Charlie Neuweiler had a really interesting 2019 season for the Royals Low-A affiliate, the Lexington Legends. Neuweiler had a dominant start to 2019, had a weird 7-start rough patch in May and June, and then was really really good again to close out 2019.
Neuweiler, a 5th round pick back in 2017, has always piqued my interest as a starting pitching prospect. I’ve consistently had him in my top 30 Royals prospects, including having him at #18 this pre-season. He is the definition of projectable and has found a ton of success thus far in his professional career despite a fastball that doesn’t get much above 93 mph.
We got the chance to talk to Charlie about his 2019 season about the use of his breaking ball, his success vs LHB, the development of his changeup, and more. Enjoy our the full interview here:
Q: Your fastball velo has reportedly been around 90-92 mph. Do you know what your spin rate is like? How has the development of your fastball velocity been coming along?
“I’m not exactly sure what my fastball spin rate is but I believe it’s around average or a little above average. Between last year and this year I have topped out at 94. Last year my 4 seam was anywhere between 88-92 sitting about 89-90. This year i’ve been pretty consistent with sitting 90-91 and topping 92-93 very rarely hitting anything below 90 which I’m pretty happy about.”
Q: How would you classify your breaking ball? Slider or curveball, or do you just vary the speed of one?
“I throw a spiked curve. I can’t say how many times people have asked me if I throw a curveball and a slider or even just a slider throughout my years of playing since I incorporated it into my arsenal, teammates of mine included. I think what makes it so effective aside from having a really good feel for it and trust is my ability to speed it up or slow it down alittle which causes it to change its shape.”
Q: How do you feel like your changeup is coming along?
“My changeup has really improved over the past year. I changed the grip on it from last year and i’ve gained more control and trust in it. I’m pretty happy with the development of it up to now but there’s always room for improvement.”
Q: You were dominant both at the beginning and end of the season, but hit a small road bump in the middle. Can you talk about some adjustments you made in the middle of the year to help you get back to your dominant end of the season?
“I’d say everyone who plays sports has definitely gone through a rough patch while playing whether it’s something they were doing wrong or whether it was just one of those times where the game comes around and humbles you in a sense. I think my tough couple of outings were a little bit of both but definitely more so having to tweak and adjust some of my mechanics and mindset. I worked with my pitching coach and some of the pitching coordinators to help adjust my mindset of pounding the zone inside and being more direct to the plate with my finish instead of spinning off towards first base. Since working with them and making these minor fixes I’d say my game has definitely gotten better and you can see the results not even in the numbers but in the video clips of the games as well.”
Q: Playoffs are coming up for you guys. Does your approach or preparation change as you approach the postseason?
“I’ll have to say that the approach and mindset are gonna stay the same as during the regular season. Might get a little more amped up and get those butterflies in your stomach but you have to stay within yourself and stick with what’s been working for you throughout the year.”
Q: You’ve been really good against LHB this year. Can you speak to how you’ve been able to keep opposite handed hitters (as a RHP) at bay?
“I adjusted my approach toward LHB’s towards the later part of the season. I started to pound them in more and using my 2 seam to front hip them. Along with that I started using my changeup more and then hitting them with the back foot curve which has been very successful this year.”
Q: When you reach the big leagues one day, what will we look at and say, “That’s why he made it,” be it your breaking ball, development of your changeup, bulldog mentality on the mound, etc?
“I think aside from my curveball and my pitching ability improving , people would say that it’s my work ethic and my mindset to where i’m never gonna give in or show any sign that i’ve been beat. My composure on the mound has always been one thing that I consistently get complimented on whether it’s from my friends, family, coaches or even fans fans. That’s one thing especially I take pride in.”
Photo Credits: PLPhoto2015 (@PPhoto2015)