Pivetta only threw his changeup 15 times in 2019. He probably needs to spend time in the offseason developing this one, given his problems with the fastball.
We should see a pretty significant uptick in Pivetta using his knuckle-curve this season—hitters struggled to a .217 BA and .259 xWOBA thanks to its 59.1 inches of drop (6.2 inches above average). He did lack the horizontal movement we saw a year ago, which may have had an affect why his K% dropped to 21.1% last year.
It was an atrocious year for Pivetta, and his four-seamer sank to new lows with a .697 SLG and ugly .436 xWOBA. It had little to zero movement and was thrown far too high and in the zone, a recipe for disaster. He gave up 13 longballs and saw his strikeouts decrease by 56.5% to a mere 33. It might be time to significantly reduce the use of his fastball.
It baffles me why Pivetta reduced the use of his 85.9 mph slider last season. He sure could have used that 32.3 whiff% a little more often. It ranks above league average in both vertical and horizontal movment.
At 94.8 mph, Pivetta’s slider is one of the hardest in the league. His fastball doesn’t have much movement however, and allowed a .293/.363/.478 slash line. Pivetta did cut down usage of this pitch by 16% from the previous season and might be better off throwing it even less.
Pivetta added 4.2 inches of vertical drop to his curveball between 2017 and 2018, dramatically increasing its effectiveness. Batters swung outside the strike zone 41.5% of the time and had an overall swinging-strike rate of 15.4%.
This slider gives Pivetta a second potent breaking pitch with above-average movement. It had a 16.2% swinging-strike rate and 89 wRC+ allowed.
Pivetta threw his sinker even less in 2018 (8.8%) than in (12.1%). And for good reason. It’s just not very effective. Overall it allowed .377 batting average and .441 wOBA along with a meager 13.3% whiff rate. Against lefties, it was veritable batting practice as they crushed it for a .517 wOBA and .433 batting average.
Pivetta experimented briefly with a changeup, throwing it just 65 times in 2018 and allowing a 158 wRC+. We probably won’t see much more of this pitch next season unless he works on it over the offseason.