Three Pitchers Who Won’t @#$%ing Adjust by Brad Johnson February 21, 2018 Sometimes, I grow weary of writing introductions. The title is pretty self explanatory. If you need more time to mentally prepare yourself for analysis, here’s a short thread about my knuckleball and Vicente Padilla’s slickball. Ok, let’s go. Throw More Sliders!!! Check out this generic pitcher’s slider. He is perhaps one of the most consistently league average pitchers in baseball. I recently selected him as the 738th player taken in my 20-team dynasty league. He’ll also be selected in some of your much shallower formats. Point being, he’s not a highly sought after asset. Hidden Pitcher’s Slider Year Innings SL Usage SwStr% AVG SLG 2014 214.1 10.93% 23.24% 0.101 0.193 2015 192 9.84% 17.84% 0.138 0.213 2016 176.2 9.11% 23.24% 0.171 0.250 2017 186 13.07% 21.91% 0.173 0.250 SOURCE: Brooks Baseball That’s a no-joke elite slider. It’s possible that the pitch plays up because it’s infrequently used, but it’s still a travesty that this isn’t used at least 25 percent of the time. In any given year, the slider is this guy’s third or fourth most frequent pitch. His repertoire consists of a sinker (career usage: 43.58%), cutter (23.54%), slider (11.32%), change (9.79%), and curve (9.41%). You can consider the three offspeed pitches as used in equal measure. Think you know who this is? I’ll let you guess in the comments. Here’s a gimme hint. In five starts after he was traded last season, his cutter rate nearly halved from about 25 to 14 percent. His sliders increased from 12 to 16 percent. His other offspeed offerings also increased about five percentage points. He recorded a 2.53 ERA, 7.59 K/9, and 0.56 BB/9 over that span. I’m not saying he’ll continue that success or usage, but I sure hope he does. I’ve been begging him to throw 20 percent sliders for years. Your Fastballs Suck This is a tough one. What do you do with a formerly elite pitcher who still has two superb offspeed pitches but no fastball. Half of Felix Hernandez’s offerings last season were either a fourseam or sinker. Both performed terribly, a continuation of recent trends. His offspeed pitches remain potent. Nobody whiffs his sinker – 2.77 percent swinging strike rate. The straighter version is scarcely better at a 6.69 percent swinging strike rate. The changeup (17.98% SwStr%) and curve (13.49% SwStr%) are still useful. The slider is merely adequate despite lovely results. Obviously, the changeup is a big part of King Felix’s repertoire. And from the outside, it’s hard to know if he needs that sinker to make the changeup perform like it does. I think he should at least try to see how things work without the poorly performing sinker. Perhaps try cutting down to 30 percent fastballs. Just for a few starts. See what happens. Some ephemera: Carlos Carrasco is coming off an ace-quality season while basically working with the same repertoire and terrible fastball pairing. Carraco’s curve and slider are much better than Hernandez’s. His change up is on-par. Perhaps Felix ought to focus on getting a little more life out of the offspeed stuff. Stop Throwing SINKERS Jordan Montgomery throws five pitches. Four of them are seriously good. He has a Rich Hill-like high fastball – hammer curve combo. He can also mix in an above average slider and changeup. One offering really doesn’t belong – his sinker. Not only is it a terrible pitch, it doesn’t even make sense with the rest of his repertoire. Exhibit A. Exhibit B The sinker doesn’t generate many grounders. What’s the point? If Monty would just retire the pitch, we’re probably looking at an instant jump above 9.00 K/9 while maintaining his sub-4.00 ERA. He mainly leans on the sinker early in the count against opposite-handed batters. This is a weird adaptation since sinkers often have big platoon splits. He obviously doesn’t think he can throw his fourseamer to righties. Perhaps he knows best, but this isn’t working. You know, I hear good things about the Vicente Padilla slickball.