Six MLB pitchers quietly dominating in the second half

Six MLB pitchers quietly dominating in the second half

Chin Music Baseball

Six MLB pitchers quietly dominating in the second half

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Reynaldo Lopez, Chicago White Sox

It’s been two different seasons in one upon looking at Reynaldo Lopez’s splits. Entering the All-Star break, the 25-year-old owned a 6.34 ERA and 1.58 WHIP through 98 innings. In the 38 frames that have followed the midsummer classic, those numbers are down to 2.13 and 1.21, respectively. Opposing hitters have watched their wOBA against Lopez drop more than 100 points in the process, too (.376 to .270).

There’s been a clear change in his batted-ball profile, as Lopez is allowing hard contact at just a 28.3% clip (37.8% in first half). That’s helped offset the fact that his line-drive rate allowed has risen from 19.9% to 25.7%, but he’s also seen a six-percentage-point rise in ground-ball rate.

When looking at his pitch value per 100 pitches (via FanGraphs), all four of Lopez’s offerings have improved from the first to the second half of play. This has been helped by significantly decreasing his changeup usage, a pitch that opposing hitters have recorded a 162 wRC+ against this year. His usage of the changeup has gone down about 10 percentage points, with the difference mostly going to his slider (17.6% in first half, 24.8% in second half).

That pitch has produced a 96 opponent wRC+ in 2019, tied with his curveball for the lowest of all offerings in his arsenal.

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