The two pitches that swept the Cardinals offseason acquisitions

For those of you who have a sinking feeling about the team's acquisitions, they are more purposeful than you may think.

Minnesota Twins v St. Louis Cardinals
Minnesota Twins v St. Louis Cardinals / Joe Puetz/GettyImages
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Sinker

The second pitch that appeared to be a focus for the Cardinals in their pitcher acquisitions this offseason was the sinker, a pitch primarily known for inducing groundballs. Sinkers aren't known as strikeout pitches, but they do have decent velocity typically with strong diagonal movement.

Andrew Kittredge and Riley O'Brien both feature a sinker, and both players will likely make the Opening Day roster as relievers. Andrew Kittredge used his sinker 48.4% of the time last year. It had a negative run value (-3), and batters had a .333 batting average against and .428 wOBA last year against his sinker. Historically, his sinker has been his best offering, including in 2021 when he made the All-Star team.

Riley O'Brien has recently revamped his sweeper. Blake Newberry discussed O'Brien's addition to the roster quite well in his piece at VivaElBirdos. O'Brien builds his arsenal around the effectiveness of his sinker. He allows soft contact off the pitch (86.4 MPH exit velocity), and his curveball plays well off of it.

"The pitch sits 95 mph with over 15 inches of arm side run (15.3 inches) and does a fantastic job of keeping the ball on the ground with a whopping 66.7% ground ball rate this year."

Blake Newberry

For a team that has been behind the curve for half a decade on baseball trends both analytically and practically, the Cardinals jumping on pitchers who feature sweepers and sinkers is a big deal. Sonny Gray, in addition to bringing along his sweeper, is working to transform the way the Cardinals' pitching staff operates. In his interview at the Winter Warm-Up, Gray discussed these changes.

"(Mozeliak) would say, "Can you tell me more about that?" So then he went down the pitching department and the people that were here. And I would say, "Well, what about this? Do you have a guy for this and this?" And he said, "No, tell me more about that.""

Sonny Gray

The Cardinals are making big changes to their coaching staff and player personnel this offseason. Hopefully, the team can reap the benefits of these new pitchers who all seem to be connected based on a couple of pitches and a former President of Baseball Operations-turned special advisor, Chaim Bloom.

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