Pete Fairbanks — the team’s top high leverage arm who recently locked in a three-year deal that will keep him with the Rays through 2025 for $12 million, with an option for 2026 — appears to have added a new pitch this Spring.
And a quality one at that:
It looks like Pete Fairbanks is working on a splitter... and it's beyond filthy. #Rays— Lance Brozdowski (@LanceBroz) March 20, 2023
He's separating it from his four-seam by about 11" (of induced vertical break), but it's only ~4 mph slower, elite CH/SPL territory.
Here's the only pair we have on video right now: pic.twitter.com/z2ytaNXDva
The splitter is notorious for being tough on elbows, and Pete Fairbanks has already had two Tommy John surgeries on his arm, but if the pitch is thrown less regularly there shouldn’t be too much cause for concern. The injury that held Fairbanks back last year — a torn lat — would not be correlated to such pitch use.
Here's a potentially similar fastball/splitter overlay thrown by SEA Logan Gilbert (c/o @LanginTots13):https://t.co/fARbMDLMwJ— Danny Russell (@d_russ) March 20, 2023
Fairbanks has not been lighting up the gun this Spring, but there are many reasons to doubt early or pre-season velocities, including arm deadness, uncalibrated guns, or players holding back. We’d rather see Pete throwing 98 in October than in March.
But the new splitter will surely improve what is already an impressive arsenal.