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Best Moments Of Fastball In 2019 (so Far)

July 22, 2019

Best Moments Of Fastball In 2019 (so Far)



The Best Fastball Of 2019 Does Far


With pitchers throwing harder ever, it’s evident that we’re truly living in a new age of fastball.
Today, measurements such as spin rates are becoming a crucial tool for determining a team’s
effectiveness. And though fastball is becoming rarer more than ever, the pitch is still valuable,
and that won’t be changing soon. As such, having the best fastball in the league is something that
catches the attention of a lot of fans, front office members and scouts.


It’s easy to conclude that the most valuable fastball in 2019 is the product of a classic fireballer
like Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander or Max Scherzer. All these players have great seasons, but the
metrics suggest there’s someone else who processes the best fastball of 2019 today. The reigning
fastball champ is Jake Odorizzi.


Depending on how well you know the Twins, It may come as a surprise that Jake Odorizzi boasts
of a 3.00 FIP and 2.24 ERA in 14 starts in 2019. He has a career-best of 28.3% strikeout rate and
a 29.4% ground ball rate while limiting home runs to 0.71 HR/91P.


Being an extreme fly-ball pitcher, Odorizzi has always been a decent middle-to-back pitcher
though not enough to dominate American bets in bookies. Arsenal-wise, his fastball has become
a career-best, accumulating 59.6 in wFB, though his only other pitch which yielded positive
value was a slider at 2.9. However, his other pitches, a curveball (-8.2), a cutter (-10.3) and
changeup (-18.9), haven’t.


Odorizzi has achieved all this without highly staying off fastball usage, using 55.4% of his career
time. In 2019, the figure has risen to 60.7%, making it the highest since his debut in 2012, where
he made seven starts using 71.1% of his time. Data shows he averaged 91.1 mph last year,
jumping to 92.8 mph this year. His other pitches have gone up as well.


Odorizzi’s approach hails from the high-fastball boom from Tampa Bay Ray in 2017. Odorizzi
was advised by Travis Sawchick to switch from the lower part of the zone and start going high.
Though he didn’t turn immediate results, he applied the same approach after being traded to
Minnesota.


He had an uptick in the strikeout rate and a lowered home run rate, but he still wasn’t the caliber
of pitcher he has become today. His new success makes it essential to diagnose the thing he has
changed to enjoy such exemplary results this season. Part of his success this year comes from
his pitching coach Wes Johnson coupled with the forward-thinking of the Twins analytics
department.


Odorizzi was able to tweak his mechanic and use his legs better, hoping to increase his velocity –
something that appears to have worked well so far. That doesn’t mean that he’s the most
extraordinary fastball in the big leagues, but the results indicate that he has seen a huge
improvement on his fastball. His arsenal has also taken a new look, and he has been able to
utilize it effectively.


Thanks to his success, Odorizzi has become among the top starting pitchers in 2019, which is
quite good for his career considering that he’s heading for free agency this offseason. He may
continue with his domination, though hitters may catch up him at any moment. Nonetheless, the
direction he has given his fastball hasn’t hurt his career or the Twins.

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