Where can Chris Paddack improve for the Padres in 2020?
Chris Paddack had a sensational, in an otherwise forgetful, year for the Padres. He, along with a couple of other players, was the lone bright spot in a year that was expected to potentially flirt with the postseason. Paddack posted a 3.33 ERA to go along with a 9-7 record in 26 starts. Rightfully so, he was on an innings restriction but still managed to strike out 153 batters in 140.2 innings.
Let’s review his 2019 season to gauge where he can do better in 2020.
Pitch Usage and Success
Paddack has a three-pitch arsenal consisting of a fastball, changeup, and curveball. He utilized his primary pitch 61.1 percent of the time and yielded a .204 average off it. Of the 23 home runs that Paddack allowed in 2019, 14 of them came off his fastball. The big righty featured his changeup 28.5 percent of the time, allowing a .190 average and seven home runs. And finally, batters were able to hit .267 off his curveball, including two home runs there as well.
Batted Ball Statistics
Primarily a groundball pitcher in the minors, Paddack saw his flyballs increase in his first big league season. Batters hit groundballs at a 40.2 percent clip, which is well below the 50 percent or so he was drawing in the minors. Consequently, flyballs came at a 42.3 percent rate to go along with a 14.6 percent home run to fly ball ratio. Batters were able to generate a lot of hard contact off Paddack, with just 17.2 percent soft contact recorded.
Looking specifically at how Paddack’s K/9 and BB/9 related to his ERA throughout 2019, you can see he found early success in the year and leveled off around 3.00-ish for a couple of months. The final month, he spiked up to near 4.00 before reeling it back in to finish out a promising rookie year
He’ll likely need to develop another pitch and generate more spin on his curveball to have continued success throughout his career.