Kimbrel’s curveball was … fine in 2019. A 48.6% K rate and .265 opponent WOBA continue the disturbing trend of its effectiveness dwindling, but he needs to rely on it if he’s going to regain his past form.
2019 was a write-off for Kimbrel across the board, and his fastball efficiency was a big reason why. The pitch yielded an ugly .481 opponent WOBA and 209 wRC+, and it was the reason for his disastrous counting stats.
Kimbrel’s four-seam was a mixed bag in 2018. He had trouble locating the pitch as his walk rate spiked and he allowed the most home runs in a season off the pitch with seven fastballs leaving the yard. He has maintained the velocity, and hitters were still rung up at a great rate, so this was more of a “coming back down to earth”” moment from his dominant 2017 season. “
Kimbrel’s fastball took a turn for the worse, but his curveball was nearly unhittable. This pitch did not leave the yard once in 2018, and hitters hit only .082 against it. However, like his fastball, the command of his curve was not great. In 2018 he had his highest walk rate and lowest strikeout rate off the pitch.