Blue Jays Opposing Pitcher Report: Andrew Triggs

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 06: Andrew Triggs #60 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on May 6, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - MAY 06: Andrew Triggs #60 of the Oakland Athletics pitches against the Baltimore Orioles during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum on May 6, 2018 in Oakland, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

Thursday, May 17, the Blue Jays begin a tough four-game weekend series against the Oakland Athletics. Andrew Triggs will climb the mound first for the Athletics and Aaron Sanchez will start for the Blue Jays.

Andrew Triggs was drafted in the 19th round by the Kansas City Royals. Originally a bullpen arm, Triggs became a starting pitcher for the Athletics last year. Interestingly, Triggs made just one start in his minor league career, in 2014 for the Royals AA-affiliate—he also completed 19 saves in 2014.

Last year Triggs was just slightly below league average. This year, though, the right-hander has struggled through eight starts. Through 39 innings pitched, the righty has posted a 3-1 record, 5.31 ERA, 1.333 WHIP, and 80 ERA+. In his last start, Triggs allowed six earned runs, six hits, and three home runs over 4 1/3 innings.

Triggs features a sinker, curveball, slider, change-up, and fastball. Despite offering a wide range of pitches, the Oakland starter alternates between the sinker, curveball, and slider, primarily.

Triggs uses his sinker 42% of the time, the most of all of his pitches. The sinker averages a velocity around 90 mph. The sinker is quite a worm killer, producing groundballs on 56.25% of balls in play. However, many of these ground balls have found holes, as shown by the .320 BA opponents hold against the sinker. Encouragingly for the Blue Jays, the righty’s favourite pitch has also allowed a high SLGA of .520.

Triggs throws his hook 23.2% of the time. The curve is quite slow, maintaining an average velocity of around 76 mph, but, it produces some good sweeping glove side action. As a result of this movement, Triggs creates a good amount of swing-and-miss against the curve. The righty’s curveball has produced whiffs on 45.31% of swings. The curveball is the strikeout pitch of choice from Triggs, this season; across his 42 strikeouts this year, the hook has been the finishing pitch 55% of the time (the next closest pitch in producing strikeouts, the sinker, has finished strikeouts just 24% of the time).

Triggs breaks off sliders 20.6% of the time. The slider holds an average velocity of 84.14 mph and is used to produce ground balls. In fact, the slider has produced ground balls on 50% of balls in play this year.

Triggs has mixed in a change-up 7.3% of the time this year. The change, used very sparingly, is used to induce fly balls. This season, the change has produced fly balls on 37.5% of balls in play, just behind the curveball, which produces fly balls on 41.67% of balls in play.

Finally, the right-hander uses a fastball 6.6% of the time. The fastball is quite slow, averaging a velocity of 89.98 mph. The heater has produced two strikeouts, two walks, a hit-by-pitch, and no balls in play.

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In total, the righty’s offerings have resulted in ground balls 47.2%, and fly balls 38%, of the time. As well, he has been good at producing strikeouts, with a 24.6% K-rate and 9.69 K/9. Despite excelling in these areas, hard contact has victimized the Nashville native, this year.

Triggs has produced soft contact just 16.4% of the time and hard contact 40% of the time this season. As well, batters pull the ball 43.6% of the time off the right-hander—likely as a result of his slow velocity. These numbers have accumulated in seven home runs in eight starts and a poor HR/9 of 1.62.

Triggs has also struggled with the base on balls this year. Currently, his BB% is at a below average 9.4% and his BB/9, 3.69, is below average for major league pitchers.

Only Josh Donaldson and Russell Martin have experience facing Triggs. Donaldson has a hit in one at-bat and Martin has a walk in one plate appearance. The sinker shouldn’t be too hard to time-up, but with limited experience, the curveball could be devastating.

Next: Blue Jays’ Troy Tulowitzki progressing toward a return

The Blue Jays look to build off the momentum they started in New York by gaining a victory Thursday night at the Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays have the advantage in the first two pitching match-ups, but the Athletics take the advantage for the final two. Therefore, an early win is integral for a series victory.