When looking at pitchers splits are very important, reason being is if a player has a really good or bad half of baseball it gives you a reason to dive in. Below you will see pitchers who had better second halves in the 2019 season and how a pitch mix change could be the reason why. This is a really good exercise for everyone to do because it can prove legitimacy to a pitcher potentially breaking out.
Eduardo Rodriguez had a first half to forget as he posted a 4.65 ERA, .321 wOBA, and 4.10 FIP. But he seemed to turn it around in the second half with a 2.95 ERA, .292 wOBA, and 3.62 FIP. Eduardo Rodriguez made a key pitch mix change and it really justifies his really good second half.
Eduardo Rodriguez reduced his cutter in favor of his two-seam fastball in the second half. If you take a look at the overall numbers in these two pitches you can see why this was an obvious move for him to make. His cutter produced a .287 batting average against, .139 ISO, and 113 wRC+. While his two-seam produced a .205 batting average against, .046 ISO, and a 65 wRC+. All around his two-seam is a much better pitch and you can see how well this worked as his xwOBacon, Barrel%, and HR/FB all dipped significantly. Something else to notice here is his rise in GB% as it went from 45.0% to 53.9%. 53.9% is an elite level GB% which is what you want to see with a pitcher who provides an average SwStr%. If Rodriguez can keep the same pitch mix and lower that cutter usage you could see him having a great 2020 season and providing a lot of draft day value.
Steven Matz without a doubt has trouble staying healthy for an entire season. While the injury woes are frustrating, he certainly has the talent and he did make some key changes in the second half of 2019. His stats in the first half were a 4.89 ERA to go with a .353 wOBA, 5.40 FIP, and 13.5 K-BB%. In the second he looked much better posting a 3.52 ERA, .294 wOBA, 3.78 FIP, and 15.8 K-BB%. Matz is going late in drafts and with some changes in pitch mix, we could be looking at a value pick here, let’s take a look.
As you can see from the chart Matz went to his slider more while decreasing his sinker usage. The reason you should love this change is that Matz is a weak contact pitcher and look at how much better his numbers were in that aspect. His Barrel% dipped from 11.4% to 5.6% and his xwOBacon dipped from .418 to .362. While his slider doesn’t provide a lot of strikeouts, hitters struggl