Junis reduced the usage of his primary fastball by 8.1% from 2017 to 2018, but the pitch still underperformed (-6.9 pVal). He managed just a 10.7 K%, while having a 10.7 BB% and .411 wOBA.
Junis made his slider his primary pitch in 2018, throwing a hard slider (81.8 mph) 32.55% of the time and the slow slider (79.4 mph) 8.31% of the time. The hard slider performed well (6.1 pVal) and came close to being a Money Pitch with a 45.9 zone%, 14.8 SwStr%, and 38.9 O-swing%. The hard slider should be a nice base to start Junis’ 2019.
Junis traded some of his four-seamers for more sinkers, but there were some very troubling rate regressions from 2017 that led to a -3.1 pVal. While the 46.2 Zone% is certainly decent, it’s a large reduction from the 58.0% in 2017. The pitch also had some batted-ball issues with IFFB% dropping from 28.6 to 12.1, HR/FB% going from 7.1 to 18.2, and LD% jumping from 18.2 to 27.9, all of which aided in increasing his wOBA from .240 in 2017 to .378 in 2018.
Junis’ curveball usage is actually made up primarily by his slow slider. This is the same was that Corey Kluber and Patrick Corbin use their sliders.
Junis used his changeup relatively sparingly, which was for the best. The pitch did not perform well (-3.7 pVal), managing just a 4.9 K% while allowing a .342 BAA.