The changeup was the most successful of Dan Straily’s pitches in 2019. Certainly, that is relative, with hitters slashing .271/.308/.492 against it, with those numbers each falling into the upper range of his career stats. The average velocity of the change (84.6 mph) was the highest of his career and with his fastball velocity averaging just 90.9 mph in 2019, the gap between the two pitches shrunk. The pitch’s O-Swing was the lowest of his career at 33.1% and forced Straily to increase his zone rate with the changeup to the highest mark of his career (36.2%). Straily’s foes also put up the lowest career swinging-strike rate on the pitch at 10.3%, from a high of 19.3% in 2018.
Straily’s least-thrown pitch (3.8% usage) was his curveball. Throughout his career, he has always limited its usage and has not thrown it for strikes (209 balls and 197 strikes in his career). Of the 35 he threw in 2019, 19 were balls, thanks to a 20% swing rate and 5.6% O-Swing. When hitters didn’t take the pitch for a ball, they didn’t miss it, pounding it for a .667/.667/1.667 triple slash.
Dan Straily used his fastball 51.3% of the time in 2019. It generated a .342/.411/.823 slash line and may partially explain why he spent most of the season in Triple-A. The pitch had its lowest movement of his career, with the horizontal movement dropping from 11.9 in 2017 to 8.8 in 2019, and vertical movement dropping from -5.1 in 2017 to -4.4 in 2019.
Straily’s slider was rocked in 2019 to a 1.440 OPS, .574 wOBA, and 278 wRC+. It is hard to imagine why he threw it 19.6% of the time. The slider was much more effectitve when he threw it out of the zone, gathering seven whiffs on 24 swings (29.2% whiff rate) outside the zone compared to the seven whiffs on the 72 swings on sliders in the zone for a 9.7% whiff rate. As with his changeup, hitters were more disciplined and were able to drop the slider’s O-Swing% to the lowest of Straily’s career (29.1%) and force Straily to the highest zone rate (55.9%) of his career.
It would be an arduous task to find a worse fastball than Straily’s. Over the past three seasons, his four-seamer has been taken yard more than 45 times. Ouch.
Straily has also had trouble keeping this pitch in the yard, as it has been taken deep 20 times over the past three seasons, but the slider was a huge positive outside that. He maintained a great strikeout-to-walk ratio (47-6) while allowing a sub-.200 average with his slider.
This pitch does not often reach the zone (28.1%), so at first glance, it is surprising that Straily has such a positive strikeout-to-walk ratio (18-4) with his changeup, but when you see the 19.3% swinging-strike rate, the ratio makes more sense. With its similar arm action to his four-seam, batters are likely loading up to take his fastball deep when they have to deal with the six mph drop-off in velocity on the change.
It seemed in 2018 that Straily’s main goal with this pitch was to get ground balls or keep the ball in play. He only allowed two extra-base hits and produced a line drive or ground ball 77.7% of the time. However, when batters swung, they made contact 98% of the time. This pitch did its job, but it does not fool batters.