This article was originally published on my blog, cargocultsabermetrics.com.
Developing a new pitch can be a great way for a pitcher to have a breakout season. In 2018, we saw big improvements from Trevor Bauer adding a slider, Adam Ottavino adding a cutter, and Patrick Corbin adding a curveball. A new pitch can sometimes be the missing puzzle piece when trying to figure out why a player is good and not great. For Jose Berrios, a cutter might be that missing piece.
Examining Berrios’ arsenal
Jose Berrios has one of the nastiest curveballs in baseball. Instead of having the typical downward break associated with curveballs, Berrios’ curve averages 15.5 inches of glove-side break. This results from Berrios imparting gyro spin (think bullet spin) on his curveball rather than 12-6 top spin. Because of this, Berrios generates close to no vertical break caused by Magnus force, which is just a fancy way of saying the only drop we see on Berrios’ curve is due to gravity rather than top spin.
To pair with his curve, Berrios has a four-seam fastball which generates 9.5 inches of arm side run and 16.5 inches of upward vertical break due to Magnus force (causing the pitch to drop less), a two-seam fastball which generates 16.5 inches of arm-side run and 11.0 inches of upward vertical break, and a changeup with 14.5 inches of arm-side run and 5.5 inches of upward vertical break (the changeup will drop even more than the fastball since it is thrown slower and gravity will have more time to bring the pitch down). Read the rest of this entry »