Quintana utilized his changeup more than he had since 2015 and it didn’t go well. Hitters put together a .354 AVG against it with a .959 OPS and a 158 wRC+. This pitch has lost a ton of its vertical movement of the last few years and it’s worth wondering if that’s had an adverse effect on the pitch.
While it doesn’t get as many strikeouts as one would expect for a curveball with a ton of movementwith a 31.3 Zone% and an 11.1 SwStr% but it was effective none the less, holding hitters to a .244 AVG with a .165 ISO and 81 wRC+.
On the surface it appears as if Quintana’s fastball was good in 2019 but once you dig deeper you start to find cracks in that logic especially when you consider that it lost movement and half an mph in 2019, gave up a 34.6 LD% and had a .364 BABIP.
Quintana throws his four-seam fastball around 50% of the time and it remains his most consistent pitch. However, after an excellent 2017, the pitch regressed last year as hitters swung less than ever against the four-seamer and Quintana’s walk rate on the fastball jumped to 9.5%, the highest since his rookie year. It appears he lost a little movement on the pitch, which may have helped lead to a .152 ISO, the highest on the pitch since 2015.
Quintana threw his lowest volume of curveballs since 2013, as he relied on his four-seam fastball more and more in 2018. He continues to lose velocity on his curveball, as he had the lowest average velocity of his career on the pitch in 2018. Quintana typically throws the pitch out of the zone, and it remains his most chased pitch with an O-swing% of 35.8. But when he made mistakes with the pitch last year, it got clobbered, as opposing hitters had a .222 ISO against the curve.
The two-seamer is Quintana’s third-most used pitch and is essentially a less effective version of his four-seam fastball. His fastballs are thrown at the same velocity, with the two-seamer generating more ground balls and more arm-side movement. Any benefit from the two-seamer’s 54.7 GB% is canceled out by a worse ISO and fewer swings and misses, as the pitch produced a 4.4 SwStr% in 2018.
Quintana’s changeup is his least used pitch, and for good reason. Outside of a fluky 2017 season, his changeup has had a negative pVal every year of his career, and in 2018 it dropped to a career-worst 27.3 Zone% while only generating a 27.8 O-swing%. Quintana doesn’t throw his changeup for strikes, doesn’t get hitters to chase, and the pitch has the worst wRC+ of all of his pitches over the course of his career.