The changeup has never been a positive pitch from a pVAL standpoint for Lyles, and minimal 8.5% swinging strike rates and .334 WOBA on 6.92% usage suggests that they may be stepping back from the pitch moving forward.
Lyles added more vertical movement to his curve again in 2019 by taking a good 3mph off on average. An 11.7% SwStr was countered by a worrying 23.8% HR/FB rate, something he will look to put right after signing a new 2 yr, $20m deal with the Rangers.
Lyles has gained some velocity on the four-seamer as his career has progressed, and he crafted a respectable 4.6 pVAL on the pitch in 2019, thanks in large part to a 9.7% swinging strike rate and stellar (for a fastball) 19.0% K rate.
The hybrid cutting-slider was Lyles least-effective regular pitch in 2019, yielding a .394 WOBA and 153 wRC+ created, in part, by 6 home runs on comparatively minimal pitch attempts.
Lyles did a better job limiting home runs with the fastball, cutting the slugging percentage against it nearly in half. He did lose an inch of tail on the pitch which helped hitters hit .303, but a lot more fly balls became innocent infield flies.
Lyles used the curve more in 2018 and the results were good, limiting hitters to a .210 BAA while limiting the contact made to grounders. He also got plenty of hitters to chase the pitch outside, after adding several inches of vertical movement to the pitch compared to 2017.
The two-seamer finally became a positive pVal pitch for Lyles, after adding an inch of drop and making it more like a sinker. Opposing hitters hit only .211, and he did not allow a home run with the offering. It doesn’t miss many bats, but was more effective than his heater at limiting good contact.
The changeup was Lyles’ worst pitch last season, registering a -6.2 pVal. It did an OK job at missing bats but allowed too many home runs with a .333 ISO. Extra base hits have been a problem with this pitch for the past three seasons.
Lyles turned to the slider only 10% of the time, and the results were middling at best. It never had great movement and it doesn’t miss many bats, so hitters did not bite on it outside of the zone. He allowed a .278 BAA with a .357 OBP due to its high walk rate.