Thrown almost 28% of the time in 2019, Sanchez’s changeup averages 82 mph and has significant arm side depth and run. He generated a GB% of 52.9% in 2019, which is down from 59.6% in 2018 but still above his career average of 50.6%. Hitters hit .237/.279/.409 off the pitch in 2019, which is up from the .139/.202/.200 stat line the pitch generated in 2018. However, this is likely caused by a higher BABIP, as it increased to .278 from .202 in 2018.
Sanchez’ curveball was easily his worst pitch in 2019 and thankfully he only used it 6% of the time. Featuring some of the lowest spin-rates for curveballs, he used it mostly as a surprise pitch to start an at-bat.
Sanchez’s cutter is approximately 3 mph slower than his four-seam, but has good glove side cut and very tight spin. Sanchez threw the pitch over 25% of the time and generated a K% of 19.7%, which is lower than his career average of 22.4%. Despite this, the pitch was effective as hitters hit only .220/.285/.374 with a WRC+ of only 80. Look for Sanchez to continue to increase the usage of his cutter in 2020, especially as he continues to age and potentially loses mph on his four-seam.
Lightly used in 2019, Sanchez only threw his slider 2.86% of the time. The pitch is very similar to a slower version of his cutter, with slightly more horizontal break. Hitters hit .259/.310/.481 off the pitch in 2019 and it is likely Sanchez will focus more on his other pitches for 2020.
The most-used pitch in Sanchez’s repertoire in 2018 at 32.91%, the fastball averaged 90.4 mph. A 44% fly-ball rate coupled with a 15% HR/FB rate contributed to a .511 slugging percentage against. Overall, it was worth a -1.1 pVal.
Thrown about 24.82% of the time, Sanchez’s changeup was a big part of his success in 2018. It featured an impressive 20.9% swinging-strike rate and just a 64.8% contact rate against, which when added to a quality 59.6% ground-ball rate led to a .139 batting average against. The result was a dominant pitch that was worth a 15.1 pVal.
A big part of Sanchez’s resurgence in 2018, the cutter quickly became a major weapon for him with a 20% usage rate, which is much higher than previous years. It was worth an impressive 12.4 pVal thanks to a .197/.238/.318 slash line against the pitch. Peripheral-wise though, that success may not be sustainable. It featured a mediocre 82.8% contact rate against without anything notable on the batted ball front. Opposing hitters just couldn’t square it up as evidenced by a .240 BABIP against.
Sanchez’s curveball performed pretty well outside the zone in 2018 with just a 56.5 O-Contact rate but got hit when thrown inside the strike zone as evidenced by an 87.9% Z-contact rate. The result was a.346 batting average against and a .577 slugging percentage against.
The sinker was Sanchez’s worst pitch in 2018 in terms of pVal with a rough -4.4 mark. It failed to miss bats with an 88.9% contact rate against, and when coupled with a .412 BABIP against the pitch, the result was a poor .318/.400/.455 slash line against the pitch.
The slider was Sanchez’s sixth-most used pitch in 2018 with just a 4.89% usage rate, and that was likely a good thing as it did not perform well. A mediocre 8.9% swinging-strike rate coupled with an elevated 33.3% HR/FB rate led to a .667 slugging percentage against and a -2.3 pVal.