Drew Pomeranz, Milwaukee Brewers
In signing Drew Pomeranz after a rough 2018, the San Francisco Giants were hoping they’d get a steal since the southpaw wasn’t far removed from a 3.0-fWAR performance. The results by the Bay weren’t good — his 25.9% strikeout rate was an improvement, but his 4.85 ERA through 77.2 innings (21 appearances, 17 starts) didn’t do much for the organization.
But then he landed in Milwaukee for the latter portion of the year. Of his 25 appearances, only one was a start as he completely turned his season around. Over his final 26.1 innings, Pomeranz twirled a 2.39 ERA with an eye-popping 45.1% strikeout rate and 8.0% walk rate. His hard-hit rate allowed stayed high (40.4%), but it was accompanied with a significantly reduced line-drive rate (25.3% to 12.8%) and increased ground-ball rate (37.3% to 46.8%).
Pomeranz’s pitch mix continued to primarily consist of fastballs and curveballs, but the balance between the two changed dramatically. His curveball usage dropped by more than 10 percentage points, while his fastball usage spiked nearly 20 percentage points. The southpaw’s average fastball velocity of 94.2 mph was also a couple ticks higher than it was in San Francisco.
The value of Pomeranz’s four-seamer on a per-100-pitch basis went from -0.48 with the Giants to 1.61 with Milwaukee. Re-entering the free agent market this winter, the lefty becomes a bit more of an interesting commodity to potentially interested teams.