Breakout Pitcher: Clay Holmes
Now, yes, Clay Holmes did not have a great 2019 season. His biggest weakness was walks, which he gave up at a 15% rate. But aside from that, he overall had a solid season. Holmes had a 23.3% strikeout rate and 0.9 HR/9. He also induced soft contact 25% of the time when the league average was 17%. Not only was he giving up a lot of soft contact, but he induced ground balls at an outstanding 60% rate.
All of Holmes’ struggles came from his fastball. Holmes’ walk rate with his fastball was nearly 38% at 37.9%. 14 of his 36 walks came from his fastball. Opponents hit for a .313 batting average and .563 slugging percentage against the pitch. Meanwhile, his three other primary pitches, his sinker, slider and curve all had an opponent batting average against of .250 or lower and slugging percentage of .381 or lower. His fastball has very little spin coming in at the bottom 7th percentile. Combined with below average movement and only averaging 94 MPH on it and you have a pitch that is easy to hit.
In comparison, his sinker is a better version of his fastball. Not only can he throw it harder at 94.3 MPH on average, but it has a lot more movement with 27.8 inches of vertical drop (32% above average) and 14.6 inches of horizontal movement (average). His curveball has 55.2 inches of vertical drop to go with 9.9 inches of horizontal movement and his slider has 39.1/2.8 inches vertical/horizontal movement. With Oscar Marin as the new pitching coach, hopefully they realize that Holmes has a lot of potential. But in order to reach that potential, Holmes needs to drop his fastball.