The best pitches of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Shark Tank

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Tony Watson had a remarkable 2014 that resulted in his first all-star nomination.  At one point leading the Pittsburgh Pirates in wins, he posted a 1.63 ERA and a microscopic 1.02 WHIP on the year.  And he did it on the back of his changeup.

O-Swing % O-contact % SwStr% Ground ball rate Fly Ball Rate
40.3% 48.4% 19.5% 31.6% 42.1%

Before going any further, I’d like to point out that Fangraphs’ pitchf/x data had Tony Watson throwing the sinker 67.3% of the time, leaving a smaller sample size for all other pitches.  His change was thrown 10.7% of the time, and resulted in some very good chasing and swinging strike numbers.  Elementary took a big step up in strikeouts from 2013 to 2014, increasing his total to 81 from 54 despite only pitching 5.1 innings more.  The changeup was a huge part of that.  Hitters also hit .226 against this pitch, so even though the contact percentage outside of the zone is higher than some, it resulted in outs just the same.  Watson has a great arsenal of pitches, and for 2015 I would love to see him throw the changeup a bit more to keep hitters off-balance.

Our next bullpen pitcher is adept at standing runners, but which pitch does he rely on to do so?

Next: Runners on base? We've got the perfect pitcher for that