Thought to be the #7 starter for this year at the end of last year, Randall Delgado has already made eight starts for Atlanta this year. He has shown some flashes of brilliance, though he has also been pretty rough around the edges at times too. Overall, he has been alright for a guy who only had one minor league stop where he showed great peripherals.
Starting with his stuff, his primary pitch, thrown about half the time, is a two-seamer averaging 91 MPH. From the catcher’s perspective, it has -8 inches of horizontal movement and +8 inches of vertical movement, which I will denote as (-8,8) in the future. In general, it’s not a great pitch, with average tail and below-average depth. His four-seamer, thrown about 20% of the time, has (-4,9.5) movement at 92 MPH, almost exactly average.
His best secondary pitch is his changeup, averaging 81.5 MPH with (-8.5,4) movement, showing above-average fade and depth. This pitch is the source of most of his whiffs, with hitters missing it half the time they swing at it. His curveball is well behind his change, averaging 77.5 MPH with (3.5,-3.5) movement, both values worse than league average.
Here is a visualization of his pitches from the Brooks Baseball site. There are a few differences in the two datasets. First, they call his two-seamer a sinker, and the percentages of the two fastballs are nearly equal. Second, they called a few of Delgado’s curveballs sliders, which looks to make sense looking at the velocities. Also, the vertical movement includes gravity, which shows the visual effect better.
Moving on to peripherals, Delgado has never shown a great combination of walks, strikeouts, and home runs allowed, aside from his stint in Myrtle Beach (A+) in 2010. Last year in Mississippi, he posted a 3.82 FIP to match his 3.84 ERA, good for a 21-year-old, but usually doesn’t bode well for a transition to the majors. So far this year, he has posted a 4.15 FIP, nearly matching his 4.26 ERA.
His biggest problem has been walks. In 44.1 IP, he’s walked 23 (2 intentional), good for a 12% mark, 3.5% above league average. His first-pitch strike% is league average at 60%, but he does not attack the zone after that. His Zone% is 36.5%, well below the 49% average. He can get away with such a low figure on his changeup, but his other pitches are not good enough to get hitters to chase. Lefties have walked a bit more often against him, after taking out the IBB.
His strikeout rate has been league average, sitting at 19%. As I said before, the changeup is his go-to pitch, but surprisingly, it’s been much better against RHH. He’s struck out 25% of righties, while only K’ing 15% of lefties. Changeups, especially with that amount of fade, are generally better against opposite-handed hitters, but Delgado has bucked that trend so far.
His groundball rate of 48.5% is a bit above average, while his HR/FB% is exactly average at 10.5%. Again, lefties are giving him lots of trouble in his batted ball profile. He’s allowed more line drives (24% vs. 16%) and fly balls (33% vs. 28%) to lefties, while twice as many fly balls have left the park off lefties’ bats (13% vs. 6.5%).
Overall, lefties have been the bane of Delgado, with them posting a .296/.384/.477 line off of him, while righties are well under control at .163/.286/.260. He has faced about 100 hitters from each side, so it’s a bit early to call these trends, but if this continues through another 5-6 starts, it becomes a true worry. So far, he has done better than I thought he would, but he has to solve left-handed hitters before he becomes a good pitcher at this level.