Trevor Bauer We have chosen the best year to win the Cy Young Award.
Despite all the weirdness COVID brought to MLB in 2020, he seems to have significantly improved his performance and prepared for a life-changing deal this winter. He also won every bit of it. In addition to being a league leader in fWAR (2.5) and ERA (1.73), he ranked in the top 3% of baseball. Advanced statistics According to his Statcast profile, there are xBA, xSLG, wOBA, xwOBA and so on.
When looking at his 2020 performance, denialists mention one of the following:
— It was a short season, he is not so good.
—Of course he was very good, he pitched only against NL and AL Central.
Has he made it sustainable with more than 30 starts? As anyone knows, I hate the argument that “the batter he faced is not good”. There were still major league batters and he still had to kick them out, it was his ridiculous speed.
Of all the spectacular stats he has produced in what he seems to want to be a career-determining year, his contact quality numbers stand out most to me. .. Through the work of 73 innings, he produced a allowed soft hit rate of 20.3% and a hard hit rate of 25.3%.Both of the ranked ones Within the top 5 Among qualified starters in 2020.
This fits perfectly with what the New York Mets starting pitchers have done primarily in recent years.
Match the rotation of Mets
Mets Starting Staff during the 2018 and 2019 seasons— Jacob DeGrom, Obvious — Highest ranked in baseball. In 2018, their 18.0 collective fWAR was the third best (best in NL). They were again MLB’s third best rotation (third best in NL) in 2019, and even better 19.7fWAR.
Most of the fWAR production was from the top of the rotation: deGrom, Noah Syndergaard,and Zack Wheeler..Coincidentally, all three Ranked in the highest rank in the league With both soft and hard hit rates allowed each year.
Here’s how the rotation numbers were determined in ’18 and ’19, along with the league ranks.
Percentage shifted only slightly in 2020, but New York time The league tops in these categories have ended, And for some reason.
DeGrom was still DeGrom, Marcus Stroman Opting out, Wheeler played in Philadelphia, and Syndergaard was rehabilitating from Tommy John’s surgery.Invest in a defensive and reputable catcher like James McCann It certainly helps (* cough *) as well as strengthening the defenses behind the pitching staff. George Springer *cough*).
But it’s also helpful to bring one or two pitchers with handles that control contact from enemy batters, as Bauer did last year.
Significant improvement in Bauer
The number of Bauer contacts has shown a significant improvement over the last few years. His allowed soft hits haven’t been that high in Cleveland since 2015, and his allowed hard hits haven’t fallen below 30.0% in a single season since 2014.
Looking at these categories from 2017 to 2020, we can see that his hard hit rate has continued to increase before this past season. However, his soft hit rate continued to improve after marking a low career of 15.0%.
The 2020 numbers are slightly distorted due to the non-uniform sample size, but the remaining hit profiles show a consistent increase in infield fly rates over the same period.
The reduced line drive rate may have helped to require a significant reduction in the hard hit rate. But how sustainable is it? Was it just luck?
Helped by changes in pitch mix
Since 2017, there are some trends in Bauer’s pitch mix. Increased sliders and cutters, and decreased curved balls. It’s interesting to see his change-up basically disappear in 2020.
His slider stands out especially because FanGraphs gave it a value of 3.99 for every 100 pitches — The best of the starters last year. Seeing this kind of change, I was curious about how the quality of contact changed from pitch to pitch over multiple seasons. Here’s a breakdown of Bauer’s sliders over the last few years:
And here is a breakdown of his cutter:
It’s clear that these two offerings helped right-handed players take the game to another level in 2020. Bauer is also a pretty cerebral pitcher, and his wisdom and physical talent seem to intersect at the right time. Controlling the quality of contact of the hostile batter and increasing the use of his slider / cutter will all be in good harmony with what Mets rotation has shown us in recent years.
Adding such a skill set to New York could be a great help in getting the starting staff back to the top of baseball after not doing so this past season.