A sharp eye will reveal a possible sleeper heading into the 2013 MLB Season: Baltimore’s Jake Arrieta.
Looking at his peripherals, (8.0 K/9, 3.5 BB/9, 1.1 HR/9, 15% HR/FB, .330 BABIP, and 58% strand rate) it’s easy to cast off Arrieta as another Ricky Nolasco. If someone wanted to make that argument, it would be tough to disagree since Arrieta has failed to reach his xFIP or xERA (FanGraphs and Baseball HQ metrics respectfully) in each of his past two seasons.
However, Arrieta’s loss of a starting gig last year seems to have come without merit. After looking through his Brooks Baseball player card, it is apparent that his trouble pitch right now seems to be his slider.
Arrieta’s slider had a HR/(FB+LD)% increase of 14% over last season, which is a big culprit for his HR troubles. In 2011, his BA/Slugging/Isolated Power/TAv – True Average slash on the slider was .217/.325/.108/.217! In 2012, that slash line was an incredibly ugly .273/.655/.382/.315!!!
The seeds for improvement with ...