Examining the New York Mets’ best pitches, per Pitch Values

Apr 10, 2018; Miami, FL, USA; New York Mets starting pitcher Jacob deGrom (48) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

It is no secret that the New York Mets have some talented pitchers on their roster. However, have you wondered who has the team’s best pitches?

For this exercise, we will use Fangraphs’ Pitch Type Linear Weights, better known as Pitch Values. As they explain on their website, the section “attempts to answer the question, “How well has a batter/pitcher performed against/using a certain pitch?”  With this tool, we can get an idea of the total runs saved by a pitcher using that pitch.

We will also use Statcast data (exit velocity, whiff rate, xwOBA, and other stuff) to describe each pitch’s effect.

Without further ado, let’s list them!

New York Mets’ best pitches:

Seth Lugo’s fastball (Pitch Value: 20.2)

Lugo’s heater was something else in 2019. It had good velocity, but didn’t precisely blow people away at 94 mph on average. Its spin was also below average. But Lugo held opposing batters to a measly .148 average and a .250 slugging percentage. The pitch also had a good whiff rate of 29.2%. His command with the four-seamer was immaculate.

Jacob deGrom’s slider (Pitch Value: 20.0)

In 189 batted ball events, rivals hit .186 off the New York Mets’ ace slider, with a .276 SLG. His wOBA was .222, with an xWOBA of .225. The average exit velocity against the offering was a meager 83.3 mph. With a 33.8 K%, a 35.5 whiff rate and a 26.0 put-away%, he used it to finish hitters off and was very successful at it.

Jacob deGrom’s fastball (Pitch Value: 16.5)

DeGrom’s fastball has the velocity (96.9 mph on average, in the 95th percentile) spin (2388 rpm, in the 78th percentile) and command to be the foundation of his deadly arsenal. He held hitters to a .219 average with it, and had a whiff rate of 27.1%.

Jacob deGrom’s changeup (Pitch Value 11.1)

Yet another DeGrom’s pitch, who is sure pleasing the Mets with multiple plus offerings. Judging by xwOBA (.208) it was actually the Cy Young’s best pitch, holding hitters to a .186 average and a 86 mph average exit velocity. It also had the highest marks in K% (40.7) whiff rate (39.6) and put-away% (29.9) of his arsenal.

Noah Syndergaard’s changeup (Pitch Value: 6.8)

Hitters had a .208 average and a .333 slugging percentage against Thor’s changeup. The xwOBA was a paltry .248, and he had a whiff rate of 28.5 percent with the offspeed pitch. It is a perfect complement to the fastball (one of the hardest of the league) and the breaking stuff.

Justin Wilson’s cutter (Pitch Value: 6.6)

Wilson’s cutter comes at batters at 90.1 mph on average. However, it has 5.3 inches of horizontal movement, which is 180% more break than the average. The pitch held batters to a .197 average and a .258 xwOBA. The cutter, for Wilson, is a weak-contact getter, with average exit velocity at 81.8 mph.