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Cristian Charle: Success Comes From Untraditional Usage Of Pitch

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Some pitchers, especially relievers, don’t always need a deep repertoire when it comes to their pitches. They can get away with two, especially if they work off of each other, because they won’t likely face the same hitter more than once.

Signed out of the Dominican Republic in April 2018, Cristian Charle has been one of those pitchers who has been extremely effective out of the bullpen this year for the Bradenton Marauders.

The 22-year-old was recently promoted to the Greensboro Grasshoppers for his excellent efforts with the Marauders. In 20 games, all out of the bullpen, Charle posted a 2.16 ERA, holding opponents to a .206 average while striking out 40 batters and only walking nine in 33 1/3 innings.

Charle was a big part in Bradenton posting the fourth best ERA (and total strikeouts) among Florida State League bullpens. He will get his first chance to further himself up the organizational ladder pitching in Greensboro, no easy task.

He will attack Greensboro hitters with a somewhat simple, but efficient pitch-set that includes just two pitches.

‘Cutter’

A simple pitcher when it comes to his arsenal, Charle throws just a fastball, and according to Baseball Savant, a ‘cutter’. It’s not really a traditional cutter in the sense of the velocity difference between it and his fastball — which has reached as high as 98-mph this season.

He can also add and subtract velocity to the pitch, having it register anywhere between 77-mph to 88-mph.

As he adds and subtracts to the pitch, he will get a little more break out of it, so you can almost say they are different, but the overall path is the same. It’s clearly his change of pace pitch, one that he has had great results with this year.

Velocity 83.53-mph
Spin Rate 2164.5-rpm
Vertical Break 35.97-inches
Horizontal Break 2.81-inches
Usage 30.99%
Whiff% 47.29%

Charle relies on the fastball heavily, which makes the cutter his default ‘offspeed’ speed based off the average velocity — although it doesn’t have the traditional spin or break of a changeup.

A cutter isn’t exactly the kind of pitch you’d expect to generate the kind of whiffs Charle has with it, with nearly 50% of the time hitters swing at it, missing.

At the end of the day, whatever the pitch may be, or even if these are supposed to be multiple offerings, Charle has been getting the right kind of results with it.

Fastball

Charle offers a mid-90s fastball along with his cutter, and it’s a pitch he uses nearly 70% of the time. Outside of it being flat at times, it gets good spin and has been effective considering how often he uses it.

His fastball is comparable to Cody Bolton, who has some of the best metrics when it comes to his pitches in the system, and Charle is even able to generate more misses with it.

Velocity 94.37-mph
Spin Rate 2398.58-rpm
Vertical Break 15.37-inches
Horizontal Break 3.76-inches
Usage 68.57%
Whiff% 27.3%

You can see how explosive the fastball can be out his hand, with him using a bend in his back leg to help push him forward in his throwing motion. The issue he could see moving up the minors is the fastball can be relatively flat at times.

This kind of arsenal usually wouldn’t be a recipe for success in the upper levels, but the one thing that plays in his favor is the range that the ‘cutter’ can have at times, acting almost like two separate pitches all in one.

Some type of two-seam fastball or sinker could help with the flatness of the fastball, but in the meanwhile Charle will test his stuff in one of the more pitcher friendly ballparks in the minors.

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Cristian Charle: Success Comes From Untraditional Usage Of Pitch

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Anthony Murphy
Anthony Murphy
Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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