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pek1

Kyle Freeland 2020 Outlook

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It looks like Freeland has changed his pitch mix and approach and as a result is looking like a different, better, pitcher. Disclaimer that obviously SSS and his .172 BABIP and 93.0% LOB are unsustainable, but I am curious if his FIP of 3.58 is believable. 

 

In a Denver Post July 25 article, it was reported that he overhauled his delivery and would be changing up his pitch mix (which had become too predictable):

“Kyle’s pitch mix is going to be different, which I think is a good thing,” Black said. “It’s part of developing and evolving and growing as a pitcher...I think you’re going to see a wider range of velocities from his best fastball to his slowest pitch, which will disrupt timing. I think you’ll see him pitching to both sides of the plate (more).”

Freeland is especially jazzed about his improved changeup"

It appears this has been borne out.

He has significantly dialed back his fastball/cutter.

2019: 41.4% (FB), 31.3% (CU)

2020: 23.9%, 22.1% 

And increased the use of his breaking balls:

2019: 11.0% (CH), 5.6% (SL)

2020: 30.7%, 17.2%

 

Is it working?

His offspeed stuff is all above-average per Fangraph's pitch info and values (not super well-versed in this, so would appreciate the assist) unlike last year. As is his fastball and cutter.

Freeland is striking out batters at a 20.9% rate, higher than his 2019 16.7% and in line with his 2018 20.5%. Batters appear to be swinging less both inside (8% drop) and outside (8% drop) the zone this year, but appear to be making worse contact (50 GB% vs 46% and 10% HR/FB vs 21%) as a result of his altered approach and pitch selection.

 

All stats from fangraphs.

 

Thoughts? 

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4 minutes ago, Triple Short Of a Cycle said:

I am. had nobody else once Plesac was sent home :(


Just hope he goes 5 Innings with 3 Earned runs. 

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I’m rolling him out, he’s had 3 Qs last 3. Now @ home vs a below average hitting Dbacks squad. Don’t let last night fool u, the Dbacks r who we thought they were. And How could u not love the increase in above average breaking stuff?? Sign me up. #Freeland2020

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Look, I'm as big a fan as a fan as Kyle Freeland as there is. Or at least I was after he came through and held it together big time in 2018. A total gem and a free gem no less. No need to highlight anything in regards to his 2019 season, as to say there were no highlights to speak of would be the understatement of the century. And as for his start to the 2020 season, he's been a nice feel-good bounce-back story to date, no doubt about it. BUT....

With his upcoming slate of scheduled starts (Stros, Dodgers, Stros again), coupled with his severe lack of K's -- and make no mistake, that lack is pitiful. 13 K's / 25.2 IP (4.64 K's per 9 🤮) -- and you have yourselves a guy who if and when he gets smashed, there's no silver-lining for you to even so much as hope to latch onto.

Think of Freeland as something akin to a Twinkie or a Hostess Cup Cake or something.

It may seem like a good idea, at the very least enticing; and for a hot minute, boy it sure is yummy in your tummy. 

But that yumminess is fleeting, and at the end of the day all you're consuming is empty calories. There's no nutritional value to be found.

Now, to be sure, if you only consume it in highly controlled moderation, you should be fine.

However, if you're not too discriminate as to when you're stuffing your face, all those empty calories are going to catch up to you sooner or later. And then before you know it - BAM - you're fat in all the wrong and unsightly places. Mainly ERA & WHIP. And all without any healthy nutritional benefits attached...especially those oh so essential vitamin K's.

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Definitely not starting him, but I want to see him toss against the Stros before dropping.  He's never been a big K guy but I wouldn't be blown away to see him get closer to his career of 7 per 9 (7.7 in 2018 & 6.8 in 2019) once he's in the groove a bit better with his new pitch mix.  See below, very obvious paradigm shift.  

image.thumb.png.1b219e64987b515cc17ca97db6290c54.png

Velo is there and the off speed pitches still look great.  The key component to Kyle's game is control.  When he is hitting his spots he's a machine (2018) and when he's just a few inches off he gets crushed (2019).  So far this year he looks much closer to 2018 than 2019. 

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