Sarris: Michael Fulmer, changeups, and managing contact

From SABR member Eno Sarris at FanGraphs on July 20, 2017:

No matter how you look at Michael Fulmer, you’ll probably come away impressed. Today’s Tigers starter is making good on his sophomore season and currently has the 10th-best ERA among qualified starters. But if you look at strikeouts and walks, traditionally thought of as the outcomes over which a pitcher exerts the most control, Fulmer is 43rd best among that game group. Which ranking is more indicative of his true talent? His changeup might have the answer.

It’s not that Fulmer’s awesome changeup supports his top-10 ERA, without caveats. The pitch does have three inches more drop, two inches more fade, and 30% more whiffs than the average righty changeup, so it’s awesome. But the link between changeup swinging-strike rate and overall strikeout rate is weaker than it is for other pitches.

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Originally published: July 20, 2017. Last Updated: July 20, 2017.