The most effective pitch in Thornton’s arsenal in terms of pVAL (3.6) and wOBA (.154), the pitch did not yield a single home run in 243 uses in 2019, and produced a 55.9% ground-ball rate from opposing hitters.
At a flat 0.0 pVAL with middling movement and ground ball/fly ball numbers in 2019, this pitch was decidedly average. An opponent wOBA of .258 suggests that the pitch could yield better results moving forward.
Hitters capitalized with a .366 wOBA on the pitch in 2019. A preponderance of the home runs Thornton gave up came off the fastball (14 of 24). A weak 17.9% strikeout rate and 42.8% fly-ball rate suggests a change may be needed for the pitch to become an effective one in his diverse arsenal.
With a poor 14.9% strikeout rate and a .359 wOBA, Thornton’s cutter was an ineffectual as his fastball in 2019. The pitch did yield his highest swinging-strike rate (14.6%), and his contact numbers with it aren’t terrible—but with -3.0 pVAL, it simply isn’t a pitch he should rely on.
Thornton showcased an effective slider during his first season with the Blue Jays: The change-of-speed offering sits at an unremarkable 80.9 mph, but a 14.2% swinging-strike rate and 33.6% strikeout rate will definitely play as Thornton looks to improve on his rookie campaign.