Though it’s not often spoken of in the same breath as his devastating slider, Carrasco’s changeup has been every bit as filthy. It wasn’t as good last year, but it’s hard to understand just exactly what his body was going through. For his career, he’s maintained a 50% O-Swing rate, and a SwStr% just south of 20.
Cookie’s curveball also didn’t show up last season, but has historically been good. A .206 wOBA against is top shelf, and makes this offering a great change-of-pace pitch.
Cookie’s fastball has been far more of a hindrance than a help to his career success. It carries a -66 pVAL over the course of his career, and he’s allowed opposing hitters to tee off on it to the tune of a career .396 wOBA.
2019 was a down year for Carrasco and the same can be said for his slider, which was the lowest pVAL he’s had since 2013. He utilized it more down the stretch in his relief role and it was still elite, having a 24% swinging-strike rate and .236 xwOBA. It will bounceback in 2020 and so should he.
Carrasco lost a little movement off his four-seamer, but this pitch wasn’t quite the liability it could be at times in the past, as it went from a -11.7 pVal to a -2.4. Still, the swing numbers were largely the same: a 5.8% whiff rate and a 16.9% chase rate. The former number says the pitch’s 16.4 K% won’t happen again, but the fastball has never been where Carrasco’s made his money.
After losing a bit of action off his hook in ’16 and ’17, Carrasco regained significant bend and drop on it last year—and it could look downright cartoonish at times. He pounded the zone more with it and lost five percentage points off its chase rate, which indicates he used it as a secondary way to get ahead in counts rather than as a put-away pitch. Still, it got the job done as a whiff-inducer (16.0% SwStr) when needed as well as a ground-ball getter (54.5%).
As the sixth-highest-chased pitch in the majors last year with a 52.4 O-swing percentage, Carrasco’s changeup induced starry-eyed emojis from fans everywhere—and he’s not afraid to throw it to right-handers inside occasionally. The kicker? It induced ground balls 66.7% of the time batters made contact with it, making it an extremely versatile offering. It dropped from an eye-popping 19.6 pVal to a 6.1 and moved more toward a whiff-inducer than a ground-ball pitch, but it still pulled off both jobs fantastically.
The lesser-used of Carrasco’s two heaters got slightly better results than its counterpart with a 0.4 pVal and still carried impressive arm-side action. But the sinker’s effectiveness as a ground-ball pitch continued to wane from its halcyon days of 2015 (73.4 GB%), falling to a 44.9% rate in ’18. Meh.
Though this pitch changed its shape from 2017 to ’18—gaining bend and significant drop—it fell a few percentage points shy on zone rate to meet the criteria for a Money Pitch (40% O-swing, 40% zone rate, 15% SwStr). Those swing numbers, though? Fatal: a 26.2% swinging-strike rate and a 52.5% chase rate. Quite a weapon.