In return, Freeland has prioritized using his curveball more in big spots. Its usage has jumped up from just 7.6% in May to 13.6% in June and 17.5% in July. Limiting it in May was smart for Freeland as hitters raked for a wOBA of .803 against it in May, but hitters didn’t get a single hit against it in June in 17 at-bats and they have a wOBA of just .167 against it in July.
This has also become his strikeout pitch over the past couple months, striking out eight batters in each of June and July. His next best putout pitch is his slider, but that’s tallied only nine total strikeouts in the past two months compared to the 16 strikeouts his curveball has notched. As soon as Freeland found his curve, he became more dominant of a pitcher.
Over the last two seasons he’s certainly focused on his curveball as well. While it was not a priority early in his career, he’s worked on making it one of his more dominant pitches as the vertical movement on his curve has jumped a ton over the past two seasons:
Outside of his curve, though, his 4-seam fastball has taken precedence in July. He’s throwing it 28% of the time this month and hitters are only putting up a wOBA of .196 against it. That’s a fantastic number for your most common pitch and it shows Freeland’s doing something to keep hitters from making good contact against it, whether that be sequencing in his pitches, overall movement on his fastball (which isn’t likely with a 4-seam fastball) or he’s hiding the ball well in his delivery. Whatever’s happening, he’s getting results.