Mikolas used his changeup at en extremely low rate which can be understandable considering it generated the highest wOBA of all his pitches in the last two years and had a put away percentage of 5% which is also the lowest of all his pitches and by quite a big margin (second lowest is his slider at 13.9%).
Whilst not as impressive as in 2018, Mikolas’ curve did benefit from being thrown outisde the zone a little more. A healthy 25.3 K% and low 2.1 BB% thanks to 61.4 inches of drop, which was 5.1 inches higher than average (top 1% in the league), meant he held confidence in the pitch as all the others around him started to unravel. He just gave up too many longballs in 2019, but his curve wasn’t the issue. He only gave up 2 of 26 homers with the curve,
Mikolas had trouble keeping his fastball outside of the middle/upper part of the plate all year. Batters were able to barrel the ball better which caused the average exit velocity and launch angle to both increase compared to last year (86 to 88 mph and 11 to 17 degrees). Locating his fastball will be a big part of whether he can find his groove again in 2019.
The slider of Mikolas was untouchable in 2018 but the same cannot be said about 2019. Batters were able to square up on it this year which caused his barrel% to more than double and his whiff% to drop 3 points. Batters having more ease getting the bat on the ball would make us believe the average would go up against his slider which is exactly what happened, increasing by more than 100 points from .184 to .289.
Mikolas’ four-seamer was similar to his two-seamer. He threw strikes and got contact, but he produced a bit more whiffs than the two-seamer. This resulted in a much better strikeout rate at 20%. A primary pitch with a .282 wOBA is solid.
With nearly a 40% chase rate, Mikolas’ slider was a killer pitch. Once again he threw it in the zone about 50% of the time. WIth a chase rate at 40%, it is worth trying to get more batters to chase to get a strikeout or weak contact. He only had a 21% strikeout rate with it.
Mikolas’ curveball was decent last year. He allowed a .256 wOBA against with a 28.2% strikeout rate. What stands out the most is his 50% zone rate, which is great for a curve. He may want to throw this slightly less in the zone to improve its outcomes.
Mikolas’ two-seamer was an interesting pitch. He pounded the zone at a 64.2% rate while allowing a nearly 90% contact rate. He got balls in play, but they rarely resulted in extra-base hits. As long as he can keep the ball on the ground and keep hitters’ bats on their shoulders, this pitch can stay effective.
His least thrown pitch, Mikolas’ changeup was not effective. He rarely threw it for a strike, and when he did, it was put in play. That all resulted in a .347 wOBA against.