PHILADELPHIA -- Since his senior year of high school, Angels reliever Mike Morin would slide his index finger over his thumb and place it over the horseshoe of a baseball, then run his ring finger and middle finger between the two seams to create a devastating circle changeup that would dart away from right-handed hitters.
The problem was the lefties and the fact that you never want a changeup to run in on hitters. In those situations, Morin would pronate his right arm upon his release. Sometimes it would create that necessary tailing action against left-handed hitters, but sometimes it would still cut in, and often times it would get crushed.
The 23-year-old right-hander no longer has to worry about that.
Over the offseason, while throwing with fellow pitching prospect Mark Sappington, Morin often turned the baseball over so that his circle-change grip had his fingers above all four seams. And suddenly he had a second changeup, one that always tailed away and one he could use exclusively against lefties. And now he's showing how good his stuff plays at the Major League level.
"It's huge," Morin said. "It's been very effective, and I know it's not going to cut back into the hitter, and so it just gives me that confidence to throw it."
Morin was the Angels' Minor League Pitcher of the Year last season, then entered 2014 as the team's 10th-ranked prospect by MLB.com and got called up on April 27 -- and may not be going anywhere for a while.
Entering Wednesday, Morin had yet to give up a run in seven innings, spanning six appearances. He's scattered five hits, walked one and struck out seven, thanks in large part to two changeups that dart away from hitters and are anywhere from 15 to 20 mph slower than his low-90s fastball.
On a bullpen that's mainly composed of over-the-top power right-handers, a reliever who can command a changeup like Morin is a valuable asset.
"You mainly want relievers who get guys out," manager Mike Scioscia said, "but I think the blend of a bullpen is something to pay attention to."
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.