Despite having limited appearances in 2019, Salazar established that he is one of the rare pitchers whose primary pitch is a changeup. Thrown 54% of the time, the pitch averages 79 mph and has outstanding downward movement. However, hitters hit .200/.333/.600 off the pitch with a 37.5% LD% so it’s clear Salazar will have to make some adjustments as he goes into 2020.
Salazar only threw his curveball one time in 2019 and it resulted in a strike against Alex Bregman. Thrown at 71 mph, it can be classified as a slow looping curve that can be used as a get-me-over pitch.
In 2019, Salazar didn’t give up any baserunners with his slider, albeit having only thrown 9 pitches. The pitch averages 78 mph and has good depth but seems to lack tightness. It will be good to monitor this pitch in 2020 to collect more data.
This is Salazar’s go-to pitch, and it’s understandable why. His fastball comes in hot, around 95 MPH on average with the ability to hit 98 with a little over two inches more horizontal and vertical movement than your average fastball. The pitch boasted a 13.7% whiff rate and a .238 average against it.
This is where Salazar makes his money. Combined with his fastball, his changeup makes for a deadly putaway pitch, and it worked as such in 2017, boasting a 52.8% chase rate, an absurd 26.8% whiff rate, a 56.9% contact rate, and a 44.2% strikeout rate. However, Salazar had a bit of trouble keeping it in the zone, as he only threw it in there 38% of the time in 2017.
Salazar’s slider had been improving over the years, but last year it took a big step back in 2017, which led to him not throwing it all that much. The pitch lost a couple inches of horizontal movement on it, leading it to have very little break. That being said, it certainly produced ground balls, with a ground ball rate of 76% in 2017.
Salazar doesn’t really use his curveball much, as he’s got much better pitches. His curve is fine, if unspectacular, but when he did throw it, it got hit, as opposing batters had a .436 wOBA against it in 2017.