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Drabek has also changed how he uses his curve. Ponder these metrics from Drabek's 2010 starts compared to 2011:
|#||Zone Rate||Swing Rate||Chase Rate||Watch Rate|
The sample size is small, but a trend is pretty clear - Drabek is throwing more curveballs over the plate than last year and is able to pick up more called strikes. Also of note is that his curve averaged 84 mph last year and is only at 81 this year. It looks like it's also getting some more vertical "drop," but I won't say too much on that before working out the calibration issues at Rogers Centre (they've been pretty severe, sometimes off by more than five inches).
Drabek's curve is by far his best pitch in terms of run values (both expected and actual), and since last year has garnered a swinging strike on 59% of swings (that kind of number would be up at the top of the league over a full season, but we only have a sample of 39 swings). He seems to be pitching to contact more this year by throwing a much higher percentage of cut fastballs, but it's always good to have a power curve at your disposal when you want to use it.