Blisters be damned, our boy Kyle Freeland is back!
As our own Kevin Henry wrote about over the weekend, Freeland has been on a roll in his past six starts. He’s rolling with an ERA of 2.06, an FIP of 2.87 and is limiting batters to a slash line of .219/.265/.320 in that timespan, which is an OPS of .585! That’s just a touch below the Colorado Rockies’ current road OPS, but I digress.
Freeland’s resurgence has been a breath of fresh air in a month where trade talks with the Rockies (or a lack thereof) have dominated the conversation. After coming back from injury, his start to the season was less than lackluster as hitters walloped him for a slash line of .400/.471/.767, which is an OPS of 1.238 and that’s just a little below the OPS that Barry Bonds posted up in 2003.
From prime Barry Bonds to current road Rockies … THAT is the turnaround Kyle Freeland’s made over his last six starts.
So how has it all happened for Colorado Rockies starter Kyle Freeland?
Well if we take a look at Freeland’s pitch mix, the biggest thing to notice is a recent drop in usage on his slider and changeup. There’s also a rise in the usage of his other pitches, most specifically his 4-seam fastball and his curveball:
More from Colorado Rockies News
- A Colorado Rockies Thanksgiving
- Colorado Rockies: Charlie Blackmon out for the season
- Colorado Rockies: Injuries shift look of roster ahead of Dodgers series
- Colorado Rockies: 3 things we appreciated from Tuesday in San Francisco
- What Bill Schmidt’s comments mean for the Colorado Rockies in 2023
There’s a good reason for that too. When Freeland was prioritizing his changeup early on, hitters were hitting pretty effectively against it. They posted up a wOBA of .383 in May (when he threw it 29.1% of the time) and in June that rose to a wOBA of .737! Luckily, Freeland recognized hitters were crushing it and the usage on the changeup dropped to 18.1%. That usage has stayed fairly flat in July and Freeland’s in a great spot with it as hitters are now only tagging it for a wOBA of .252, much improved from months prior.
As for the slider, this is the pitch that hitters have continually hit well against Freeland this season. They have gotten a bit lucky against it, though, posting up a wOBA of .448 against Freeland’s slider while having an xwOBA against it of just .328, easily the largest gap for any of Freeland’s pitches this season. Freeland’s responded to this by dropping his usage on this pitch from 30.0% in June to just 21.5% in July.