Averaging 82 mph, the slider is Jansen’s only breaking pitch, and he deployed it around 12% of the time in 2019. The pitch rebounded from a pVAL standpoint, with its 2.8 pVAL matching his 2017 number – up from a -1.2 pVAL in 2018. Jansen gets above-average break on both planes, compared to the average slider, but its 6.3 inches of break these past two seasons is straighter than the 7.2 inches he got on the pitch in 2017 – a mark that was 61% higher than the average slider that season.
Jansen’s four-seamer was more effective than in years past, with it’s 2.3 pVAL the highest it’s been since 2014. Throwing it around 14% of the time, the pitch ended with a 46.4% K rate, getting slightly above-average drop and 48% more horizontal break than the major-league average.
The cutter has been Jansen’s go-to pitch in the past, and that didn’t change in 2019, with its 74% usage dwarfing his four-seamer and slider – but it was down from his 84% usage in 2018. The pitch wasn’t as good as in years past, with a 1.3 pVAL that pales in comparison to the 9.4 pVAL and 20.5 pVAL that he’s respectively posted the previous two seasons. The pitch still garners a 15.8% SwStr% that’s up from a 13.0% rate in 2018, and resulted in a 28.9% K rate.
Jansen’s cutter might be the best since Mariano Rivera’s—though they are a bit different and Rivera’s is still the best of all-time. Though it’s been on a steady decline in terms of velocity, the movement is not an issue and hitters still struggle against it. However, hitters in 2018 swung-and-missed at it the least they ever have in Jansen’s career.
It seems the effectiveness of Jansen’s sinker varied every other year. In 2018, it took a step in the right direction with hitters missing it more than in 2017. At the same time, it still generated a groundball over half the time it was put in play. And Jansen went to it more than he ever has—a trend that could maintain in 2019.
The velocity on Jansen’s slider hasn’t dipped as much as his cutter, but it was not nearly as effective in 2018. The movement on it remained relatively similar, too; it has plenty of depth. The problem is control. Jansen threw it 66 times, only throwing it for a strike 31 times.