At just 2% usage, Wainwright’s average changeup is only 5.72 mph slower than his fastball. The usage rate indicates that it is just a show pitch and the 22% zone rate confirms that. When the pitch does get close enough to induce a swing, it was pounded to a .375 BAA.
The pitch Wainwright leaned on the most in 2019 was his curveball, used 36.8% of time to much success. He threw it in the zone more frequently than 2018 and was able to get weak contact on it. Unfortunately this meant getting less swings outside the zone on it and less swinging strikes than ever in his career.
Though marked as a fastball, Statcast differentiates between a four-seamer and a splitter. His average fastball velocity has dropped since his 2005 debut from 92 mph and sat at 89.9 mph in 2019. Wainwright isn’t fooling many hitters when he throws his fastball in the zone, but gathers whiffs when the natural movement of the pitch draws it out of the zone.
Wainwright’s cutter has above league average horizontal and vertical movement. It induced a 10.96 whiff%, but was the lowest K-rate of his pitches at just 14% even though it is one that has the highest swing percentage (48.26%). With a .308/.486/.178 (BAA/SLGA/ISOA), it makes sense that Wainwright’s cutter has a negative pVAL. The pitch has worsened significantly over the years: in 2019, it had a -0.28 pVAL/100 and a +2.57 pVAL/100 from its peak in 2009.
One of the slower pitches you’ll see at just 73.6 mph, the curve was Wainwright’s most frequently thrown pitch at 35.8% (26.1% in 2017). It also remains his most noteworthy offering. He showed good command of it with a 44.2% zone rate, and he got hitters to expand the zone on it with a 40% chase rate.
This was ho-hum as far as sinkers go. The batted-ball results were a little less fortunate in 2018, as it allowed a .371 wOBA (.317 xwOBA) and .318 batting average, but otherwise there’s not too much to note here.
The veteran’s cutter averaged just 83.9 mph and had close to average swing-and-miss ability with an 11% swinging-strike rate. The batted-ball results weren’t too noteworthy, including a .276 batting average and .344 wOBA (.312 xwOBA) allowed.
Wainwright cut back on his four-seamer usage to 13% (19.2% in 2017). Averaging 89.4 mph, it had no swing-and-miss ability with a dismal 3.3% swinging-strike rate. In a short sample last year, it was blasted by opposing hitters for a .570 wOBA and .500 batting average.
Across 40.1 innings in 2018, Wainwright threw his changeup only 5.6% of the time. It’s a pitch of little consequence, as he has poor command of it at just a 23.3% zone rate. It also posted a nonexistent chase rate of 4.4%.