As last year’s NL ERA leader and a Cy Young candidate, Kyle Hendricks owned one of the league’s best swinging strike rates (swstrike%) on changeups. He’s actually been near the top of the list for two seasons, with rates of 26 and 24 percent in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Yet since he’s experienced a drop in velocity, Hendricks’ once whiff-tastic change has become imminently hittable, as hitters are swinging and missing only 16.6 percent of the time.
But while the overall rate is underwhelming, Hendricks’ swstrike% in May is much better than what it was in April. Only 14.7 percent of changeups drew whiffs last month, a number that has increased to 20.4 percent here in May.
That increase in whiffs may be at least partially attributable to a small increase in velocity, as Hendricks is throwing roughly 0.3 MPH faster over the past month.