Hess threw his changeup 11.7% of the time in 2019, with the pitch averaging 85.5 mph and getting slightly less-than average movement, on both the vertical and horizontal plane. With only a 7.3% SwStr% and 11.5% K-rate, the pitch certainly isn’t of the put-away variety. But it also doesn’t get regularly hammered, with it’s 7% barrel-rate being the lowest of his five pitches.
Hess threw his curveball just 4.5% of the time in 2019, with 53-of-65 coming versus left-handers. It may have not been thrown often but when it was, it got hammered with a .714 SLG and a .410 wOBA. Averaging 77.3 mph, the pitch gets 17% less break than the average curveball, as well as 9% less drop.
The main pitch in David Hess’s arsenal, the four-seamer was thrown 59% of the time and averaged 92.9 mph. While the pitch gets 10% more drop than the average fastball, it is also quite straight, garnering 58% less break. The straightness of the pitch shows, as it has resulted in a 17% barrel-rate that is the highest among his arsenal.
Thrown 25% of the time, Hess’s slider sits 83.3 mph and has below-average movement on both planes. Primarily used versus right-handers, the slider finished with a 27.5% K-rate and induced a 15.3% SwStr%.
Hess went to his four-seam fastball more than half the time, relying on it as a primary offering to set up his other pitches despite its mediocre velocity and movement. Batters hit .293 against the pitch. It also gave up a considerable amount of home runs and had a double-digit walk rate, so it’s not hard to see why he struggled. He needs to focus on elevating the ball to have more success with it.
Hess’ offspeed pitches are a little slower than league average, but he does pair that with slightly above-average movement. His slider brought back solid results as his primary strikeout pitch when ahead of batters. He does still have a problem with home runs, but if he can gain a few chases on it, it could cross the threshold for a Money Pitch.
The changeup is a tool Hess only uses when behind in the count to try to sneak a strike into the zone or get a ground ball. He doesn’t get many swings and misses on the pitch, and since it’s not an offering he relies on often, there’s no reason to give it much attention.
Hess’ curve was his least used pitch, which he mostly threw early in counts. It does have an above-average amount of vertical break—about 10 inches more than league average—which allows it to sometimes drop off the table and out of the zone to induce a whiff. However, batters didn’t chase it often, so it remained an average offering. There is potential for the pitch to grow, though.