An 80-grade pitch, Black’s fastball is one of the best in the majors, averaging 98 mph on it with elite spin-rates (99th percentile on Baseball Savant). Unfortunately with his control issues he gives up far too many flyballs (50%) and has problems hitting the zone with it (52.5% zone percentage), leading to a .462 xwOBA against.
Black’s primary out pitch is his slider, which features 11.2 inches of horizontal movement on it. He could stand to throw it more than 26% of the time, as he was able to get whiffs on 50% of his sliders thrown.
Opponents teed off on Black’s fastball, but they couldn’t solve his slider. With the pitch hovering around the mid-80s, the righty relegated batters to a .262 wOBA and 18.0% swinging-strike rate with the savory offering. While he’ll ultimately need to mend his burning heater, the slider has the makings of a legitimate plus pitch that can help him find late-inning success.
Black aims to beat opponents with pure gas. He fired his fastball at an average velocity of 98 mph and reached as high as 101 during his inaugural season. The rapid heater unsurprisingly stockpiled plenty of swinging strikes (15.9%). It also, however, forfeited a .401 wOBA. While he needs to improve his command, Black boasts immense strikeout upside in San Francisco’s bullpen.
The third pitch in his repertoire, Black’s curveball did not yield a hit all season. It was mostly a show-me pitch taken outside the zone, as he netted just five swinging strikes in 56 tries. The power pitcher will likely keep relying predominantly on his fastball-slider combination.