Velocity & Pitch Mix Changes (March 29 to 31)

A few days ago, I examined the pitch mix and velocity for all the Opening Day starts. Today, I tried to catch up but failed. I just couldn’t examine another 30 pitchers. Tomorrow, I’m going to try my hardest to give a glimpse at everyone remaining.

My goal in examining these starters is to find ones who have changed over the offseason. As owners, we may need to immediately adjust our projections. Since there is a ton to get through, here are the daily starters ordered by fastball velocity change. Also, to save space, when I mention a pitch changes a certain percentage, I mean percentage points (ex. up 10% = up 10% points).

March 29th

March 29th Starters
Name Previous 2019 Diff Pitch Usage Notes
Freddy Peralta 90.8 92.9 2.1 None
Trevor Richards 90.8 91.5 0.7 Added cutter/slider, threw 21% of time
Matt Boyd 90.4 91.0 0.6 Dumped sinker for 4-seam
Joey Lucchesi 90.4 90.9 0.5 Cut fastball added
German Marquez 95.2 95.6 0.4 Slider up 10%, Curve down same
Derek Holland 91.6 91.9 0.3 Slider up 13%, Curve and change (3%) down
Gerrit Cole 96.6 96.8 0.2 Slider up 12%, from fastball and curve
Jack Flaherty 92.7 92.9 0.2 None
Matt Harvey 94.0 94.1 0.1 None
Nathan Eovaldi 97.2 96.8 -0.4 None
Matt Shoemaker 91.3 90.2 -1.1 None
Charlie Morton 95.7 94.5 -1.2 Fastball down 10%, all to curve
Marco Estrada 88.6 87.3 -1.3 None
Robbie Ray 93.7 92.4 -1.3 None
Ross Stripling 91.7 89.9 -1.8 None
Yusei Kikuchi 93.1 Threw fastball, slider, curve

Notes

  • I’m not worried about Stripling’s velocity for now since he was likely to lose some moving from the bullpen som last season, to starting this season. He may need to dump his slider to take a step forward.
  • Even with the added velocity, Peralta is just a streamable option when pitching on the road. He’s too home run prone for Miller Park.
  • Lucchesi may be tipping his pitches to batters with two different release points.
  • I have no issues streaming Holland depending on the matchup.
  • Ray’s a strikeout pitcher so the velocity loss is concerning. Here are its results at differing speeds. pERA is an ERA estimator based just on the pitch’s swinging strike rate and groundball rate with a longer explanation here.
Robbie Ray Fastball Production at Different Velocities
mph pERA GB% SwStr% Count
91 5.47 24% 3.4% 119
92 5.25 31% 5.0% 339
93 4.87 44% 5.7% 522
94 4.34 40% 8.5% 837
95 4.25 37% 9.0% 588
96 3.09 41% 13.6% 360
97 1.76 57% 17.5% 57

March 30th

March 30th Starters
Name Previous 2019 Diff Pitch Usage Notes
Aaron Sanchez 93.7 94.8 1.1 None
Pablo Lopez 92.4 93.5 1.1 Same
Jake Odorizzi 91.1 92.0 0.9 Fastball up 11%, most from slider
Trevor Bauer 94.5 95.0 0.5 Dropped curve, change and slider get gains
Nick Pivetta 94.8 95.0 0.2 Dropped fastball 13%, no change, all to curve
Jake Junis 91.1 91.2 0.1 None
Tyler Glasnow 96.6 96.6 0.0 None
Kenta Maeda 91.9 91.9 0.0 Silder down 15%, all to change
Brandon Woodruff 95.3 95.2 -0.1 None
Edinson Volquez 93.1 92.9 -0.2 Fastball down 13%, to curve and change
Mike Leake 88.7 88.4 -0.3 None, kitchen sink
James Paxton 95.4 95.1 -0.3 None
Brett Anderson 90.3 89.9 -0.4 None
Noah Syndergaard 97.4 97.0 -0.4 None
Dereck Rodriguez 91.4 90.9 -0.5 Same
Spencer Turnbull 94.1 93.1 -1.0 Fastball up 11%, dropped change.
Zack Godley 89.9 88.9 -1.0 Dropped cutter 10%, to fastball and curve
Tyler Anderson 91.8 90.4 -1.4 Dropped cutter 14% for curve
Stephen Strasburg 94.5 93.0 -1.5 None
Eduardo Rodriquez 93.3 91.7 -1.6 Cutter up 11%, from slider
Nate Karns 92.9 91.3 -1.6 Fastball up 20%, curve took the hit
Yu Darvish 93.9 92.1 -1.8 None
Bryse Wilson 95.0 92.7 -2.3 Change up 13% from slider
Colin McHugh 92.1 89.8 -2.3 Fastball down 27%, slider up 17%, cutter and curve up
Felix Pena 92.4 90.1 -2.3 None
Dakotah Hudson 96.0 93.5 -2.5 Moved 11% from sinker to 4-seam
Renaldo Lopez 95.5 92.4 -3.1 Dropped curve
Nick Margevicius 88.2 Basically, fastball and slider

Notes

  • Odorizzi gets his best results from his fastball. If he could ever develop a good breaker, his value could take off.
  • McHugh is making the transition to starting so his velocity will take a hit. It’s not important since he only threw his fastball 22% of the time.
  • Maeda is definitely pitching backwards and not relying on his fastball, and for good reason. It did not generate one swinging strike in his first start.
  • Volquez will be useless going forward. So is Godley at 89 mph.
  • Turnbull reminds me of Carlos Carrasco a few years back when he had a half dozen pitches, half were good, half were junk. Turnbull needs to get rid of everything but the sinker, four-seamer, and slider.
  • Andeson lost fastball velocity and is throwing his decent cutter less. Instead, he is throwing a  horrible curve to get crushed.
  • Wilson throws his fastball 66% of the time while losing over 2 MPH on it. Something isn’t adding up.
  • While the velocity drop is concerning for Lopez, he is no longer throwing his useless curve. Bauer also dropped his curve. Pivetta and Turnbull dropped a change.
  • Three widely owned pitchers concern me with fastball velocity drop. Here is how Strasburg’s, Rodriguez’s, and Darvish’s fastballs perform at different velocities.

