Reason No.1 for Jorge Alcala’s Minnesota Twins Breakout Year: An Outstanding Pitch Mix
His really steady pitch mix doesn’t hurt either. Last season, Alcala heavily featured only two pitches: a fastball and a slider, with the two combining for 91.1% of the 403 pitches he threw last season. He did offer a third option at times, throwing his decent changeup 8.9% of the time.
The slider is Alcala’s main put-away pitch. He generated an xBA of just .192 on the pitch, and a 38.9% whiff percentage. He featured it more heavily to right-handed batters, throwing it 111 times against righties, compared to 69 times to left-handed hitters.
The heater was his most-thrown pitch, but not by much (187 fastballs, 180 sliders). Alcala features a big fastball, and averaged 96.9 mph with it in 2020. He is known as a real flamethrower, and has reached triple digits with the pitch in the past.
Batters did absolutely destroy his fastball though, hitting .333 with an xSLG of .497 off the pitch. He also allowed an average exit velocity of 90.9 mph off his No. 1, which is dangerously high for any pitch.
Despite the changeup not being a go-to pitch, it was typically to left-handed hitters, and with great effect. Southpaws were just 1/8 off the changeup, with 3 strikeouts. This is a small sample size, particularly when referencing the changeup, but nobody can deny how strong Alcala looked during the 2020 campaign.