Stroman threw his changeup noticeably harder this past season as it averaged 87 compared to 82.7 mph in 2018. Despite the change in velocity, the results weren’t too noteworthy across the board including a 32.4% zone rate, 10.3% swinging K rate (26.7% whiffs), and a 28.3% chase rate. Though it did do a nice job mitigating LHB to a .282 xwOBA.
Stroman’s slider usage remained steady this past season at just over 30%. It was again his best whiff pitch at 35.3% (16.5% swinging K rate) a reasonable though perhaps unexciting rate as far as sliders go. Stroman did show very good control of the pitch as it hit the zone at a 41.3% clip while also earning chases at a rate of 40%. *Note Statcast has this as a slider and not a curveball as indicated*
Stroman doesn’t feature the four-seamer all that much at just 2.4%. Relative to his sinker (36.3%) it’s just an afterthought. Averaging 92.9 mph, Stroman’s four-seamer was drilled by opposing batters this past season to the tune of a .412 xwOBA.
Stroman bumped up his cutter usage this past season from 21.2% to 27.2%. It doesn’t feature noteworthy bat missing ability with a modest 10.3% swinging K rate and 24.8% whiff rate. It returned a very solid 42.5% zone rate, showing that Stroman can through the pitch for strikes readily.
Stroman’s sinker usage remained fairly steady this past season at 38.4% (40.7% in 2018). It’s your prototypical groundball getter limiting hitters to an average launch angle of -3. And like many sinkers, it’s not a bat misser in the least bit returning just a 5.5% swinging strike and 16.3% whiff rate. Stroman will need to rely heavily on his infield defense if he’s going to keep leaning on the sinker.
Stroman nearly doubled the number of pitches he threw of the slider in 2019 (940 compared to 519 in 2018). A dominant 16.5% SwStr was solid but it was his ability to limit flyballs after his move to Citi Field that served him well. A paltry 6.7% HR/FB ratio fits hand in hand with a meagre .168 BA against. I’d like to see it a little bit more in 2020.
Stroman’s go-to pitch lost some velocity in 2018. While a mile per hour on his average and two on his top speed might not seem like much, he gave up seven home runs as opposed to giving up 11 the year before and 10 in 2016. While he did give up less home runs on his sinker in 2018, Stroman threw it 1,004 more times in 2017 (11 homers) and 769 more times in 2016 (10 homers).
Stroman’s slider is his everything. It’s his swing-and-miss pitch, it’s his strikeout pitch, it’s his best pitch. His slider’s batting average against crept up quite a bit in 2018. However, it was still very reasonable at .226.
A hard, tight complement to his jaw-dropping slider, Stroman’s cutter was successful in 2018. Batters didn’t get it in play much, and even when they did things didn’t work out very well. If his sinker doesn’t bounce back in 2019, it might be worth it to Stroman to consider leaning on his cutter instead.
Like his sinker, Stroman’s cheese had a little less stink in 2018 than in years past. However, hitters didn’t do well against it—which can’t be said for most of his other pitches. Stroman won’t try to reinvent the wheel in 2019 by turning to this pitch, but at least he knows he has something to build off from 2018.
The fade on this thing is too pretty. But that old saying “looks aren’t everything”” is true of Stroman’s changeup. Hitters batted .429 against it in 2018 after they only hit .167 in 2017. Getting that back should be a top priority for Stroman.”
Marcus Stroman wasn’t able to figure things out with his curveball in 2018. It probably didn’t help that he only made 19 starts. Regardless, his curve’s swinging-strike percentage may have bounced back in 2018, but things still aren’t where they were. The only positive with this being opponents can’t quite seem to square this pitch up, even though they reach base safely enough.