Rodriquez doesn’t see any talent decline as his fastball declines. At least not yet.

Eduardo Rodriguez Fastball Production at Different Velocities
mph pERA GB% SwStr% Count
91 3.88 40% 10.4% 183
92 3.80 22% 10.2% 589
93 3.92 25% 10.1% 774
94 4.11 28% 9.5% 862
95 3.75 52% 9.0% 333

Strasburg’s results steadily decline as his fastball velocity declines.

Stephen Strasburg Fastball Production at Different Velocities
mph pERA GB% SwStr% Count
92 4.99 29% 5.9% 135
93 4.72 42% 6.6% 226
94 4.54 44% 7.2% 531
95 4.76 36% 7.0% 587
96 4.28 34% 9.0% 676
97 3.52 35% 12.1% 339
98 3.72 25% 10.9% 64

Darvish has a major talent change between 93 mph and 94 mph.

Yu Darvish Fastball Production at Different Velocities
mph pERA GB% SwStr% Count
91 3.95 54% 7.6% 79
92 4.96 21% 5.0% 259
93 4.86 42% 6.2% 341
94 3.64 45% 10.9% 522
95 3.65 55% 8.8% 397
96 3.13 39% 13.6% 317

March 31st

March 31st Starters
Name Previous 2019 Diff Pitch Usage Notes
Walker Buehler 96.2 97.4 1.2 None
Frankie Montas 95.8 96.9 1.1 Sinker down 23% to a new splitter
Zack Wheeler 95.9 97.0 1.1 None
Lucas Giolito 92.4 93.5 1.1 None
Matt Moore 92.4 93.4 1.0 None
Jon Gray 94.8 95.8 1.0 None
Sandy Alcantara 95.5 96.2 0.7 Slider, fastball, sinker, change
Yonny Chirinos 93.7 94.3 0.6 None
Nick Williams 90.5 90.8 0.3 None, kitchen sink
Jeff Samardzija 92.3 92.6 0.3 Slider down 15%, spread evenly
Patrick Corbin 90.8 91.0 0.2 None
Wade Miley 90.8 90.7 -0.1 Cutter up 26%, curve and change down
Cole Hamels 92.1 92.0 -0.1 Dropped sinker for 4-seamer
Luke Weaver 93.7 93.5 -0.2 None
Kyle Wright 94.0 93.8 -0.2 Fastball up 14% from curve
Michael Wacha 93.5 93.1 -0.4 None
Lance Lynn 93.2 92.8 -0.4 Fastball down 13%, most to cutter/slider
Dylan Bundy 91.6 91.1 -0.5 Fastball up 12%, all from slider
Jake Arrieta 93.0 92.3 -0.7 Fastball up 16%, from cutter/slider
Rick Porcello 90.4 89.6 -0.8 Upped fastball 13% from slider
Corbin Burnes 95.3 94.3 -1.0 None
J.A. Happ 92.0 90.9 -1.1 Slider up 14%, from fastball and curve
Wade LeBlanc 86.3 85.2 -1.1 None
Tyler Skaggs 91.4 90.3 -1.1 None
Sonny Gray 93.3 91.8 -1.5 Dropped slider, sinker down 20%, to 4-seam
Carlos Carrasco 93.5 92.0 -1.5 Curve down 10%, change went to slider
Jorge Lopez 93.7 91.8 -1.9 Curveball up 17%, few sliders or changes
Michael Pineda 93.9 90.3 -3.6 Fastball, slider, change. No cutter.
Trent Thornton 93.7 Fastball, curve, change, cutter
Chris Paddack 94.0 Fastball, change, curve

 

Notes

  • Alcantara threw his slider 47% of the time. Why not as long as batter keep swinging.
  • In classic Astros form, they completely reworked Miley repertoire. It’ll be interesting to see how it works out.
  • Montas is throwing a new splitter and 1.1 mph harder. Nice.
  • Hamels dropped his sinker for four-seamer and could be an extreme flyball pitcher.
  • Porcello needs to see his velo jump back up. He might not be startable right now.
  • The Yankees are going full Sonny Gray with a J.A. Happ. His slider usage is up 14% points.
  • The big name losing velocity from this group is Carlos Carrasco.

 

Carlos Carrasco Fastball Production at Different Velocities
mph pERA GB% SwStr% Count
91 5.05 32% 5.8% 103
92 5.39 48% 2.7% 367
93 5.35 32% 4.6% 520
94 4.91 33% 6.4% 872
95 5.11 38% 5.5% 548
96 4.61 38% 7.5% 279
97 4.30 29% 8.8% 57

We hoped you liked reading Velocity & Pitch Mix Changes (March 29 to 31) by Jeff Zimmerman!

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Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Alec Rudin
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Alec Rudin

Jeff, these are the best articles! Thank you!!