Jake Odorizzi’s secondary pitches should return.
Odorizzi’s four-seam fastball was not as effective last year, but it was his secondary pitches that really abandoned him. His split-finger and cutter saw less movement than in his previous seasons and frankly he didn’t fool many hitters.
Batters hit above .275 and slugged over .500 against both the split-finger and cutter. Odorizzi’s cutter was so ineffective that he hardly used in the second half of the season. When a pitcher can’t use all his options and must rely on his average 89 mph fastball to bail him out, that spells problems.
Now let’s compare his poor 2021 season with his 2019 season with Minnesota Twins where he was named an All-Star. That season both his split-finger and cutter generated sub .400 opponent slugging, and both were below .240 opponent batting average — those are really good rates.
When those two pitches worked for him, Odorizzi got guys to routinely chase out of the zone, got ahead of the count more often and could generate those soft contact outs. I suspect Odorizzi will regain a little bit of form on these two key pitches, which will ultimately make him a more effective in getting easy outs.