The changeup wasn’t a terrible pitch for Suarez in 2019. He threw it 79 times (14.7%), and even though the pitch only induced nine whiffs (11.4%), it was the pitch that surrendered the lowest BAA (.200). It was in the zone 40.5% of the time, but was a better swing-and-miss pitch when it was out of the zone (two zone whiffs and seven out-of-zone whiffs). If he could increase his 21.3% O-Swing, he could benefit from the 53.8% of whiffs (seven whiffs in 13 swings).
It is a good thing for the Giants that Andrew Suarez didn’t throw his curveball much (just 5.6%). Hitters offered at the pitch just 11 times (of 29 thrown), and three of those swings yielded hits (including a home run). His curve has above-average vertical (62″) and horizontal (11″) movement, but as his slowest pitch (75.9 mph average velocity), hitters are able to adjust.
Statcast has both a two-seamer and a four-seamer as Suarez’s fastballs and Brooks Baseball has a four-seamer and a sinker, combining for 55.9% usage and averaging 92.8 mph. In 304 fastballs thrown, batters swung at exactly half, but, unfortunately for Suarez, they missed at just a 10.5% rate. The combination of high usage and a BAA of .333 was a recipe for a high ERA, and Suarez’s slugging against on his four-seam was .569 and .741 on his sinker. Even pitcher-friendly Oracle Park can’t alleviate that.
The slider was Suarez’s main secondary pitch at 23.4% usage. Opposing batters offered at the pitch 52.7% of the time and the slider had a 15.1% swinging-strike rate. The result on his slider was a .226 BAA, and the pitch gathered 11 strikeouts. Perhaps throwing more sliders and fewer fastballs, as he did in 2018, will bring his 5.79 ERA in 2019 closer to his 4.49 ERA from 2018.
Suarez’s four-seam fastball averaged 92.2 mph and was his most-used pitch in 2018. Despite giving up an 89.2% contact rate with the pitch, he was able to manage contact reasonably, and the result was a .259 batting average against. It was worth a 2.7 pVal.
The slider is Suarez’s main strikeout pitch with a 26.3% strikeout rate. It features a 13.2% swinging-strike rate along with an impressive 57.4% ground-ball rate, and hitters managed just a .249 batting average against the pitch in 2018. An extremely high 33.3% HR/FB rate though led to nine home runs hit against the pitch, which led to a -2.9 pVal.
Suarez threw his 76.9 mph curveball about 13% of the time in 2018, and it served as an out pitch for him as evidenced by a 21.3% strikeout rate, particularly outside of the strike zone as he posted a 62.1% O-Contact rate. The 93% Z-Contact rate for the pitch indicates it wasn’t nearly as effective inside the strike zone, and that contributed to a .273 batting average against and .534 slugging percentage against. Overall, it was worth a -2.5 pVal.
Despite being Suarez’s least-used pitch in 2018, his changeup was actually a positive value pitch in terms of pVal with a 1.7 mark. An 8.6% swinging-strike rate shows that it may not miss many bats, but the 60.7% ground-ball rate for the pitch helped him manage contact and post a .258 batting average against.