Gordon pointed out this article on James Paxton as "Air Traffic Controller."
When batters did manage to get the ball into the air against him, their results were pathetic: 85 MPH average velocity ... only 26% hit hard ... a miniscule 5% "barrels" (good velo plus good launch angle). This being All. Year. Long. Each one of those stats is #1 among MLB starters, as are other stats like "average distance" and "average wOBA." The fact is that when batters lifted the ball against Paxton, they simply lifted worse fly balls than against anybody else up to and including Clayton Kershaw.
That's not even to speak to the fact that hitters COULDN'T lift the ball against Paxton in the first place. He had a 1.37 ground ball ratio.
And it's not even to speak tot he fact that they couldn't PUT THE BALL IN PLAY against him. He had a 10.32 strikeout ratio.
And I'm here to tell you, gentlemen, that we have seen nowhere near James Paxton's best. His control will improve, his changeup will improve, his ability to throw his yakker for strike will most certainly improve ... and half the time he pitched in 2017, he was trying to get back in synch from the DL.
Sodo Mojo, one of the best Seattle websites, posted this article emphasizing Brittany Arrieta's twittering about the Arrietas "exploring" the city of Seattle.
Okay, no cheering in the press box you say? Two can play that game.
1) "Seattle's a great vacation spot generally." (?? - like who was the last sports celebrity to spend the winter "exploring" Seattle?! - Dr. D)
2) Arrieta is nowhere near as good as he was 2-3 years ago.
3) Scott Boras is going to want somebody to pay Arrieta as if he WAS.
4) Two words: Jerry Dipoto.
In 2015, Arrieta parlayed a 95 MPH worm-burner and a Lackey-deep arsenal of secondary shtick into --- > a 22-6, 1.77 season that was every inch as solid under the surface as at it.
In 2017, Arrieta was down to 92 MPH (albeit with the same Felix-like backup stuff) and his FIP was up from 2.35 to 4.16. His WAR was down from 7.3 to 2.4. And both seasons were achieved in front of a terrific Cubs infield that matched his grounder ratio beautifully. On the other hand, this (mortal) incarnation of Arrieta's weakness is to give up a dinger now and then, and Safeco is the R/X for that ailment.
All that said, Arrieta is a TOR with the 8+ strikeouts and the 2+ walks to go with it. Very, VERY important is the fact that his velocity was rising in September; if a guy's sucking wind at the end of the season GM's get very, very nervous.
We know, we know. Arrieta's a pipe dream and there's no cheering in the press box. Funny, though, that the Arrietas are hanging around Marinertown. :- )
Here is Part 2 of SodoMojo's shtick on Arrieta. Hey, slow news week, right? What harm can a quick read do?
SodoMojo also did this piece on Timmy. If you're behind the curve on this story, click the link --- > for the picture alone. Slap me silly. The kid put down the doobs and picked up the rubber powerbands.
Once in a while, a pitcher stops pitching for a year or two and the arm simply bounces back. This happened to Bill Swift one year; he'd been out of baseball, wandered out back and tossed the ball against a wall and WOW! His shoulder felt perfect! No, really, that's what happened to Swift. Dr. D fancies that's what happened, a little bit, to Justin Verlander after that light year in 2015.
:: shrug :: It can happen, every now and then. Lincecum was throwing an 87 MPH fastball in 2015-2016, was out of baseball in 2017, and if he can now throw 91 MPH then major league GM's will know about it. So will major league hitters, because when he has an average fastball the man is a very good pitcher.