Jacob deGrom, in his first pitch to a batter, should not throw a changeup.
So far in 2019, seven times Jacob deGrom has thrown a changeup as the first pitch. Six of those times the batter got a hit (.857 average). All the hits were singles. Statcast Search
In contrast, in 2018 deGrom threw only 12 first-pitch changeups. Two resulted in hits. Both were singles for a .167 average. Statcast Search
This season, when any Mets pitcher have thrown an off-speed pitch as the first one, they fared much worse than the League average, opposing batters hitting .350 against them. Statcast Search
The problem is not just the Mets’. When any MLB pitcher started a pitch count with an off-speed pitch, opponents have hit .301 (188 for 625). Statcast Search
Jacob deGrom’s problems are not just with first-pitch changeups. This year, he has thrown a changeup as the last pitch 37 times. Eleven of them resulted in hits for a .297 opponents’ batting average. His problems with his changeup are surprising given that in 2018 deGrom was said to have the fourth-best changeup in Major League Baseball.
As a team, the Mets rank eighth-worst, 18 points above the League average, with opponents hitting their last-pitch, off-speed pitches at a .240 pace (93 for 387). Statcast Search Tampa Bay has the best team average, .167, more than a hundred points lower than the Mets.
League-wide, when an off-speed pitch is thrown as the last pitch, opponents are hitting .222 (1831 for 8258). Statcast Search
The Mets starter for whom an off-speed pitch has been the best out-pitch is Noah Syndergaard. Of the 67 he threw — all changeups — that ended an at-bat, only 12 resulted in a base hit, for an opponents’ batting average of .179. Statcast Search
Links to the Statcast Search pages are provided for those interested in seeing how the searches were done.