Jeff Niemann of the Tampa Bay Rays allowed a .258 OBP since the All-Star break. That ranks in the 96th percentile among pitchers. It represents a huge improvement from his first half. Before the break, Niemann's OBP came in at .335, 30th percentile.
Jeff accomplished this with a double whammy on batters. He's throwing a higher percentage of his pitches in the strike zone, and getting batters to chase more pitches outside the zone:
|Niemann||First Half||Second Half|
|In Zone %||49.4%||52.1%|
That doesn't seem like much, but a particular pitch really made the difference. Jeff's change up tended to miss the zone in the first half of the season:
His change up was in the zone 30% of the time and batters would chase it 21.4% of the time. That changed in the second half:
Now Niemann hits the strike zone 45% of the time with the pitch and batters chase it 30.9% of the time. With the improved accuracy comes more use as well. Jeff threw the pitch 4.7% of the time in the first half, 10.2% in the second half. His first half ERA of 4.53 dropped to 2.98 since the break. One pitch can make quite a difference.