Oh Goody: the quiet value of Nick Goody

The Cleveland Indians roster has been in flux early in the 2017 season with injuries driving significant volatility among the back end roster spots. Yet, Nick Goody, a pitcher who did not break camp with the team, already looks entrenched in the Francona bullpen in early May.

Goody has a similar entry leverage index to Boone Logan and higher entry leverage index than McAllister, Armstrong, and Dan Otero.1 Goody has quickly become a favorite of the venerable Cleveland manager. He is sixth among all Indians pitchers in win probability added (WPA). In a simpler sense, Goody has shown strong command striking out roughly nine per nine innings and limiting free passes, which leads to good outcomes like a 0.00 ERA in 11.1 innings pitched.

Goody has a few strengths like sneaky high strikeout rates and the capacity to induce soft or inefficient contact. Beyond strikeouts, infield fly balls are a golden commodity for pitchers with their outcome being almost certain conversion into an out without allowing baserunners to advance. Throughout his development, Goody has shown an ability to induce infield fly balls at a high rate which has born itself out 2017. This limited value contact, the solid strikeout rate, and limited WHIP driven by an above average walk rate makes for the components of a rock solid reliever.

Goody has a pretty simple arsenal. Mainly a fastball-slider combination with an occasional changeup to left-handed hitters. Interestingly, for a pitcher with traditionally high strikeout rates, Goody’s fastball is not overpowering sitting at 91 miles per hour, and topping out at 93-94 miles per hour.  Goody rides the fastball at the middle and top of the strike zone.

Courtesy of Brooks Baseball

While there is a traditional notion that pitching up in the strike zone has costs, Goody has success leveraging fastball velocity up.

Courtesy of Brooks Baseball

For Goody, he counters his fastball up in the zone with a slider that is an above average offering. Goody induces phenomenal swing and miss; partially because of a quality slider but more because he has phenomenal command. Goody is constantly changing eye levels and rarely leaves his slider in the strike zone let alone a quadrant where it can be driven with authority.

Courtesy of Fangraphs

Goody consistently burying an above-average offering below the plate has come with outstanding results.

Courtesy of Brooks Baseball

Goody has an interesting delivery which might be a reason his fastball plays up in terms deception. Goody does a brief turn of his front shoulder which hides the baseball as well as an elongated drag.  Goody’s ability to hide the baseball by keeping his front side closed while retaining above average command is a strong pairing, which plays up the deceptiveness of his two-pitch combination.

While outcomes have been imperfect in the early going be it Salazar, Bauer, Kluber, Guyer or list any other early frustration, the Indians have found a sneaky bargain in Goody who works to deepen an already elite bullpen.  One part of this Indians season is that they will be leaning on a deep bullpen to cover the depth issues of a thin rotation. Having Goody, McAllister, and Logan being able to tie the middle innings until Shaw, Miller, and Allen allows Francona to be far more aggressive in removing starters before they reach the dreaded third time through the order.

In Goody, the Indians have another bargain they can leverage.

  1. Leverage index is a good way of evaluating the circumstances in which a pitcher is being used, the higher the leverage, the more the manager trusts the reliever []