Hughes threw his changeup 8% of the time in 2019, using it twice as much versus left-handers as he did against righties. Sitting around 84 mph, the pitch gets slightly above-average depth and was very effective, ending the year with a .200 SLG and .150 BAA. Its 17.2% SwStr% was the highest of anything in his arsenal and resulted in a 45% K rate.
Averaging around 82 mph, Hughes’ slider gets average depth, with 61% less horizontal break than average in 2019. Hughes deployed it 12% of the time, and while the pitch finished with a 33.3% K rate, it only a had 10.5% SwStr%. Barreled at a 12.5% rate – the highest of any of his pitches – the slider finished with a 1.000 SLG and .560 wOBA against it.
With an 80% usage rate, the sinker is Hughes’ primary offering and sits at 91.2 mph, getting average break but with 44% more drop that the major-league average. With a 9.1% SwStr%, Hughes doesn’t count on the pitch for swings-and-misses, but rather utilizes it to induce ground balls at a 66.3% rate.
Hughes’ sinker was ridiculous. The 21.7 pVal was the best sinker among 273 pitchers who exceeded 60 innings in 2018. Despite losing 1.7 mph from 2017 to 2018, the pitch improved to 11.7 SwStr% and 48.6 O-swing%; up from 8.6% and 38.0%, respectively, in 2017.
Hughes’ slider was average overall with a 0.7 pVal. While he was able to get a decent amount of ground balls (53.8%) and strikeouts (44.8%) from the pitch, he struggled to throw the pitch for strikes, having a sub-30 Zone% for the second straight season.
Like his other pitches, Hughes’ four-seamer was a tick down in velocity in 2018. He struggled with control of the pitch, leading to a 21.7 BB%. Overall, the pitch held a -0.2 pVal.
Thrown only 15 times, Hughes’ changeup is not a big part of his repertoire. It’s also the second year in a row that the pitch’s usage rate dropped, so I wouldn’t expect much to see the pitch much in 2019.