Happ’s fastball continued to lose velocity in 2019, down to 91.23 mph compared to his peak of 93.3 mph in 2014. He also threw this pitch less often, down to 67.36% of the time compared to 73.4% in 2018, and saw his HR/9 spike to 1.90 from 1.37 in 2018.
We warned you last year that Happ’s .177 BABIP may have hidden flaws in his slider. 2019 proved just that. As his fastball became less effective, Happ relied more on his slider but the results weren’t good. The pVal dropped from 3.8 to -2.3 and Happ gave up 34 HRs, 5th in the AL.
Happ threw his changeup more frequently in 2019 (14.48%) than he has in more than half a decade (12.2% in 2018, 15.7% in 2013). The average velocity is up almost 2 mph compared to 2013 (85.88 mph vs. 84.1 mph), but is down a fraction of a mph compared to 2018 (86).
Happ’s curveball jumped nearly 5 mph in 2019, up to 81.44 mph from 76.4 mph in 2018. While he doesn’t throw the pitch all that often, the fact that every other one of his pitches has dropped in average velocity is a concerning trend.