During the 2018 season, Eric Lauer had success at the major league level with essentially two pitches, the fastball, and a slider/cutter. The San Diego Padres pitcher is perfecting a curve and a changeup now, and the development of those two pitches is intriguing to his future.
Opening Day 2019 was a special time for Eric Lauer.
The San Diego Padres rewarded the 23-year-old by giving him the first start of the year for the team.
The left-handed pitcher had an impressive spring where he failed to allow a run in 10 innings pitched. The fact Lauer was given this prestigious start was about more than just his numbers in the spring, though. Lauer is stoic and calm while throwing. I often refer to the fact he has ice water running through his veins. His actions on Thursday were the norm for this pitcher. “I was surprisingly calm out there. Ice water in the veins,” Lauer said with a chuckle. He enjoys the fact he has that well-deserved reputation.
His command on Thursday was not it’s absolute best, but he works through problems very swiftly. The fact he makes adjustments so quickly will only benefit this young hurler. In speaking about his command on Thursday, he was sincere in his assessment. “I felt good. I don’t know if it was my best command, but I did feel good. I missed on a few pitches. I felt really efficient though. I could throw strikes when I wanted to. Everything was working, and I could put it over the plate,” Lauer said.
In watching the game on Thursday, there were quite a few curveballs from the lefty. Last year, according to Brooksbaseball, he only threw 19 of them all year. In speaking about the pitch, he educated me on his usage of it. “I think it is definitely going to be more of a weapon this year. Last year, it was more of an every once in a while kind of thing. It’s progressing well,” Lauer said. He knows how to throw the pitch, but is working on the dynamics. “At the end of the year last year, I worked with (pitching coach Darren) Balsley on it. We worked on the mentality of the pitch more than grips or anything. More of how to throw it and use it on different plains and such,” Lauer said. This pitch could be a massive benefit for Lauer as he continues to try to keep hitters off-balance.
The curve is not the only pitch he has in the back pocket. The changeup is another selection he hardly used last year, but Lauer tells me things will change this year. “I am a lot more comfortable with it this year. It will be used a lot more this season. In the first game, we did not use it a ton. We thought we did not need it. It was mostly a fastball/slider game for me,” Lauer said. He is very comfortable with the pitch and using it when he feels necessary. If he can perfect both the pitches, Lauer could take his game into a whole new level.