DeGrom’s money pitch was a joy to behold this season – a staggering 4.3 percentage point increase in SwStr to 20.8% left hitters bewildered by the vetical drop. The pitch held a robust 11.2 pVal.
DeGrom ditched his curveball this year, as its usage fell to 3% compared to his usual 9%. He’s always had success with the pitch, but this year he struggled as it ended the season with a BAA of .348 and a wOBA of .368, both career lows.
DeGrom has gained 3 mph of velocity since his first season, going from 94 to 97 mph. It’s not surprising to know that batters could not get hits against it, batting only .219, but it’s important to note that when they did, it was often for extra-base hits. He ended the season with the highest total extra-base hits against the fastball at 26, four more than his previous high and 11 more than last year. It was also the first season where it did not generate the most strikeouts, falling short by more than 20 to his slider.
DeGrom added more velocity to his already elite slider in 2019 whilst also throwing it 12% more than last season as he ditched his sinker. Improvements in O-Swing% (up from 39% to 44.3%) and SwStr% (17.6% to 18.7%) whilst pitching in the zone 37.6% led to an impressive 53.6% groundball rate.
deGrom’s four-seamer was elite in 2018, earning the league’s fourth-highest pVal at 23.6. The pitch features just a touch of arm-side movement, and in 2018, he added an extra tick of velocity, up to an average velocity of 96.2 mph. deGrom’s four-seamer was a Money Pitch, having a 56.8 Zone%, 35.5 O-swing%, and 16.2 SwStr%. Just to give it an extra kick, the pitch increased the IFFB% up to 41.6 (31.9 in 2017) and decreased the HR/FB% to 6.5 (14.9 in 2017).
deGrom added 2 mph, up to an average of 91.2 mph, and churned out the seventh-best slider in the league in 2018. He threw the pitch outside of the zone a little more in 2018 (43.1% vs 50.1% in 2017), and that change helped increase the O-swing up to 39.0% and SwStr% up to 17.6, which led to a K% jump from 27.5 in 2017 to 35.7.
deGrom’s changeup has similar movement to his two-seamer with just an added four degrees of vertical drop and comes in about 6 ticks slower. The pitch was a Money Pitch, featuring a 41.9 Zone%, 40.7 O-swing%, and 16.5 SwStr%. The pitch earned a 13.0 pVal, which was the second-best in the league.
deGrom’s two-seamer gets about 5 extra degrees of movement toward his arm side compared with his four-seamer. He actually faded the pitch in September, throwing just 3% two-seamers, while leaning more heavily on his four-seamer (52.5% in September vs 36.9% in August). deGrom’s two-seamer has been his worst pitch per pVal for the past two years, so we’ll have to see if he continues the fade of the pitch in 2019.
deGrom’s curveball rounds out five — that’s right, five — positive pVal pitches (4.4 pVal). DeGrom got an incredible 87 called strikes out of the 255 curveballs thrown. Thanks to those called strikes, the pitch’s K% increased from 19.1 to 32.6. Just to add a cherry on top of his arsenal, he lowered his HR/FB% from 22.2 in 2017 to, well, 0 in 2018.