I went back and watched a start from Lamet this past September to get a better feel for where he was in his return and it’s pretty clear what makes Lamet such a promising player.
He has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and regular gets up to 97 MPH to go along with a slider/curveball in the mid-to-high 80s that has sharp break running away from right-handed hitters and into lefties.
The problem with his fastball is that it can be a little flat and when he misses over the heart of the plate it gets crushed, which is why he has a tendency to give up a lot of home runs.
But when he’s controlling it on the corners as he was a lot of the time during the September 18, 2019 game I watched it can be devastating. He really dominated that Milwaukee Brewers lineup strictly with the elevated fastball.
I had a really hard time distinguishing between his slider and curveball. They both have the same type of movement moving down-and-away from right-handed hitters.
The curveball has a little more drop to it while the slider has much harder bite to it going horizontal.
He also throws a sinker but it’s not much of a factor at this point.
In the start I watched he was really sharp with the curveball early but lost the feel for it later in the game. But the fastball was so good he really didn’t need it much.
In that game he got 11 swings-and-misses on the fastball (all of them where of the four-seam variety but one) and he got seven swings-and-misses on the curveball (most of them coming in the first three innings).
This proves to me that his fastball is still good enough on it’s own to get hitters out for multiple innings when he doesn’t have the feel for his offspeed pitches.
But I would still love to see him develop a slower offering. The curveball and slider are too similar and both are still thrown really hard.
I think if he could either develop a low-80s change-up or maybe just learn to take a little off his curveball it would go a long way in keeping hitters off balance and from timing up his upper 90s fastball.