Hey, Hoynsie: There appears to have been a dramatic drop in velocity this year for some of the Tribe’s pitchers, including Corey Kluber and Cody Allen, causing them to rely more on other pitches. I don’t know the cause, but it’s a troubling trend. — Bill Williams, Windsor, Conn.
Hey, Bill: Kluber, according to Statcast, threw his sinker or two-seam fastball more than any of his other pitches in 2018. He averaged 92 mph with it. In the first game of the season on March 29, he averaged 91.6 mph with the sinker. In his start against the Astros in the ALDS on Oct. 5, he averaged 91.5 mph with his two-seamer.
Over the previous three years here is the average velocity of Kluber’s sinker: 92.5 mph in 2017, 93.2 mph in 2016 and 93.5 mph in 2015.
Allen throws a four-seam fastball and a curveball. He threw the four-seamer 60.3 percent of the time in 2018. In his first appearance of the year on March 31, he averaged 93.9 mph with it. In Game 3 of the ALDS, the Tribe’s last game of the year, he averaged 93.9 mph with his fastball.
Over the last three years, Allen’s four-seamer averaged 94.3 mph in 2017, 94.8 mph in 2016 and 95.5 mph in 2015.
While statcast shows Kluber and Allen’s velocity was steady in 2018, compared to past years there has been a drop. These are two durable, dependable pitchers who have carried a big load in their careers for the Indians. The decline, no matter how slight, can probably be traced to their workload and availability.