The changeup was Woodruff’s third pitch and mimicked the velocity of his slider, and had average velocity of 9.3 mph slower than his fastball. It certainly wasn’t his best pitch, with hitters posting a 130 wRC+ and a .301/.311/.562 slash line, but it did draw a 15.7% swinging-strike rate and tallied 13 strikeouts.
Without a doubt, the curveball was Woodruff’s poorest pitch, but it was also his least thrown at just 2.1%. Hitters had a batting average of .400 and a 1.500 OPS against the pitch. The sample size is so small that it is hard to see the pitch as anything but one to keep hitters off balance. It wasn’t successful at doing that and risks being shelved altogether.
In 2018, Woodruff’s max velo was 98.8 mph and averaged 95.8 mph, but in 2019 he jumped to a max of 100.4 mph and an average 96.7 mph. This could be the main contributor to his success, but Woodruff’s 39.8% K rate and 8.7% BB rate can also attest to his performance. He had 143 strikeouts on the season thanks in no small part to the 82 he got on his fastball. Limiting hitters to a .213/.284/.301 slash line earned his fastball a 14.2 pVAL.
Woodruff’s 12.7% swinging-strike rate was almost identical to the 12.6% he had in 2018, but the added workload (385 sliders thrown in 2019) brought the pVAL on the pitch to 1.4. The slider was hit on the ground more often than it was elevated (39.4% and 36.4% respectively) and with just an 8.3% HR/FB rate, Woodruff did a good job keeping the ball in the park when using his slider. In an excellent, though injury-shortened, season, the slider was a contributing factor, with a 26.8% K rate and a 3.1% BB rate.
The four-seamer topped out at 98 mph and was great at limiting the damage, holding opponents to a .219 average and allowing just a single home run in 2018. For a pitch with a relatively high 57.8% zone rate, the 80.9% contact rate it allowed was impressive.
Woodruff’s slider lacked lateral movement but had above-average drop. It didn’t produce many whiffs and was prone to being taken yard with a 23.1 HR/FB percentage. It did hold opponents to a .225 average on the year, though.
Woodruff’s changeup had good drop and arm-side run, which he parlayed into a 41.8% chase rate against the pitch. That wasn’t enough to push the whiff rate higher than 13.1%, though, and batters managed to hit .316 against it. Still, it didn’t allow any extra-base hits.