Baez’s changeup sits at 86 mph with some good fade. It doesn’t drop as much as you’d expect, but still missed bats at a 28% clip in 2019. Baez peppers the arm-side of the plate with this pitch, mostly using it against lefties.
Baez sits 95-96 mph with his fastball, which has some nice ride and a touch of run. He locates it up, in, and above the zone, and absolutely dominates hitters with it. In 2019, it earned a 34% whiff rate with a .260 wOBA.
The slider is Baez’s least-used pitch at 17%. He uses it almost exclusively against righties, burying it glove-side for strikeouts and ground balls. While it doesn’t have a ton of movement, at 86 mph, it gets enough to miss bats (34% whiffs) and bad contact (.220 wOBA). Not too shabby.
A pure flamethrower earlier in his career, Baez tailed back his fastball in favor of more sliders and changeups. Although not a bad pitch, it’s also not his bread-winner despite hurling it at an average velocity of 96 mph. He matched his career’s 95 wRC+ when utilizing the heater in 2018, but it continued to spawn a high dose (26.9%) of line drives. Don’t be surprised if he follows the same blueprint after a stellar season.
After jettisoning the sinker entirely in 2017, Baez turned to it just a dozen times last season. He’s not missing much after permitting a 133 wRC+ with the pitch in 2016.
Baez included far more sliders in his pitching menu last season, upping 2017’s 16.7% usage rate (previously a career high) to 22.8. It didn’t quite yield massive dividends. In fact, it was his only offering with a negative pVal (1.0). Yet it remained a strong strikeout weapon by manifesting a hearty 18.4% swinging-strike rate.
Baez enjoyed resounding success with his changeup, which ceded an 8 wRC+ and 53.3% contact rate. He deployed the improved offering (14.9%) more than ever, and yet opponents whiffed on a quarter of their swings. Baez and the Dodgers will hope to see more of the same dominance going forward.