Earned runs and Nick Goody have yet to meet in 2017.
The 25-year-old right-hander has been flawless through 4.1 innings in the minor leagues and 20.1 innings in the major leagues this season – another gift from the Yankees.
Over four months after trading for Andrew Miller, the Indians decided to reconvene with general manager Brian Cashman and make a move for one of the lesser-known relief pitchers in the New York organization.
That move is shaping out to be a highway robbery.
Goody struck out all three Oakland hitters he faced in a scoreless inning of work on Thursday afternoon as he continues to fly under the radar in baseball’s best bullpen…
What makes Goody so intriguing is that he only throws a four-seam fastball and slider, two pitches he seems to have mastered since the Tribe recalled him on April 14.
In looking at his locations in the 8-0 victory, it is evident he likes to change the eye level of opposing hitters to produce both swinging strikes and weak contact on batted balls…
Sample Size: 16 pitches
Average Velocity: 85.8-mph
Minimum Velocity: 81.2-mph (slider)
Maximum Velocity: 92.5-mph (four-seam fastball)
Average/Minimum/Maximum Exit Velocity: 74.7-mph (one foul ball)
Swinging Strikes: 7
Called Strikes: 2
Strike Percentage: 56.3% (nine strikes, seven balls)
Despite facing the Athletics, the team that struck out 59 times in a span of four contests, Goody still put on a clinic in terms of mixing speeds and keeping hitters off-balanced.
His strategy is to work the upper-left portion of the strike zone (see usage chart below) with the four-seam fastball while placing the slider on the lower-right portion of the strike zone (see usage chart below) to effectively change the eye level of his opposition. The results have yielded a career-high 33.3% soft contact percentage and career-low 15.9% line drive percentage.
In simpler terms, Goody’s superior command on the top and bottom regions of the zone have led to a dominating .134 opposing batting average, 0.69 WHIP and 9.74 strikeouts per nine innings without a lick of damage.
Goody has always been a strikeout pitcher as evidenced by his career 9.65 K/9, an average of at least one punch out in every inning pitched. The difference this season has been his ability to limit walks as shown by his career-bests in BB/9 (2.33), walk percentage (7.1%) and strikeout to walk ratio (20%).
Between impeccable command, weak contact and a consistent approach applied to each of his relief appearances, Nick Goody has established himself as one of the best middle-inning relievers in baseball.
John Alfes has covered the Indians for IBI since August of 2016. Follow him on Twitter @JohnAlfes for breaking news and in-depth coverage all season long.