Kuhl’s primary fastball was about as ineffective as its counterpart, as they both checked in with -5.7 pVals or worse. With subpar swinging-strike and chase rates, and an uninspiring zone rate, it didn’t play the role of whiff-inducer or primary strike-getter all that well. To top it off, it had just a 40.6% ground-ball rate, so it wasn’t reliable in that area, either. Hitters banged it around accordingly for a .255 ISO.
Kuhl added a four-seamer last year and featured it just under a quarter of the time. It sported good velocity at 95 mph and more horizontal movement than average. Still, it wasn’t a strikeout pitch, and hitters racked up a .250 ISO on it (on an inflated 18.2 HR/FB%). This was strictly a secondary way to pick up strikes.
Now we’re talking. If there’s any interest in Kuhl, this is where it comes from. The slide piece fit the criteria of a Money Pitch with 40.6% chase, 49.3% zone, and 21.3% swinging-strike rates. Surprisingly, he cut its usage in half last year, which didn’t seem to serve him well. Perhaps he’ll throw his best pitch more in ’19.
His hook added bend and drop to become above-average in the latter department. And it checked in with an effective 4.2 pVal—albeit with subpar swinging-strike and chase rates. The knuckle curve acts as a secondary strike-getter for the righty.
With its usage under 10%, Kuhl’s changeup didn’t rear its head much in ’18. That was probably a good thing, as it checked in with a -5.7 pVal. It doesn’t fit the profile of a whiff-inducer, and it doesn’t draw ground balls, either. It does get more horizontal movement than average, but it just didn’t get the job done. Shrug.