WASHINGTON -- The numbers say new Rockies right-handed reliever Pat Neshek, acquired on Wednesday night from the Phillies, brings a combination of strike-throwing and weak contact.Neshek is also much-needed help for closer Greg Holland. Holland, with 31 saves, has a 1.72 ERA. Adam Ottavino has the next-lowest righty ERA at
WASHINGTON -- The numbers say new Rockies right-handed reliever Pat Neshek, acquired on Wednesday night from the Phillies, brings a combination of strike-throwing and weak contact.
Neshek is also much-needed help for closer Greg Holland. Holland, with 31 saves, has a 1.72 ERA. Adam Ottavino has the next-lowest righty ERA at 5.50. Those numbers justified the Neshek deal, which cost the Rockies three Class A players, and most likely makes dealing for another accomplished righty a necessity.
Neshek's traditional numbers -- 1.12 ERA, 45 strikeouts and five walks in 40 1/3 innings -- catch the eye. Since 2012, Neshek has averaged 8.4 strikeouts per nine innings as opposed to 1.9 walks. Statcast™ paints an even more impressive picture:
• Neshek is throwing strikes on 73.4 percent of his pitches. Granted, relievers have fewer chances to miss the strike zone than starters, but that's still the fourth-highest strike rate among those with at least 400 pitches.
• Opponents are hitting .199 against Neshek, and they're actually lucky to be doing that. The expected batting average, which is based on exit velocity and launch angle of balls in play, is .170.
• Hardly any balls are being hit hard. Last year, while pitching for the Astros, just 1.26 percent (nine) of batted balls were considered "barrels" -- or balls with an exit velocity of at least 98 mph. This year, he has dropped that to .50 percent, or just three.
• Neshek possesses one of the best sliders in the Majors. Hitters' weighted on-base average against his slider is .158, which is 10th lowest in the Majors among pitchers who have thrown at least 50. Ninth is Holland at .153.
• Neshek turns 37 on Sept. 4, but his slider seems to be improving. The .158 wOBA on the slider is down from the.176 of last year, which was down from.321 in '15. The slugging percentage against his slider is .218 -- down from.245 in '16 and .483 in '15.
Thomas Harding has covered the Rockies since 2000, and for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb and** like his Facebook page**. [Daniel Kramer **](mailto:daniel.kramer @mlb.com) [Manny Randhawa ](mailto:manny.randhawa @mlb.com) and [Tracy Ringolsby **](mailto:tracy.ringolsby @mlb.com) contributed.