As is Wheeler’s default gear for every pitch in his repertoire, the newly-inked Philadelphia No. 2 starter throws his changeup hard. Like, 89 mph hard. When Wheeler’s dealing his changeup, he catches batters chasing at a 39.8% rate and prompted a 53.3% swing percentage.
Wheeler utilized his curveball at a higher rate than any year since 2014, and the pitch yielded respectable numbers with an excellent 37.0% K rate and low .243 opponent WOBA. The only quibble is a comparatively low ground-ball rate (48.8%) for a breaking ball.
Wheeler’s calling card is his filthy fastball velocity, sitting at 97 mph (94th percentile on Statcast) and occasionally touching triple digits on the radar gun. The blistering heater draws a 52.3% swing rate from opposing batters, although with a swinging-strike rate of just 9.4%, they aren’t misses as often as you may expect.
The slider continues to be Wheeler’s fallback pitch, with 630 individual uses in 2019. The pitch is a strong weapon, with an 11.8% swinging-strike rate and a solid 55.8% ground-ball rate propping up a middling opponent WOBA and respectable weak contact numbers.
Wheeler dropped his worst pitch (-4.3 pVal sinker, 25% usage) from 2017 and threw more four-seamers. The result was a 22.7 pVal four-seamer, which ranked fifth-best in the league. His average velocity jumped from 94.8 mph in 2017 to 96.0 mph in 2018, and the pitch was mere percentage points away from being a Money Pitch, sporting a 57.3 Zone%, 29.8 O-swing%, and 9.3 SwStr%.
Wheeler added three ticks of velocity to his slider in 2018, upping the average velocity to 91.0 mph. The pitch earned a 4.7 pVal, thanks to a 40.7 Zone%, a 12.0 SwStr% and a .211 BAA.
This pitch was probably the four-seamer that Wheeler actually threw during the season. It just registered incorrectly. Expect Wheeler to lean on his four-seamer moving forward.
Wheeler’s splitter has similar movement to his two-seamer and comes in at an average velocity of 89.4 mph, five ticks less than his two-seamer. The pitch got decent results, sporting a 32.1 Zone%, 44.2 O-swing% and a 13.5 SwStr%, which led to a .9 pVal.
Wheeler’s fourth positive pVal (1.6), the curveball, was only thrown 10% of the time. The pitch had excellent results, though, sporting a 41.6 K% and a .172 BAA. He managed a 39.9 Zone%, 33.5 O-swing%, and a 13.2 SwStr%.