The Fresh Prince of Atlanta doesn’t throw his changeup all that much. Just 19 total pitches this past year (1.8% usage) and all to right-handed batters. It induced just one swinging strike (5.3%) and just a 20% chase rate.
Unlike Smith’s money-making dynamic slider, the curveball isn’t nearly as exciting, inducing whiffs at a modest 20.8% and chases at just 27.8%. Featuring above-average horizontal break, the batted-ball results for the curveball were outstanding, as it held batters to a paltry .080 wOBA (.182 xwOBA).
Smith’s four-seamer averaged 92.6 mph and topped out at 95.4 mph. It showed below-average spin (39th percentile) and was hit pretty hard by opposing batters, allowing a .293 BAA and .380 wOBA (.375 xwOBA). It’s not much of a bat-misser, with just a 7.6% swinging-strike rate.
Smith’s slider is instrumental to his back-of-the-bullpen dominance, sparked by a 26.9% swinging-strike rate and a 55.9% strikeout rate. Opponents slashed a woeful .118.165/.235 against the breaking ball, despite a nearly 10% increase in the slider’s HR/FB rate from 2018.
Smith’s four-seamer sat at 92.6 mph and featured a modest 6.7% swinging-strike rate. It limited hitters to a .322 wOBA and .273 batting average. Serviceable but unspectacular.
Smith’s best pitch is his scintillating slider, which featured a whopping 58.7% chase rate to go along with a great 39.3% zone rate and a silly good 29.8% swinging-strike rate. No doubt the slider was the key to his success as he emerged as the Giant’s best weapon out of the pen last year.
His secondary breaking ball, the curve, was thrown primarily to righties (103/119). It was a poor whiff pitch with a paltry swinging-strike rate of 5.3%. Overall, the results weren’t impressive, as it allowed a wOBA of .318 and a batting average of .333. An especially forgettable pitch when compared to his slider.
Smith threw his sinker only nine times in 2018. There’s not much to note here. The four-seamer is the clear fastball of choice.