Von Fricke sez,
[Erasmo] pitches a lot like Medlen in my eyes. Works off his change and throws to all sides of the plate. Thing is, Medlan tops out at 91, ERam "works" at 93-94 at least. He could be special.
Working off the changeup. Working off the changeup. ::taps chin::
From the left side, it's not too hard to find pitchers who "work off their changeups" as you aptly put it ... one is currently #2 in the M's rotation right now. Along with Cole Hamels, Jamie Moyer, Johan Santana, etc. Template works great from the left side.
From the right side, the approach is definitely out of fashion. Hisashi Iwakuma is one of the few RHP's who does that, pitch off his shuuto/split/change, and the insta-poll reaction to him in March was, EEYUCH. Dr. D isn't trying to re-fight friendly old battles, but it is clear that Iwakuma's pitching approach did not really register with the grandmasters watching from the stands.
You watch Jason Vargas throw a few fatballs in the first inning and you don't panic. Your reaction is, real soon here he'll have them "in between." Just wait. ... But! Name a RHP, other than say Greg Maddux :- ) you have thought of in those terms... we don't credit RHP's with the change-speed game as their calling cards.
Not many RHP's "pitch off their changeups." Of the guys at the top of the Changeup % Leaderboard ... James Shields throws hard and has a big yakker. Tim Hudson is a groundball guy, not worrying too much about keeping hitters in between. We're not talking about innings eaters who hope to survive to a 98 ERA+ over 190 innings. Tim Lincecum certainly didn't "defend himself" with a changeup; he attacked with it, but maybe now he needs to become .... Chris Capuano, there's a guy who maybe you could put down as a true RH change-speed artist.
Perhaps Medlen arrives as the first of his species in a while. Considering the fact that people didn't realize it when Hisashi Iwakuma arrived as one of that species. And maybe Erasmo is the 3rd specimen. I dunno a lot about this kind of RHP, do you? Am sure that somebody will think of a few others.
A glance at baseball-reference.com brings poor Dr. D up to speed on Medlen's awesome 2H 2012 and looking at the stats, it's hard to see how Von Fricke's argument would be countered. On paper, it looks like Erasmo should be Kris Medlen Plus. The fact is that Ramirez' fastball, if it surprises the hitter, is certainly by him.
Imagine Hisashi Iwakuma coming in with a 95 MPH fastball!? ... and imagine how this would amplify his other pitches after he did. Well, I guess you'd have James Shields.
If GM's came after Erasmo Ramirez this winter, Kris Medlen's rampage could do a lot to put wind in Erasmo's value sails. Pro sports shot-callers get infatuated with whoever won last.