While Bleier’s changeup wasn’t frequently used, it’s probably for the best as it had a -2.6 pVAL with just 36 pitches thrown. He used it strictly as a chase pitch as it only had a 16.2 zone% but only had an 8.1% swinging-strike rate.
A below-average fastball in terms of velocity, Bleier uses it 64% of the time and is able to generate a ton of groundballs with it. While not a strikeout heavy pitch it did generate 6.5 pVAL in 2019, easily his most valuable pitch.
An unlucky pitch in 2019, Bleier’s cutter gave up a .364 BABIP and is usually a pretty productive pitch (1.4 pVAL in 2018). It excelled at enducing popups (45.5% IFFB rate) but unfortunately dropped in swinging-strike percentage two years in a row now.
Bleier’s slider is slower and has more break than his cutter but was used much less. While it had elite swinging-strike rates, ir produced negative pitch value like his cutter. It might be bad luck as well, as he had a 100% HR/FB rate, a 11% FB rate and .500 BABIP on 51 thrown, so it should be better in the future.
The sinker has been Bleier’s primary offering over his three-year stint in the majors, though it failed to match 2017’s success last season. Bleier lost a bit of velocity and movement on the pitch in 2018, possibly the culprit for increases in line drive and fly-ball rate. It was still a useful offering and the sinker/cutter combo carried Bleier to a third straight sub-2.00 ERA season.
Bleier largely ditched his slider in 2018 in favor of a cutter, with solid results. He pounded the strike zone with the pitch while also getting plenty of chases. Along with his sinker, the cutter gives Bleier a nice little 1-2 punch against batters on both sides of the plate.
Bleier picked up a cutter last season at the expense of his slider, virtually replacing the pitch in usage. The slider barely managed a positive pitch value in limited action, but did generate a decent amount of whiffs. Given Bleier’s reliance on his cutter and sinker, the slider will likely remain a distant third in his repertoire.
Bleier’s changeup usage was cut in half when he came over to the Orioles in 2017, and it fell again in 2018. The offering did manage a positive pitch value last season for the first time, but it still isn’t too effective. A zone rate of 10.5% isn’t going to cut it and Bleier is probably better off abandoning the changeup.