In Edwar The Great Part I we talked about how having a truly dominant strikeout pitch was the main ingredient to being a successful relief pitcher. We supposed that if Edwar simply added a degree of effectiveness to his mediocre fastball that he could be a dominant reliever out of the 'pen for the Yanks.
Thanks to the tutelage of the best starter and the best reliever of this generation, we are starting to see that dominance emerge from Edwar.
The strikeouts have always been there. In his minor league career Edwar has 237 Ks in 190 ip, and even during a pretty bad 2007 big league season Edwar K'ed 31 in 21ip. In those 21ip last year, though, Edwar allowed a staggering 38 baserunners, 14 via the walk.
The lack of success he had with the Yanks last year can be directly linked to the lack of a major league caliber pitch to go along with the devastating changeup. Batters would simply lay off the change and mash his 88 MPH fastball.
After spending time with Mariano, and after seeking advice from Pedro Martinez, Edwar is looking more and more like the dominant reliever we thought he could become. Relying more on a fastball that now consistently sits at 92 mph.
In yesterday's appearance, Edwar threw 22 pitches; 11 of which were fastballs, 2 sliders and 8 changeups. 7 of these fastballs were clocked by MLB at 92 mph, 2 at 91, and 2 at 90. Couple that with a change that is consistently 79-80 mhp and he now has a 10-12 mph difference between change and heat. The additional 3-5 mph might not sound like a lot but the fact that it gives that much more separation from his changeup makes a huge difference.
It's only the start of June, and he's only thrown 14 innings so far this year. But Edwar is becoming the bullpen force we thought he could become.