Bassitt still turns to his changeup least often in his arsenal, but the pitch vaulted from 4.3% usage in 2018 to about 8.4% last season. It’s a pitch worth putting some faith in for the Athletics starter as he tries to build on a solid 2019 campaign: Backed by some newfound velocity (up to 85.3 mph from 83.3 a season prior), the change kept batters to a .171 BAA and even found some scant strikeout success (13.5% K rate) after failing to generate a single whiff in 2018.
Bassit’s slow curveball had a decent 2019 season. He had a good pop-up rate, exit-velocity against, xSLG (.202) against and was able to utilize it as a good chase pitch with a 30.6% O-Swing rate with just a 28.4 % zone rate.
Bassit started using his fastball more and also more effectively in 2019, using the upper-half of the zone to get swings and misses. A 5.7% HR/FB rate on the pitch is more than likely going to regress thanks to living up in the zone but even with that it should still be an effective pitch.
Bassitt’s cutting slider finds the zone at a nifty 53.3% rate, but the pitch’s walk rate (11.7%) is nearly even with its strikeout rate (13%). Opposing batters smashed seven home runs off the slide piece, good for a 26.9% HR/FB percentage, and altogether slashed .349/.434/.698 against the offspeed offering.
Worth 3.6 pVal 2018, Bassitt’s sinker did a 180 from 2017. While there was certainly improvement in several important underlying stats, there may have been some extreme BABIP variance (.308 in 2015, .382 in 2017, .262 in 2018) that led to the pitch’s success in 2018.
Bassitt turned to his slider like one normally features cutters: to offer a pitch in the zone that isn’t as straight as his heater. It did find the zone often — nearly 56% of the time — though it was far from a strong offering, allowing batters to hold a bloated .833 OPS and .286 average against the weak bender.
A good 92 mph four-seamer with a healthy amount of glove-side movement, this pitch was worth 1.7 pVal for Bassitt in 2018. Increasing its swinging-strike percentage by 2.5 points and its O-swing% by 2.3 certainly helped, but its biggest gains were made in strikeout percentage, where it jumped from a healthy 20.8% in 2018 to an elite 41.9% in 2018.
A big looping pitch with nice horizontal movement to the arm side, Bassitt’s curve was a near-neutral offering in 2018 (0.6 pVal) despite losing 1.4 mph and getting fewer hitters to chase it out of the zone. So what was the secret to its success? It took its already impressive 34.6 strikeout percentage and jacked it up to an astounding 56.7% while limiting hitters to a .111 average and 14 wRC+.
Thrown only 35 times in 2018, Bassitt’s changeup was essentially a neutral pitch (-0.2 pVal) that did not draw a single whiff or strikeout and was only put in play four times (one single).