January 25, 2021

A Plan for Helping Hunter Wood’s Fastball (FanGraphs)

Pitch movement isn’t as exciting as high velocity these days, especially when talking about four-seam fastballs. The harder you throw, the more attention you draw, and any additional cut, run/ride, or rise you produce is the icing on the cake. So what happens if you throw a fastball with average velocity and minimal movement?

There are a few pitchers who don’t rely on heavy movement and can compensate for unimpressive velocity with things like pitch command or control and being able to use their offspeed and/or breaking pitches with the fastball effectively. While looking at some 2019 four-seam movement data, I came across a few pitchers that produce minimal four-seam action. Since the fastball is essentially the foundation on which all other pitches thrive, I wondered about the capacity of their other secondary pitches working off of this somewhat linear-moving pitch.

I found Cleveland Indians relief pitcher Hunter Wood to be of interest to me. Only a half-win player in 2018, Wood took a small step backward in 2019 after a decent start to the season that went south just before the All-Star break. His HR/9 skyrocketed in that time, going from 0.68 from April to June to…

Read “A Plan for Helping Hunter Wood’s Fastball” at FanGraphs