Last night Mike Wuertz stuck out the side in the 8th as the A’s came from behind victory to beat the White Sox. Wuertz was hailed as a nice pick up over the offseason, and the he has worked out better than any one could have imagined. He is striking out 11.5 per 9 and walking only 2.5 (both far and away career bests).
You may have read that Wuertz’s slider is the hardest pitch to hit in the game, that is it has the highest whiff rate (misses per swings) of any pitch. Since the article came out the whiff rate on his slider has increased, so now both righties and lefties make contact with the pitch under 50% of the time they swing at it, which is incredible. Since batters swing at this slider over 50% of the time, this means over 25% of the time he throws a slider he gets a swinging strike. Wuertz takes full advantage throwing his slider 64% of the time to both lefties and righties.
He locates the pitch down-and-away to both lefties and righties, rarely leaving the pitch up or in.
The key to his success is those low sliders. Batters swing and miss at these pitches low in the zone and below the zone at a huge rate.