MLB's most and least valuable pitches so far in 2019

MLB's most and least valuable pitches so far in 2019

Chin Music Baseball

MLB's most and least valuable pitches so far in 2019

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Curveball

Most Valuable: Zack Greinke (4.65)

Least Valuable: Matthew Boyd (-4.07)

Zack Greinke had a solid 2018 season, compiling 2.9 fWAR with a 3.21 ERA in 207.2 innings. He’s just hit another level in 108 innings this season, though, as he’s posted a 3.08 ERA with a 2.4 fWAR thus far. His curveball usage has been virtually identical over the past two-plus seasons (13.3% in ’17, 13.4% in ’18 and ’19), but the pitch value has exponentially gone up (1.67 to 2.47 to 4.65).

Opposing hitters have put together a .380 OPS and 7 (!) wRC+ against this pitch. What’s been helpful has been a huge shift in line-drive rate (27.4% in ’18 to 16.2% in ’19) and ground-ball rate (37.0% in ’18 to 51.4% in ’19).

Boyd is in the midst of a breakout season for the Detroit Tigers. He’s already set a new career-high mark for fWAR (2.6), while his strikeout rate is on pace to make yet another substantial jump (18.2% in ’17, 22.4% in ’18, 30.1% in ’19). He hasn’t done this with his curveball, which has noticeably gone down in usage (18.0% in ’17, 12.3% in ’18, 5.0% in ’19). That difference has gone to his slider, which jumped 20 percentage points in usage between ’17 and ’18, and has increased again to 35.8% at the moment.

Honorable Mentions: German Marquez (3.09), Charlie Morton (2.81), Trevor Richards (-3.19), Lucas Giolito (-2.76)

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