Originally written on Fangraphs  |  Last updated 11/17/14
The Brewers aren’t sure that they want to go to three years for Ryan Dempster, but they do need a pitcher now that Sean Marcum is seeing other teams. There are good reasons to like him — a few changes he’s made in his approach have seem to stuck — and there is one main reason to worry about giving him too many years. From 2009 to 2012, Dempster has had an 8.5% walk rate, which is pretty much average. That average walk rate has made him an above-average starter, because he can get whiffs and usually has an average ground-ball rate. But in the first ten years of his career, he had a 11.1% unintentional walk rate. The peripheral best associated with walk rate is first strike percentage. In his first ten years, Dempster was better than average in that category only once — in his last four years he has not been below average once. So that’s a change that has been good to Dempster, and looks sustainable. Dempster has also stayed true to himself over the years, and that may be concerning to teams looking at him for a multi-year deal. Ryan Dempster has thrown the fifth-most sliders in baseball since 2009. He’s basically thrown the slide piece a third of the time over his entire career. Even as his pitching mix has changed around the pitch — maybe he’s thrown more cutters and splitters and fewer changes, or maybe the classifications have changed — he’s featured the slider as his best secondary pitch. The pitch has remained effective, counting as a negative only twice in his eleven-year career, and it’s certainly led to his above-average swinging strike and strikeout rates over the years. But Dempster is going to be 36 next season, and that’s a lot of sliders on his arm. The work isn’t perfect, but there seems to be some evidence that sliders can be tough on arms and lead to more injuries. Last year he strained his shoulder — the first time he missed significant time with an arm/shoulder thing since Tommy John surgery in 2004, but still an injury. The Brewers are rumored to be balking at adding a third year to the deal, and it might be for good reason. The Angels were once in on Dempster, but with the pitcher looking for three years, their interest has waned. The thing that has changed — Dempster’s first-strike approach — bodes well for Dempster to keep up his newly found league-average control. But it’s the thing that has remained the same — Dempster’s reliance on the slider — that may make his age a big deal.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Nick Diaz apologizes to fans for skipping open workout

NFLPA President compares Goodell to a 2-year-old

NFL explains how Super Bowl balls will be prepped

Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao close to deal for fight

TJ Lang: Suh wanted to fight me after stepping on Aaron Rodgers

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Aaron Hernandez jurors allowed to watch Super Bowl

Tiger misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Rex Ryan: Seahawks need to ‘take the air out of the football’

J.J. Watt buys cabin in the middle of nowhere to train

Six teams have done background work on Peterson

NBA set to earn $700M through streaming deal in China

WATCH: WVU player flips opponent the double-bird

Five NFL players who could be cap casualties in 2015

Making the case for NFL co-MVPs

WATCH: Tom Brady sings about balls being deflated

WATCH: Bruce Pearl gets warm reception in Tennessee return

WATCH: Serena Williams loses point for yelling "come on!"

Report: Missy Elliott joining Katy Perry for halftime show

WATCH: Jimmy Butler throws down half-court alley-oop

President Obama zings Patriots over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's Player Of The Year candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots-Seahawks

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Five likely cap casualties of 2015

Making the case for NFL co-MVPs

WATCH: Tom Brady sings about balls

Missy Elliott to join Katy Perry at SB?

Obama zings Pats over Deflate-gate

Each major conference's POY candidates

Super Bowl XLIX preview and predictions: Patriots vs. Seahawks

The 13 things we want to see in Super Bowl XLIX

49 Stops to Super Bowl XLIX

Tiger Woods, misses cut: ‘I’m only doing this so I won’t get fined’

Ranking the repeat SB champions

Roger Goodell grilled on Deflategate

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.