Neshek threw just one changeup in 2019, so I wouldn’t expect the pitch to become a big part of his repertoire moving forward.
Neshek threw his fastball in the zone 61.5% of the time, the sixth season in a row he’s topped the 60% mark. Unfortunately, the pitch allowed a .333 ISO and .403 wOBA.
Neshek’s primary pitch was his slider. He hit the zone with the pitch 54.9% of the time, but allowed a 30.4% line drive rate and a 25% HR/FB rate, while striking out just 11.3% — a career-low for the pitch.
An elite weapon over the previous two seasons, Neshek’s slider netted an above-average, but mundane 88 wRC+ compared to past dominance. An 8-percent dip in outside-swing rate (36.1%) caused his contact rate to jump from 70.0 to 80.2 percent. His 1.4 pVal marks a far cry from 2017, when only Andrew Miller’s slider graded better among qualified relievers.
While Neshek’s elite slider soured in 2018, his sinker improved. He set career highs in wRC+ (61) and swinging-strike rate (12.3%) with the pitch despite a 2.3-mph velocity drop. A small sample size could overstate this success, and opponents slugged .750 against it in six September frames.