Even though Velazquez only throws his curveball 2.04% of the time, it’s by far his least valuable pitch, generating -3.8 pitch value over the season.
Velazquez throws two different types of fastballs, a sinker and a four-seamer. He throws his sinker slightly more often, 27% of the time compared to 23.8% of the time. He was far less effective at inducing ground balls with it, or with any of his pitches last season, only managing a 38.6% ground-ball rate compared to his 49.8% ground-ball rate in 2018.
Velazquez introduced a splitter to his arsenal in 2018, and it became his single most-used pitch (if you divide his fastball usage into their respective versions) in 2019 with a 28.88% usage rate. Despite his reliance on it, this pitch was largely inneffective this past season, generating -3.3 pitch value.
Velazquez has increased his reliance on his slider every season, going from throwing it 6.0% of the time in 2017 to 12.2% in 2018 up to 17.35% in 2019. In that time, it’s become his most valuable pitch by a wide margin by generating 5.4 pitch value, his only pitch that generated a positive value in 2019.
Velasquez slightly favors his two-seamer over the straighter fastball, and it served him well in 2018 with a 54.7% ground-ball rate. He pitched to contact with a near-60% zone rate, and it resulted in a solid 3.4 pVal. This is his primary out-getter.
The righty’s four-seamer lost some arm-side run and sat at an unimpressive 91.4 mph. It carried decent swinging-strike and chase rates for a fastball, but hitters tagged it for a -4.3 pVal. Still, nothing especially bad jumps out from the numbers, so we could see improvement results-wise in 2019.
The changeup lost significant drop but carried a fantastic 47.8% chase rate and a good swinging-strike clip. Velasquez kept the walks in check with it, and the underlying numbers say a poor K rate should take a leap. This is his putaway pitch, and it looks like a good one.
This is a boring breaking ball. It carries below-average horizontal break and yawn-inducing swinging-strike and chase rates. Its 46.8 zone percentage marks it as a secondary strike-getter, so it serves its purpose in support of his heaters.
Velasquez’s hook got shapelier in 2018—namely in the drop department—and it looks pretty in this GIF. Still, it’s not a swing-and-miss pitch, and he doesn’t hit the zone enough with it for it to be a consistent secondary strike-getter. He only threw 42 curves in 2018, so this was merely there for the element of surprise.