The changeup is Flexen’s best pitch with a 3.1 pVal and just a 12 wRC+ against it in 2019. Flexen doubled the changeup usage in 2019 and added two inches of arm-side run. With a 17.1% SwStr%, Flexen should be able to generate more strikeouts with it in 2020.
Flexen almost completely eliminated his curveball in 2019 after throwing it 16% of the time in 2018. He added 2 inches of vertical drop to the pitch in 2019 but could not throw it for strikes or induce many swings outside the zone.
Flexen increased the usage of his four-seam fastball by 16% lowering his sinker usage by the same margin. He added 1.5 mph to his fastball in 2019 and the results were much better with a 103 wRC+. Flexen doesn’t include many swings and misses evidenced by just a 3.7 SwStr%.
Flexen’s primary breaking pitch is his slider. It’s a hard slider without much break which acts more like a cutter. It does have a decent 11.1% SwStr rate but was hit hard to the tune of 216 wRC+. Flexen may want to drop the slider’s usage in favor of his changeup and four-seamer.
Thrown only 65 times in 2018, Flexen’s four-seamer was worth a -1.1 pVal (1.7 pVal/C). With decent movement and average velocity around 92 mph, it suffered mainly from not missing enough bats (4.6 SwStr%), and when hit, it had a tendency to leave the park or go for extra bases (60.0 FB%, 33.3 HR/FB%, .636 ISO).
Thrown just 29 times in 2018, this pitch had a tough go of it with a pVal/C of 5.0. Losing nearly three inches of overall movement, it didn’t generate a single whiff. When hit, it was hit hard, generating a .333 average and ISO with a 236 wRC+. It also appears that Flexen had trouble controlling the pitch, as he walked two batters with it in nine total at-bats.
Flexen only threw his curveball 15 times in 2018, but those 15 times did not go well. Being worth a -9.6 pVal/C, this big looping curve needs to miss more bats if it’s going to be effective. But it’s difficult to know if that is an issue with the pitch or just random noise due to the small sample size.
This wasn’t a great pitch for Flexen in 2018, and he only threw it 30 times with poor results (-8.7 pVal/C). There are some signs of potential for the pitch, as it saw sizable improvement in 2018 in key categories including swinging-strike, zone, and chase rates while cutting the pitch’s walk rate nearly in half in what is admittedly a small sample.
It’s hard to evaluate this offering fully in a nine-pitch sample, but it shows some nice vertical rise with arm-side action in on righties and diving away from lefties .