Every year, I help write the Fantasy Profiles you see on FanGraphs player pages. One of my assigned players for the 2020 season was Michael Pineda. Pineda is a bit of a mystery. In 2019, his fastball was a unicorn. Nothing in his profile made sense. I decided to investigate, and tweeted out my initial findings:
Pineda's 2019 fastball is a unicorn.
Velo down over 1 mph
Bauer units (spin/velo) down
Drop in its vertical break
The only change I noticed what that in 2017 and 2019, he started living up in the zone more.
— Jeff Zimmerman (@jeffwzimmerman) January 5, 2020
Here’s a detailed breakdown of the above numbers:
|Season||FBv||Usage||Spin||Bauer Units||GB%||Zone%||Total Movement||SwStr%|
No improved performance indicators stick out quite like higher velocity, greater spin, or a pitcher living in the strike zone more. Sometimes a pitch will improve if it’s thrown less often since batters don’t expect it, but Pineda’s fastball usage jumped. The flashing red lights are with the groundball rate; Pineda’s fastball’s groundball rate was almost halved. Maybe he was throwing higher in the strike zone. Here are his pitch location heat maps over those three seasons. Read the rest of this entry »