Guardians pitcher Zach Plesac has been heavily tweaking his approach this offseason – could he be due for a big 2022?
Earlier this spring, Cleveland Guardians pitcher Zach Plesac discussed his mental preparation for the upcoming season. Specifically, Plesac said he has been practicing meditation and breathing techniques.
Sometimes, those techniques help athletes get in the zone more often. In contrast, just recently, Plesac provided insight about physically pitching in and out of the strike zone.
As a recent guest on the BIGPLAY Reflog Show, Plesac said he is focused on trying to throw more pitches outside of the strike zone during the 2022 baseball season.
Pitching outside of the strike zone has become a purposeful strategy used more often by MLB pitchers, but why would pitchers want to purposefully throw more pitches out of the zone?
One of the main reasons is due to analytical data, which shows it is more likely that hitters will swing and miss at pitches that are out of the strike zone.
For example, during the 2021 season, Plesac threw 43.6% of his total pitches in the strike zone. When Plesac threw a pitch in the strike zone and a batter swung (z-contact %), the batter made contact 84.7% of the time. However, when Plesac thew the baseball outside of the strike zone, batters only made contact 65.8% (o-contact %) of the time.
Thus, if a pitcher can get ahead in the count, throwing the pitch outside of the strike zone can be advantageous. In order to get ahead in the count, and then induce hitters to chase pitches outside of the strike zone, a pitcher needs to have great control of his fastball.
After a recent spring start against the Padres, Plesac said one of the last things he is working on before the start of the season is to make sure he has great control of his fastball.
Plesac’s strategic approach to pitching is very consistent with the philosophy espoused by many managers and pitching coaches, which is that the best pitch in baseball is strike one.
To see the full interview of Zach Plesac on the BIGPLAY ReFlog Show, check out the video below.