Miller saw an increase in both the vertical and horizontal movements of his changeup compared to last year, increasing by 5.5 and 1.3 inches respectively. However, this change in movement may have caused him to lose a bit of control over it, increasing in ball% by 13% in the same timespan.
Miller’s curveball saw a slight increase in usage this year, but didn’t get nearly as many whiffs as last year, dropping from 36% to 14%. However, he was able to control it better this year and keep it lower in the zone which helped generate weaker contact as the average exit velocity dropped 4pts compared to last year.
Miller used his fastball much more this year at 69% usage, which may have been the result of changing teams, seeing as his usage hovered around 60% in his three years with the Diamondbacks. The pitch doubled in horizontal movement since 2017, but also saw an increase in wOBA and average exit velocity in the same timespan. Miller’s issues in those years seem to arise from the big increase in his fastball usage at the expense of his sinker. Looking forward, it may be wise to go back to his winning formula.
Just like his sinker, Miller cut down on his cutter usage over the past two years, which is bizarre since it generated a whopping 39% whiff rate in 2017. He would benefit from using it more often, seeing as it’s the only pitch in his arsenal to have generated a whiff rate of at least 20% every year since 2014. This year was also the pitch’s best in terms of horizontal movement, as it saw its value triple compared to his previous yearly high.
Miller didn’t pitch much at all this past year (16 IP) or the past two years (22 IP in 2017). While the velocity was there at 94.5 mph (93.9 mph in 2017) the results with his four-seamer were truly horrific. It allowed a ghastly .480 wOBA to opposing hitters along with a .395 batting average.
In the small sample we have from last year, Miller opted to throw his curve a little more at 23.8%. At 79.9 mph it has excellent velocity differential off his fastball. It got a good amount of whiffs at 36% and had a 35.3% chase rate but when it was hit it was hit hard with a .372 wOBA allowed.
We’re dealing with the vagaries of small sample sizes here but according to what we have from last year Miller opted to limit his cutter usage from 26% in 2017 (only 22 IP in 2017) to just 11.9%. Overall the pitch was not effective in 2018 as it allowed a .400 wOBA.
Miller largely ditched his sinker in 2018 only using it 4.9% of the time (39.5% in 2017) in favor of his four-seamer which he used 58.8% of the time in 2018 (compared to 18.4% in 2017).