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Newfound Control

Let's take a look at the starting pitchers who have improved their control the most in 2009.  The number represents the reduction in the pitcher's walk rate from '08 to '09.

  1. Barry Zito - 1.62
  2. Justin Verlander - 1.30
  3. Joel Pineiro - 1.21
  4. Ubaldo Jimenez - 1.14
  5. Tim Lincecum - 1.02
  6. Ted Lilly - 0.91
  7. Jason Marquis - 0.90
  8. John Lannan - 0.90
  9. Edwin Jackson - 0.87
  10. Felix Hernandez - 0.80
  11. Javier Vazquez - 0.79
  12. Jarrod Washburn - 0.69
  13. Zack Greinke - 0.63
  14. Kevin Correia - 0.57
  15. Jorge de la Rosa - 0.55
  16. Matt Cain - 0.51
  17. Johnny Cueto - 0.43
  18. Scott Feldman - 0.39
  19. Dan Haren - 0.38
  20. Mark Buehrle - 0.37

Aside from Buehrle, every pitcher on this Top 20 list reduced his ERA as well.  So the question is: how can we detect these improvements early and pounce on those who improve their control in 2010?  The pitcher's April walk rate improvement could be a sign, as it was with Zito, Verlander, Lannan, Cueto, Jackson, and others on this list.  But it didn't play out for others like de la Rosa, Marquis, and Feldman, so consider this just a theory.  Besides, some of these pitchers were never waiver bait, so they'd have to have been draft day pickups.


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