The bad news for Sonoma County League hitters is hard-throwing Nick Mutz of Analy is also throwing a changeup for strikes this season.
Mutz, a senior who has started the season 3-0 with a 0.74 ERA, 10 hits allowed and 18 strikeouts in 19 innings, tossed a four-hitter on Friday against Healdsburg, striking out seven and not walking a batter.
"He has been awesome," said Analy coach Steve Miller. "He's a great competitor. I think he was throwing harder in the sixth inning than at the start."
Mutz, who worked hard in the offseason on mechanics and pitches, said growing bigger and developing consistency with his delivery has added velocity to a fastball which was recently clocked at 90 mph.
"I've felt pretty good and my location has been good," said Mutz. If there was an issue for Mutz the last couple of seasons it was control, which led to throwing more pitches.
Analy pitching coach Dan Graham said that Mutz's changeup combined with his fastball has helped keep batters off balance. "The changeup has really been working. He's throwing it a lot and it has good movement down."
"Nick is a workhorse," Graham said. "He's mixed up his fastball and changeup. He throws a slider and curve, too. The key thing for Nick is control."
Mutz has also worked out with Reds scout and coach Dick Adams.
So far this season, Mutz has hit well, too. He bats cleanup and had three doubles in a game.
Mutz isn't set on where he might pitch next year, but would eventually love to play pro ball.
-- Rich Rupprecht