Braves’ Freddy Tarnok Gets Up To Speed With Technology

Righthander Freddy Tarnok is sticking with what works.

Drafted in the third round in 2017 out of Riverview (Fla.) High, he earned a spot on the Braves’ 40-man roster last November following a breakthrough season in which he reached Double-A Mississippi for nine starts.

Getting up to speed on technology helped pave the way for Tarnok’s 2021 success, which included a 3.44 ERA with 109 strikeouts and 28 walks in 73.1 innings. 

The 23-year-old credits his success in part to offseason work with Kinetic Pro Performance in Tampa. His mid-90s fastball tops out at 98 mph and has plus riding life that generates whiffs.

“The great fastball shape was from training at Kinetic,” Tarnok said. “Fixing my mechanics allowed everything to play up. I added velocity and everything really worked well off of it.”

Tarnok’s mechanical adjustments included improving his timing. He said his arm slot was out of place at foot-plant, thus his arm and shoulder weren’t where they ideally should be.

“Looking at the numbers allowed me to get more consistent without having to think about it,” he said.

Among the tech that Tarnok relied on was an Edgertronic super slow-motion camera and the mobile app ProPlayAI.

“It breaks down the kinetic chain,” Tarnok said of the latter. “If I’m on time and synced up, you’ll see a lot of green, but when I’m leaking energy you’ll see a lot of red. It’s super helpful.”

Tarnok entered pro ball with an outstanding curveball. The pitch is the best of its type in Atlanta’s system—a true 12-to-6 with downer action—which combined with his plus fastball gives him a strong foundation. 

In order to reach a higher upside, Tarnok set to work on expanding his repertoire.

He said he developed and then lowered the spin efficiency on a slider while training at Kinetic. He initially sat 84-85 mph with his slider but was able to up his average velocity closer to 87-88 this offseason.

Among Tarnok’s goals for 2022 are improving his first-pitch strike percentage to stay ahead of hitters, refining his changeup to tame lefthanded batters and remaining healthy.

“A full healthy season is definitely my primary goal,” he said.

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