Reds pitcher Connor Overton is having success without lighting up the radar gun

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Connor Overton.
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Connor Overton. / Justin K. Aller/GettyImages

Connor Overton got his first major league win last night against his old club. The right-hander went 6.1 innings, recording the Cincinnati Reds first quality start of the 2022 season, and David Bell's relief corps pitched a shutout. The Reds defeated the Pittsburgh Pirates 4-0.

But when you breakdown Overton's start, you'll see that never even eclipsed 93 mph. According to Baseball Savant, Overton's fastest pitch was 92.7 mph and his four-seam fastball averaged just 91.5 mph.

That's a sharp contrast from the up-and-coming Hunter Greene who's been throwing darts to home plate at upwards of 100 mph. While Overton's heater will never be confused for Greene's, the former Pirates hurler has kept the ball in the yard; something the young phenom has failed to do thus far.

Reds RHP Connor Overton is having success with an overly-impressive fastball.

Connor Overton has an ERA of 1.59 but an xERA of 4.90 according to FanGraphs. His FIP is sitting at 3.24 while Overton's xFIP is 4.41. In short, Overton may be more lucky than good. Theoretically, FIP and xFIP take the defense out of the equation. Per FanGraphs, those two statistics focus more on strikeouts, walks, and home runs; stats that the pitcher alone is responsible for.

But I don't think we should so quickly dismiss what Overton is doing as lucky. No, he's not striking out a lot of opposing batters, but the difference between his Triple-A statistics and what he's done so far in the majors are vastly different. I'm curious if eventually those numbers will start to look similar.

Overton had a 29.7% strikeout-rate in 19 innings at Triple-A Louisville earlier this season, but his strikeout-rate with the Cincinnati Reds is just 12.9%. During his entire minor league career, Overton has owned a strikeout-rate of 20.5%.

Connor Overton has a six-pitch mix and while his repertoire is dominated dominated by a fastball/ curveball/ sinker combination, the right-hander is not afraid to throw his changeup, slider, or even a cutter.

What Overton is doing is pretty remarkable considering he's doing so without the benefit of a 95-plus mph fastball. But as The Cowboy Jeff Brantley would say, "It's called pitching, not throwing."

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