”David Ortiz in the Players Tribune, 2015
“It’s a Bugs Bunny changeup; it moves so much,” Saberhagen said. “Bugs Bunny is the only one with a changeup that can move like that, and he has the help of animators.”Former pitching teammate Bret Saberhagen on Martinez’s changeup
“Best changeup I’ve ever seen,” former New York Yankees outfielder Paul O’Neill said. “And he had a great fastball, and a lot of people don’t realize he had a great curveball.”Paul O’Neill on Martinez’s pitching arsenal
“He had good velocity on his fastball, he had life on his fastball,” Duquette said. “He had a great overhand curve and as Matt Stairs used to say, a Bugs Bunny changeup (which in the cartoon stopped in mid-air and changed directions). Even if you were looking for it, you couldn’t hit it.”Former Red Sox Executive Dan Duquette on Martinez
Up-and-coming pitchers Jack Flaherty and Zac Gallen, as well as veteran aces Adam Wainwright, Marcus Stroman, and Justin Verlander also all named Pedro’s changeup to their dream arsenal. But hey, why don’t you check the famous pitch out for yourself?