The changeup is arguably his best pitch, but carried a -0.1 pVAL a year after posting a 4.4 pVAL in 2019. Allowing a .250 BAA and striking out 25% of batters, the change is of average depth while getting below-average break.
Utilized only 4.6% of the time in 2019, Hildenberger’s four-seamer averaged 91 mph and had 23% less drop than the major-league average, but also had 14.8 inches of horizontal break – compared to the 7.1 inches of the average heater. He only threw it 16 times, but none resulted in a hit.
Paired with his changeup, Hildenberger’s sinker is his main fastball and averaged 87.4 mph last season. The pitch got average movement on both planes and allowed a gaudy .619 batting average against it.
Hildenberger’s slider is thrown around 76 mph and gets above-average depth, but 44% less break than the average slider. The slider had a 26.3% usage rate but was thrown mostly to right-handers, with lefties only seeing 18 sliders from Hildenberger all season.
Even though it is his primary pitch, Hildenberger’s sinker is not effective. Batters make contact 94% of the time and also only chase this pitch 16% of the time. It’s tough survive when throwing a pitch that rarely goes for a strike without getting blasted.
Thrown about a third of the time and almost interchangeably with his primary sinker, Hildenberger’s change is quite a pitch. At a 26% whiff rate and 50% chase rate, Hildenberger strikes out 40% of batters faced while allowing a .168 batting average against.
Hildenberger’s only breaking pitch is his slider. As that kind of pitch, it doesn’t do what it should. He doesn’t get enough whiffs and he ended up with a .250 ISO against.
As Hildenberger’s fourth pitch, his fastball is a fine offering to be thrown less than 10% of the time. Despite the reasonable amount of contact allowed, he hasn’t given up many hits against it.