Paxton rarely throws the changeup (only 1.44% last year), but it was successful in its limited run. Of the six balls put in play, all were outs and the seventh at-bat was a strikeout. He has cut its usage a lot since 2016, and we can expect the same usage moving forward.
Paxton’s curve enjoyed the move to Yankee Stadium, as its pVAL jumped from 1.0 last season to 6.8 this year. A healthy SwStr% of 16.2% went alongside Paxton’s improved command, inducing more infield fly balls — 27.3% alone on his curve. A useful primary offspeed pitch.
Here’s where the problems started for Paxton in New York, as his usually reliable four-seamer, which he threw nearly 60% of the time, lost command, resulting in a jump in his BB/9 from 2.36 to 3.29 in 2019.
Paxton’s main offering was excellent in 2018 at 15.2 pVal. He continued an excellent trend with the pitch. It was the fourth consecutive year of increased Zone%, SwStr%, and K% as well as the fourth consecutive year of decreased Z-Contact%.
Paxton’s primary offspeed pitch certainly disappointed compared with 2017. While the pitch still managed a positive pVal (1.0), the pitch’s K% was down by 14.5% and the GB% regressed back to his pre-2017 rate (57.1% in 2015, 56.8% in 2016, 70.4% in 2017, 52.6% in 2018). We’ll see if the K% can positively regress to previous rates.
Paxton’s cutter was percentage points away from being a Money Pitch in 2018 — 39.4 Zone% (up from 29% in 2017), 49.6 O-swing%, and a 22.0 SwStr%, which he rode to a 52.2 K% and an 8.0 pVal.