The fastball was the pitch Swarzak used to get strikeouts inside the zone. When he threw fastballs in the zone, he struck out 14, compared to only five when his fastball was outside the zone. This stands in contrast to his slider. At an average velocity of 93.3 mph, the fastball was paired well with his slider, but didn’t induce a lot of swings and misses (43% swing percentage and 6% swinging-strike rate). The pVALs on both his pitches were higher with the Braves than they were with the Mariners, with his fastball at a 2.1 pVAL in Atlanta and -3.8 in Seattle.
Swarzak threw a lot of sliders in 2019. Of his 940 pitches, 59.4% were sliders, with an average velocity of 86.2 mph. His slider had an O-Zone whiff rate of 60.6 (358 O-Zone pitches induced 109 swings and had 66 misses), but in the zone, it drops to just 19% (200 pitches in the zone had 142 swings and 27 misses). At a 67.7% Z-Swing rate, batters aren’t being fooled, smacking the ball around the field for a .333 average with five home runs. If the slider’s glove-side movement brings it out of the zone, batters are swinging at a 33.5% rate and hitting just .068 against it. Swarzak’s slider thrown outside the zone nabbed 24 of his 52 strikeouts compared to only nine when thrown in the zone.
Averaging 93.9 mph in 2018, Swarzak’s four-seam fastball struggled some to miss bats as evidenced by an 83.7% contact rate against the pitch. A 47.5% fly-ball rate against the pitch along with a 21.1% HR/FB rate led to a .508 slugging percentage from opposing hitters when facing the pitch. All told, it was worth a -1.2 pVal.
Swarzak threw his slider 46.91% of the time in 2018, and it was his clear second option in his two-pitch repertoire. It featured a 10.1% swinging-strike rate, but a rough 91.1% Z-contact rate coupled with an elevated 33.3% HR/FB rate contributed to a .317/.378/.463 slash line against the pitch. The result was a -2.6 pVal.