Newly-minted Met Michael Wacha did a nice job last year pounding the changeup down and away from opposing LHB. And it was great against lefties holding them to a measly .189 batting average and .237 xwOBA. Wacha’s change was his best whiff pitch (39%) and an overall money pitching totaling a 43.1% zone rate, 21.7% swinging K rate, and 44.3% chase rate. Not too shabby.
Wacha cut back on his curveball usage this past season from 15% to just over 10%. It returned a well below-average swinging K rate of 5.3% and was thoroughly lit up by opposing hitters to the tune of a horrifying .471 batting average and .426 xwOBA.
Wacha’s fastball averaged 93 mph this past year, the lowest of his career. It features a well below-average spin (9th percentile). And returned a miserly 5% swinging K rate (12% whiffs). The Wacha Express coughed up a .324 batting average and .399 xwOBA to opposing batters. Not good.
Wacha’s cutter sits at 89.4 mph and returned a below-average 7.6% swinging K rate a noticeable dip from 2018 where it registered a much more respectable mark of 10.4%. It also allowed a .333 batting average and .411 xwOBA to opposing hitters.
His primary pitch struggled a bit before his injury to end his 2018 season. Wacha’s fastball velocity dropped by over one mph as he allowed more balls in the air. He also lost some control, allowing more walks and not hitting the zone as often.
Wacha’s best offspeed pitch is his changeup. He got hitters to chase out of the zone, making less contact than previous years. If contact is made, it stays on the ground and in the field of play keeping hitters to a sub .200 batting average.
Wacha improved his cutter with much more horizontal movement. He threw it more out of the zone but still kept hitters swinging, while whiffing a bit more. He finally was able to keep the ball in the park allowing only one home run.
Still an effective pitch at producing outs, Wacha’s curveball was not as effective in 2018 than in 2017. He threw it slightly slower with a bit more movement yet resulted in more contact, especially out of the zone.