It would have been difficult for Jake Arrieta to repeat his superb 2015 season, in which he won the NL Cy Young Award with a 22-6 record and an ERA of 1.77 (ERA+ of 215). However, his 2016 season was still more than acceptable, with an ERA of 3.10 (ERA+ of 129) and an 18-8 won-lost record. The 30-year-old righthander has been less impressive in the 2016 post-season so far, giving up six earned runs in 11 innings (4.91 ERA).
Pitch usage and trends: Arrieta’s sinker is his bread-and-butter pitch, thrown 44.1% of the time. His sinker and four-seam fastball are about equally used (18.0% and 20.9% of the time, respectively). He throws a changeup, but only 4.7% of the time. The velocity on his four-seam fastball, at 94.1 mph, is about 1 mph faster than that of the average right-handed pitcher; his velocity may have decreased slightly over the course of the season:
Arrieta treats right- and left-handed batters very similarly, without altering his repertoire much for either. When behind in the count, he is much less likely to throw his curve, preferring to use his slider and sinker instead:
Pitch value: Arrieta’s four-seam fastball, sinker, and changeup are all much better than league average in terms of total bases yielded per 100 pitches. Even though his results in 2016 have not been as impressive as in his 2015 season, his pitch values have been quite similar; his least-used pitches, curve and changeup, took a small turn for the worse, but remain quite effective, especially the changeup. His command of the strike zone also changed very little, with the number of balls per 100 pitches remaining essentially at league average except for his changeup, which was worse than average in both 2015 and 2016:
Pitch location: The charts below show the typical location of Arrieta’s pitches. His fastballs are not predictable: Although they tend to target the lower third of the strike zone, they could end up anywhere in or around the zone. His slider typically ends down and inside to left-handed batters, down and away to righties. His curve and changeup both are likely to end below the bottom of the strike zone, especially to lefties; to righties, both pitch types are likely to be strikes.