Robles’ changeup usage jumped from 2.6% to 22.3% last season, and can largely be credited for his breakout campaign. It registered his highest whiff rate (36.0%) by greater than 10% and allowed zero home runs, a huge feat for someone known to have his right hand pointing up in the air.
Robles’ stuff has never been questioned, but command of his fastball often left him vulnerable. Last season, he redefined his fastball and focused more on the upper stretches of the strike zone, which yielded great results. Its BB rate dropped nearly 5% (13.8% to 9.0%) while allowing six fewer home runs.
More of a tight slider, Robles has added velocity to this pitch for four consecutive years. Now sitting at 89 mph (the same as his changeup and 8 mph off his fastball), I expect Robles to utilize this pitch with greater frequency in 2020.
The 96 mph four-seamer Robles threw was a decent pitch in 2018. He generated a 26% K rate but allowed a high .209 ISO and an 18% HR/FB rate. The 13% walk rate on the pitch was also high.
Robles threw this 88 mph slider as his offspeed pitch to get strikeouts. He generated a 25% K rate and a 12% swinging-strike rate on the pitch in 2018. He did allow a .163 ISO and a lot of hard contact on the slider, which caused the pitch to grade out negatively for the season.
Robles threw 12 sinkers in 2018 and generated a 100% ground-ball rate, which is ideal. He did not strike out or walk a batter with the pitch but did generate good movement with the 97 mph offering.
This 91 mph changeup was thrown 36 times and generated a positive grade for Robles in 2018. He only allowed two hits and did not walk a batter with it, while also generating a 70% ground-ball rate. He only struck out one batter, however, and could only generate a 6% swinging-strike rate.