It was a down week for non-closer relievers, as only 9 pitchers were able to pick up more than one hold over the past 7 days. One of the more surprising names on the list was Luis Cessa, who has made some changes to his pitch selection, leading to positive results. He’s throwing his fastball under 25% of the time now, focusing more on his slider (58%) and changeup (15%). It’s resulted in a 16.1% SwStr rate, .260 xWOBA and has actually lowered his walk rate to 3.7%.
Now I’m not saying you should rush out and add Cessa, he still has Zack Britton, Chad Green, and Adam Ottavino in front of him, but he makes for another interesting case study of a pitcher who starts throwing his fastball way less often and having much more success. This seems to be the way the leagues trending now and something to keep an eye on when evaluating pitcher breakouts.
- There’s a new #1 on the list as Devin Williams continues to dominate on the mound, leading all relievers in multiple categories. What categories you ask? xFIP, SIERA, K%, K-BB%, SwStr%, Z-Contact%, Contact%, and Whiff rate. Not bad for a rookie.
- After the Red Sox traded away Brandon Workman and Heath Hembree, it was Ryan Brasier turn to be the teams top setup man. Brasier has pitched well lately, but as a Red Sox fan, it’s really hard for me to recommend any pitcher on this team right now so roster at your own risk.
- Phil Maton is back on the radar as he seems to have regained the stuff that made him an exciting rookie back in 2017. While he’s fastball is at a career-high 93.4 MPH, he’s throwing it less often, upping his slider usage by 11.5% from last season. He is behind James Karinchak and Nick Wittgren when it comes to holds hierarchy, but his 33.3% K-BB and 16.1% SwStr rate make him worth watching. His Savant page also will give you a reason to get excited.
- Following the Cessa and Maton trends, A.J. Cole has lowered his fastball usage to a career-low 32% and is now enjoying a career year. He still doesn’t have exciting swing and miss stuff, but with Jordan Romano and Ken Giles on the IL, he is in line to earn more hold chances.
Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)