Trueblood: Jose Berrios finds his depth without sinking

From Matthew Trueblood at Baseball Prospectus on April 4, 2019:

For much of the last year and a half, I’ve been documenting (piecemeal) the ascendancy of the slider in the modern pitch mix, and in particular the way it’s happened at the expense of the sinker. A league that has historically thrown something close to two sinkers for every slider saw more sliders than sinkers last season. Whereas there were once three four-seam fastballs for every two sinkers, there are now about five. It’s not wholly clear why the shift has been so aggressive, widespread, and unidirectional, but it’s clear that some new insight gleaned from a massive new trove of information about pitches, pitchers, and pitch design has occasioned a radical change in the way most teams teach their charges to pitch.

This season, that revolution continues apace. It was only late last season that the number of sliders finally surpassed the number of sinkers thrown, but the final difference between the two was over 2,000 thrown. This year, the gap is already over 800. We’re likely going to see 10,000 more sliders than sinkers this season, and three times as many four-seamers as sinkers. The league is moving quickly, and it’s moving almost exclusively to the glove side. It might be on display, more than anywhere else, in Minnesota.

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Originally published: April 5, 2019. Last Updated: April 5, 2019.