Being the exit velocity king is all well and good, but Yarbrough’s changeup was exceptional at missing bats. Its 18.6% SwStr rate was by far the highest of all his pitches, and managed a 58.0% swing rate while only being thrown in the zone 35.2% of the time. It drops like a bowling ball off a cliff.
Yarbrough should really throw out his sinker in favor of more cutters, curves, and changeups. His sinker got smoked to the tune of .340 BAA (.356 xBAA), .585 SLG (.560 xSLG), and .414 wOBA (.410 xwOBA). Big yikes.
Yarborough established the cutter as his primary pitch in 2019, replacing his sinker. The cutter is far superior with good late movement to keep hitters off balance. Hitters only mustered a .224 BA against the cutter and Yarborough should improve his stats across the board if he manages to stay healthy for the season, something he failed to do in 2018 spending rehab assignments in Durham three times.
Yarbrough went to his sinker more often in the second half of 2018. While it wasn’t his most effective primary offering, giving up a .312 batting average against, he was able to throw it for strikes. Yarbrough should look to throw this pitch less often in 2019.
The cutter for Yarbrough is essentially league average in terms of wRC+, but does have good late action to keep hitters off balance. Yarbrough can also throw this pitch for strikes and it gets more ground balls than the sinker. Yarbrough should increase this pitch at the expense of the sinker.
Yarbough’s changeup is essentially a league-average pitch in terms of value. The overall movement of the pitch isn’t extreme, but the late downward break induces swings outside the zone over 40% of the time. Yarbough doesn’t throw this pitch in the zone enough to be his main secondary pitch.
The curveball has slider movement at a curveball speed. It is a very good pitch that can generate swings and misses and can be thrown in the zone for called strikes. As Yarbrough’s primary putaway pitch, he would benefit by increasing the usage of the curve.