Chris Tillman impressed everyone in his first outing of the season on July 4th. The Baltimore Orioles gave him a start after he pitched to a 3.63 ERA with 92 SO in 89.33 innings at AAA Norfolk this year.
Let’s start by talking about what Tillman used to look like…. I had never been overly impressed with the right-hander in the past. His fastball flies exceptionally straight, and he always showed velocity that topped out around 92 mph. His curveball and changeup both looked like good pitches, but when you’re throwing darts at 90 mph, you’re likely to get smoked in the big leagues.
Now, what I saw on the 4th…. Simply put, I saw 95 mph, consistently. Tillman was blowing mid-90s gas and touched 97 a few times. He delivers the ball from 12 o’clock, making that high velocity pitch seem to rise as it approaches home plate.
Tillman’s curveball still looked like a plus pitch, and mixes well with the chest high fastballs Tillman likes to throw. Chris’ third pitch is a soft, sinking changeup ...