Parker throws his fastball and splitter most of the time, but every so often he will toss in a curve. It has not been effective recently, only generating a swinging strike 4.6% of the time with a 17.1% chase rate, both much lower than any other previous season. Nearly all of the contact ended up on the ground, yet plenty found their way to be hits.
Parker has been gradually losing velocity on the fastball the last few seasons, averaging over 2 mph slower than 2017. This pitch has gotten less effective particularly with a jump in home runs the last two years. However, in 2019, this fastball had a contact rate of almost 10 percentage points less than 2018. If this points to a different direction than Parker is heading with how he throws the fastball then 2020 could be interesting for him.
Only thrown 60 times, Parker’s cutter is a new pitch from 2019. It is a notch slower than his fastball but not worth throwing enough of time to show any real results.
Parker’s splitter has been his bread and butter for his whole career. Yet the last two seasons his swinging strike rate has fallen below 20%, now at 16.1%. His O-swing also fell below 40% last season. It still was a massively effective pitch, striking out 38% of hitters.
Parker’s fastball was hammered in 2018, allowing a slugging percentage of .562. He still threw it a majority of the time, but the pitch gave him nothing in the form of whiffs or weak contact.
Any of Parker’s success in 2018 can be attributed to his splitter. Opposing hitters slashed just .131/.170/.238 against the pitch, and it drew a swing and miss more than 19% of the time. The splitter has above-average vertical drop, keeping it low in the zone as Parker’s put away pitch.
The curveball was not a great pitch for Parker in 2018. It drew a whiff only 9% of the time while surrendering a .311 wOBA. Its heavy usage in the strike zone (41% of the time) can explain some of that, but it did not induce enough swings and misses to make it a plus breaking ball.