Pitches can be evaluated by whiffs, movement, grounders, etc. But in the Statcast era, exit velocity and launch angle can also be applied to identify the league’s most effective pitches.
According to Tony Blengino of FanGraphs, Jake Arrieta’s curveball generated a Statcast-adjusted contact score higher than nearly 90 percent of all pitchers and third best in the NL.
As a Cub, Arrieta has historically used his curve less than the sinker and cutter. Yet so far into 2017, the bearded pitcher has begun to use the bender more than the cutter (18 percent vs. 16 percent). Maybe he’s figuring out just how effective his curve is.