The changeup has regularly featured at the bottom of Kluber’s arsenal, and 2019 was no different. The pitch continues to serve some use as a ground-ball inducer, but a 9.8% swinging-strike rate suggests a return to the pVAL it featured in his stellar 2017 Cy Young season is unlikely.
Once the sumptuous dessert of all pitch GIFs, Klubot’s breaking ball continues to stymie hitters who don’t know how to judge it. A ridiculous .153 opponent wOBA and 0 wRC+ (that’s zero, with a 0) suggest that its effectiveness isn’t going anywhere.
Kluber’s fastball velocity hovered around 92 mph in an injury-reduced 2019, and the pitch continues to yield inordinately high opponent wOBA (.493) numbers, but an opponent BABIP of .545 suggests that things should get better in 2020.
Klubot’s go-to full-speed offering, the cutter continued to work well for him in 2019. The pitch yielded a solid 16.4% swinging strike rate and a 24.1% K rate — solid numbers for a high-volume offering.
While this was the sixth year in a row Kluber’s sinker velocity dropped, he still was able to get a 52.5% ground-ball rate. He shouldn’t rely on this pitch as much as he does, however, as it allowed a .354 wOBA.
Kluber increased his cutter usage in 2018 to much success, producing a 15.9 pVal on the pitch. While his cutter and slider used to blend into each other, Kluber had a more refined cutter that had less movement but helped induce ground balls.
Kluber’s slider/curveball/cutter weapon was the best pitch of 2017 and still is an elite weapon. Producing a top-end 19.8% swinging-strike rate, Kluber gets a ton of horizontal movement to help him strike just about everyone out with it.
Having seen his velocity drop the past couple of years, Kluber wisely has laid off his four-seamer and used it sparingly to decent results, only allowing a .569 OPS. He threw it out of the zone more, which saw its swinging-strike rate rise from 5.9 to 9.0%.
This was Kluber’s least-used pitch. However, when he did throw it, it tended to be effective. Used as a chase pitch, the changeup got a swing over half the time on only a 35% zone rate.