Hendricks’ changeup was his number two pitch with a 28.02% usage rate, and just like his fastball, is one of the slowest in the league. Out of the 591 pitchers who recorded at least one changeup in 2019, Hendricks’ average velocity was the 18th slowest in all of baseball at 78.63 mph.
Hendricks throws some of the absolute slowest pitches in the major leagues, and his curveball is his absolute slowest, clocking in at an average velocity of 71.4 mph in 2019. It topped out at 77.8 mph in 2015, but lost 5.6 mph between 2015 and 2017, and kept dropping every year since. While there may be an eventual floor to Hendricks’ pitch speed, he posted the second best season of his career in 2019 with a 4.1 WAR.
It’s rare to see a pitcher throw a traditional fastball as infrequently as Hendricks, especially one who only turned 30 on December 7. Unlike former power pitchers like CC Sabathia turning to other options in order to adjust to declining velocity, Hendricks started his career throwing in the high 80s (career high season average of only 88.3 mph in 2015 compared to an 86.9 average in 2019). This lack of velocity hasn’t hampered Hendricks’ success on the mound—he posted the second highest WAR of his career last season (4.1), just 0.1 below his career high to go along with a 3.61 FIP.
Only 41 pitchers were recorded throwing a sinker in 2019, and it was heavily featured in most of those players’ arsenals, Hendricks included. His 41.77% usage rate is good for 24th on that list, but with an average velocity of 86.72 mph he threw the fifth slowest sinker in all of baseball. Despite its lack of speed, it helped him leave the 2019 season with an excellent 41.3% ground-ball rate, just a few ticks below his 45.8% career mark.
Hendricks’ primary offering at 44.4% (39.6% in 2017). It had a woeful whiff rate of just 9.8% and allowed an uninspiring .292 batting average and .335 wOBA. It was very good at keeping balls on the ground with an average launch angle of 4.
Hendricks threw his changeup a little more in 2018 at 30.9% (27.9% in 2017). At 78.6 mph the change has excellent differential off his fastball which sits at around 87 mph. He had good command of his changeup with a 36.6% zone rate. It also had a scintillating 49.2% chase rate. And it was a good whiff pitch with a 19.8% swinging-K rate. The batted-ball results were excellent too as it allowed just a sparkling .211 wOBA and .180 batting average. Overall it was a Money Pitch with a superb 17.4 pVal.
Hendricks cut down his four-seam usage in 2018 at 17.4% (23.4% in 2017). He threw it noticeably more to lefties (441/530). It had a 20% whiff rate and got hit pretty hard, allowing a .402 wOBA and an average exit velocity of 92.2 mph.
Hendricks threw his curve at around the same rate in 2018 at 7.6 %. It was a poor swing-and-miss pitch just a 6.5% swinging-K rate. The batted-ball results were pretty terrible last year as it allowed an alarmingly high .530 wOBA and .483 batting average across a 231-pitch sample. Overall it was just a very poor pitch with a -6.4 pVal.