Freeland used his changeup at just about the same rate over the last two seasons (12.5% in 2019; 13.7% in 2018) and featured it almost exclusively to right-handed batters. Despite a slight increase in whiffs this past season at 31.5% (26.7% in 2018), the batted-ball results were significantly worse, as it surrendered a .372 xwOBA (.316 xwOBA in 2018). It also came in a little harder this season at 86.6 mph as opposed to 85.5 mph in 2018, which is perhaps a little curious, considering his fastball velocity remained comparatively unchanged.
His fourth pitch, the curveball sat at just over 81 mph and was featured primarily to opposing righties. It showed a swinging-strike rate of 16%, a pretty noticeable bump up from 2018’s much more modest 9.6%. It also showed a noticeably improved chase rate this past season at 38.6% (26.8% in 2018). Perhaps there could be something good to take away from what was otherwise a disastrous 2019. Similar to the rest of his arsenal, the batted-ball data was significantly worse this year, as it allowed an xwOBA of .487 to opposing hitters.
Freeland’s fastball sat at just about the same velocity this past season at 92 mph. He featured the fastball primarily up and in against right-handed batters, and it showed slightly above-average spin (57th percentile). Whereas in 2018 the pitch allowed a respectable .313 xwOBA, this past season the batted-ball results were disastrous. All told, the four-seamer coughed up an xwOBA just shy of .400 while surrendering a .295 BAA (.248 in 2018).
The slider (tabbed a cutter on FanGraphs), similar to his changeup, showed a small bump in velocity to 86.7 mph (85.8 in 2018). Like the rest of his arsenal, it produced worse batted-ball results this past year, but a 14.8% swinging-strike rate (13.7% in 2018), 43.3% chase rate, and 40.5% zone rate point to some potential optimism here.
Freeland’s four-seamer sat at 91.8 mph and topped out at 95.4 mph. He upped his four-seamer usage in 2018 at 39.9% (26.2% in 2017) at the expense of his sinker. It had a modest 13.6% whiff rate (5.9% swinging-K rate). It had its best success when using it up and in to righties. Overall it was a very effective pitch with 14.3 pVal.
This was Freeland’s primary breaking pitch, which he threw just under 30% (25.7% in 2017) of the time. It had below-average horizontal movement at two inches toward a right-hander (league average was six inches) and below-average drop at 32 inches (39 inches was league average). It had a modest 31.5% whiff rate and 9.6% swinging-K rate. Freeland showed excellent command of the slider with a 55.9% zone rate. He had his best succes in terms of whiffs when burying the slider down and in (and out of the zone) against righties.
At 13.7%, Freeland nearly doubled his changeup usage in 2018 (7.6% in 2017). It had a 38% chase rate (25.2% in 2017), 30.6% zone rate and 11.9% swinging-K rate (8% swinging-K rate in 2017). He threw it almost exclusively against righties (431/445). He had his best success with the changeup when keeping it down and away against right-handers.
Freeland seemed to phase out the sinker from his arsenal in 2018, cutting its usage from 36.6% in 2017 to just 12.6% last year. It had much better batted-ball results in 2018, holding hitters to a .274 wOBA and .242 batting average (.348 wOBA and .305 batting average in 2017 when he used it much more).
Freeland’s curve was of little significance—he hardly threw it in 2018 at just 4.5% (similar to 2017 at 3.8%). At 79.9 mph, it clocked in as his slowest pitch (his change sat at 85.5 mph). It had a 31.9% whiff rate and below-average drop at 43 inches (57 inches was league average).