Quality of pitch average (QOPA) is the most advanced way to evaluate pitchers on a pitch-by-pitch basis. It uses PITCHf/x data to come up with a single metric (consult the BREW MATHs QOP/QOPA Page for a full explanation). Here, we rank every pitch thrown by The Brewers relievers in 2018! Who has the best slider? Who throws the hardest? Where Hader ranks is going to surprise you…
*** To qualify, pitchers must have thrown 50 (or more) of the specific pitch ***
(NOT SO) FUN FACT: Josh Hader and Alex Claudio are the only two lefties on this list
BEST FOUR SEAMER
BEST SPLIT FINGER
BEST TWO SEAMER
*** BEST OVERALL ***
MOST GREEN PITCHES – Above 4.75 (2):
- Jeremy Jeffress (Four Seamer & Two Seamer)
- Alex Claudio (Change-Up & Sinker)
MOST RED PITCHES – Below 4.00 (2):
- Matt Albers is the only one who struggles with two pitches (Slider & Change-Up)
REMINDER: a QOPA of 4.50 is MLB Average
1. Alex Claudio (L)
- Claudio throws an ELITE Fastball and Sinker (this is how he stays near the league lead in ground ball percentage)
- Claudio also has the best change-up in the pen!
- What he lacks in velocity and vertical break / rise, he more than makes up for with late break and horizontal movement (a deceptive pitcher)
2. Jeremy Jeffress (R)
- Jeffress shoots fire
- He has the best two seamer AND the best four seamer in the Brewers bullpen
- Scanning through all of his pitches allows one to quickly see there isn’t a bad one in the bunch (a crafty, multi-tool pitcher)
3. Adrian Houser (R)
- Despite the low sample size, Houser clearly is throwing high quality pitches across the board
- He would have had the highest rated curve ball but missed the 50 pitch cutoff by six
- A control based pitcher who can use all four of his pitches effectively
4. Jake Petricka (R)
- Petricka’s QOPA chart suggests he pitches with the same approach Ricky “Wild Thing” Vaughn employed (“Juuusst a bit outside…”)
- JP combines high level velocity with good natural movement… if he can dial in his accuracy, The Brewers may be onto something!
5. Corey Knebel (R)
- Knebel uses his two pitches in a complementary fashion to keep hitters guessing:
- A blazing fastball that comes in like a dart, and a…
- Knifing curveball that falls off the table at the last second (95% late break!!!)
6. Junior Guerra (R)
- Guerra is the jack of all trades using a balanced approach. He does not excel at any one thing outside of this two-seamer. He does everything else well.
- Junior Guerra has spent the majority of his career as a starter. However, Craig Counsell has already suggested he plans to use Guerra as a middle reliever (4th – 7th innings)
- Will the switch allow him to take the next step?
7. Jacob Barnes (R)
- Not a large sample size and every pitch here is basically a fastball.
- Barnes has elite velocity and good natural movement on his pitches
- However, he has a long way to go in every other area to make his mark
8. Josh Tomlin (R)
- This offseason acquisition pitched very close to league average in almost every regard last year. It be a bit misleading to list him here since he is a starter by trade. That said, his role could go either way.
- What he lacks in velocity, he makes up for by locating pitches that come in with a high amount of late break. If he can carve a role out on The Big League Squad, he would be a nice contrast to the fire ballers surrounding him.
9. Bobby Wahl (R)
- An elite young RHP who has topped 100 mph on the gun!
- Wahl has a small sample size but has all the tools to be a top-notch pitcher on The Major League Level
10. Burch Smith (R)
- An offseason pickup that specializes in the curve ball… he has the ability to locate it despite its extreme late movement
11. Matt Albers (R)
- Albers struggles in many areas and will attempt to find a role as he returns from injury
- He is the only pitcher in the bullpen to have two pitches of very poor quality (the change-up is bad but the slider is worse)
12. Josh Hader (R)
- Shockingly, one of the best relievers in baseball ranks last on this list (?)
- This reinforces that even the best metrics have their limitations when attempting to reflect reality
- The reasons Hader is so effective are not completely reflected here (i.e. his long limbs, wirey frame and the resulting delivery give him a Randy Johnson Effect – ‘All knees and elbows’… this is hard to quantify).
- Not so surprisingly, we see that Hader is elite in terms of his velocity and accuracy
- If he can figure out how to improve his slider, the rest of the league better watch out…
- It is hard to believe that he is only 24 years old… and is still getting better!
If you like this article, BREW MATHs did the same exact thing with the projected starters!
Categories: Team Trends