In the buildup to and aftermath of the Trade Deadline, Anthony DeSclafani has quietly posted his two finest starts since April 20—against (arguably) the best team in baseball, no less.

Disco had been mired in mediocrity prior to that, coming off a recent glut of outings where he was very hittable, throwing too many pitches to work deep into ballgames, or both. A seven-inning outing in Colorado (7 H, 3 ER, 3 BB, 9 K) on July 24 did well to break his string of starts in which he failed to stay in the game that long (seven straight of 6.2 IP or less from June 9-July 18) and since he’s shone in two straight starts facing St. Louis. Combined, he threw 13 innings, allowing 10 hits and just three walks (a 1.00 WHIP) while notching 12 strikeouts.

He’s been mostly a four-seamer/slider pitcher after scrapping his curveball for the most part (he still throws it sparingly), but this season DeSclafani has gradually utilized his two-seam fastball more and more. It’s a very useful pitch, with its arm-side run complimenting his slider and rather straight four-seamer quite well, and even more useful for shoring up one of Disco’s weaknesses—facing left-handed hitters.

Disco LHH pitchesObviously, that spike in August is the result of a single start in which DeSclafani leaned heavily on the two-seamer, but he started employing it more in his July 29 start against the Cardinals.

Here’s his pitch chart for July 29, split by batter handedness, with the pitches righty hitters saw in the first frame (look for the cluster of sliders on the lower right-hand side of the chart):

Disco 7-29

And here’s August 4:

Disco 8-4

Two things you can immediately see. First, you can see the difference in his game plans—namely, sliders low and away to righties set up by his other offerings inside and plenty of two-seamers to lefties, either coming back over the plate from the inside corner to freeze them or (more so in the August 4 start) starting middle-in and tailing away to induce whiffs or weak contact. Second, he’s gaining better command with his two-seamer and is now more comfortable throwing it to both sides of the plate. That second conclusion isn’t exactly manifest from just two starts, but his month-to-month tendencies back this up (with the exception of July, when he didn’t use the pitch much early in the month):

Disco two-seam

Getting left-handed hitters to swing and miss has been a bit of a stumbling block for DeSclafani, but it wasn’t in his last start:

Disco swing-whiff

And when he’s able to crank up the two-seam fastball up around his four-seamer’s velocity (92-94), he can fool both lefties and righties with it:




The diversification and improvement of Anthony DeSclafani’s repertoire was likely the game plan for him all season. Seeing him reprioritize his pitch selections is an encouraging sign, as he’s learning how to prepare for teams and tailor his arsenal to what is likely to keep opposing hitters off-balance. Using the two-seamer isn’t the only solution, but it’s an awfully good one with that slider Disco possesses. If his changeup can improve similarly, he’ll have a lot of job security even with all the young pitchers coming up now through the farm system.