Yamamoto’s changeup has a ton of horizontal movement and about half the vertical movement typical of the average changeup. It did a pretty good job of generating outs (.182 AVG, 74 wRC+), but it gave up way too many hard hit flyballs (50.0 FB%, 20.0 HR/FB%, .273 ISO) which could spell trouble for it in 2020 if its .111 BABIP regresses.
Yamamoto dazzled in his Major League debut for the Marlins and his off-speed offerings are something to admire. On the slower side at 74.4 mph, his curveball’s deceptiveness relies more on vertical drop that movment away from the righties.
Coming in with an average velocity of 91.8, Yamamoto’s fastball has good rising action to it which helps it generate a high IFFB% and limited hitters to a .172 AVG and an 88 wRC. In 2019, this pitch was the key to his success as it generated 9.9 pVAL over 658 pitches.
A nice compliment to his four-seamer, Yamamoto’s cutter missed out on qualifying as a money pitch in 2019 (39.2 O-Swing%, 48.2 Zone%, 13.2 SwStr%). Much like the heater, it did a great job of generating poor flyball contact (29.4 IFFB%) and not giving up hits in general (.231 AVG, 99 wRC+).
This could be Yamamoto’s money pitch and a larger sample size in 2020 should tell us more about this pitch’s potential, but a promising 1.91 wSL/C pitch value according to Fangraphs bodes well. Hitters only batted .190 off Yamamoto in 2019,