Tyler Anderson, Change Agent

Tyler Anderson
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

The Dodgers once again have one of the best promotion teams in the major leagues. Nothing surprising. The last time they allowed more than four runs per game was in 2010, when they finished fourth in the NL West. This season, they’ve been better than ever, allowing just 3.14 hits per game over nearly a third of the season. The park and league adjusted ERA is 30% lower than the league average, and is easily the best in majors. And they accomplished this despite their loss Clayton KershawAnd the Andrew HeaneyAnd the Blake Trainin For great parts of the season. the man who drives Staff set up in the war During the first two months of the season it’s not who you expect either: Tyler Anderson.

In Offseason themed Freddy Freeman, Anderson was an under-the-radar acquisition. brought to Provide some depth For their staff, the aforementioned injuries to Kershaw and Henny propelled him into a major role in the Dodgers’ starting rotation. Far from blasting seven rounds against Phillies on May 12, he’s been quite dominant, allowing two runs or fewer in all his other appearances and currently in a 20-game goalless streak.

Prior to this year, Anderson had rolled out a 4.62 ERA and 4.43 FIP across more than 600 runs in six seasons. Both of these labels have been a little inflated, ever since he started his career with the Rockies; The park and league adjusted ERA and FIP both sat a hair above the league average at 101 and 102, respectively. This kind of production was what the Dodgers likely expected of him when they brought him in without an obvious place in the spin. His first two rounds of bulls came out in a backpacking role paired with him Tony Johnslinbut when Heaney fell with a shoulder injury, he was made to spin and never looked back.

Anderson was promoting better than ever, even including that bad trip against the Phillies, posting the best jobs in ERA, FIP, xFIP, strike rates and walk-throughs. His biggest squad maker was one single offer: his change. He’s always had a good personality, but he’s been a lot better this year, starting with his pitch mix.

He’s changed it 31.2% of the time this season, although that’s not the highest rate in his career; Which came in 2020 when he threw it 33% of the time while with the Giants. More importantly, he reduced the use of the four-stud quick ball to just 30%, making his pitch change the signature in his repertoire.

In addition to throwing it often, the shape and properties of its changeover have greatly improved as well. Attributing the change (no pun intended) to old fist It is back in use this year. The difference it made is stark:

He’s added more than five inches of raw vertical breakage to the pitch, which is down more than at any time in his career. While the additional vertical movement is the most obvious difference, a number of other characteristics have changed as well:

Tyler Anderson, Characteristics of Change

year velocity Differential FB-CH V Move H Move active rotation The axis of rotation rotation deflection
2021 80.9 9.7 28.2 12.9 97% 10:15 -15th
2022 79.2 11.0 33.8 13.5 96% 10:30 30
difference -1.7 1.3 5.6 0.6 -1% 0:15 45

The pitch comes at nearly two miles per hour slower, which helped Anderson increase the velocity differential between the fastball and the change to 11 mph. He also slightly changed the pitch’s spin axis on release and increased the amount of spin drift once it crossed the board.

This is a change from last year:

Here’s what it looked like this year:

All of these changes (again, no pun intended) raised the effectiveness of the stadium. Its style rating went from 28.7% to 44.9%, the seventh-highest rate of any change rolled out at least 100 times this year. Even more impressive, Anderson made a swing in nearly 60% of the changes he threw, the 13th highest in the same sample. Competing hitters can’t help but swing the field and simply cannot make any kind of constant contact with it. And when they do, there is no authority behind it. wOBA expected on contact with the change decreased by 80 points to 0.259, the seventh best mark of the change, and only 16.7% of those who participated were affected. He was only allowed seven outfield hits, and only one of them went to get extra bases.

Previously, Anderson leaned heavily on the four-stud fastball as he advanced in counts and a brace. This year, he does change as often as an external presentation. You can see the difference in these counting charts broken down by pitch type from 2021 and ’22:

When he got ahead of the count, Anderson threw his heater about 37% of the time last year. He’s basically flipped that usage with his change this season, switching to Fastball 21% of the time and throwing the change 36% of the time before that. He followed the same pattern of two-stroke usage, resulting in 24 hits in 61 board appearances determined by his change and a 24.2% strike rate.

His new grip also made a change to the spindle which helped the pitch play out of the rest of his repertoire better. The initial rotation of his four-stitch, cutter and changeover takes place at approximately 11:00 on the watch face. Once the playing field reaches the board, the two secondary courts diverge in opposite directions from the Fastball in approximately equal amounts.

This type of spin-based deception adds to the effectiveness of both shifting and cutting and allows it to run between them horizontally on each side of the board.

Anderson isn’t likely to lead the Dodgers in WAR by the end of the season, but they don’t need him to be their player. Once Kershaw and Henny came back from their injuries, Anderson did well enough to earn a continuing place in the starting lineup. That’s more than they could have asked for when they signed him this season.