Potential BB% Improvers by Mike Podhorzer April 2, 2012 On Monday, I published the findings of a study that determined spring K% and BB% were actually meaningful for pitchers. On Wednesday, I looked at pitchers whose spring K% were well above what the Steamer projections were expected, while I looked at the other side on Thursday, those pitchers whose spring K% is well below Steamer’s projected season mark. Today I am looking at BB% and will start with the pitchers who have displayed much better control than anticipated. Player IP TBF BB Spring BB% Steamer BB% Diff Chapman, Aroldis 17.0 68 2 2.9% 14.0% -11.1% Samardzija, Jeff 20.0 79 1 1.3% 11.9% -10.7% Laffey, Aaron 20.0 86 1 1.2% 10.4% -9.3% Sale, Chris 24.0 96 2 2.1% 10.8% -8.8% Eveland, Dana 13.0 56 1 1.8% 9.6% -7.8% Morton, Charlie 14.0 66 1 1.5% 9.2% -7.7% Bauer, Trevor 10.0 41 1 2.4% 9.8% -7.3% Nova, Ivan 19.2 84 1 1.2% 8.3% -7.1% Hanson, Tommy 13.0 52 1 1.9% 8.2% -6.3% Richard, Clayton 14.0 69 2 2.9% 9.1% -6.2% TBF is Total Batters Faced Aroldis Chapman– If only baseball organizations made decisions based solely on trying to win the most ballgames, rather than including money into the equation. If the Reds did that, clearly Bronson Arroyo would not be a mainstay in the rotation, and Chapman would finally get his chance. The only thing preventing Chapman from eventually becoming a bonafide ace is his control. Dialing down the velocity has certainly seemed to help with that problem. While it will surely lead to fewer strikeouts, he already induces a ton of ground balls, so some lost Ks won’t be a big deal if it comes with significantly improved control. Jeff Samardzija– In one of the many surprises of the spring, Samardzija has won a rotation spot with the Cubs. He has struggled with his control in the majors and in most of his minor league stops, so this could be the first signs of a breakout. He also throws hard and has sometimes shown good strikeout ability, so the opportunity is there to be worth more than just an NL-Only league play. Chris Sale– I have said all I need to about him, but he’s paired that minuscule walk rate with 22 strikeouts, so he has truly had a fantastic spring. Let’s hope for my reputation and fantasy team’s sake that this continues on into the regular season! Charlie Morton– Once upon a time, I liked Morton. He induced grounders at an above average clip and his stuff seemed better than the pedestrian strikeout rates he was posting. Then he thought he was as good as Roy Halladay last year, changed everything up, and saw his already solid ground ball rate spike, while his control took a dive and he continued to not making batters swing and miss. Better control would go a long way into making him worthy of our attention in mixed leagues. He is coming off hip surgery and will open the season on the DL, but should make his first start soon after opening day. Trevor Bauer– The tiniest sample size of the pitchers on the list, but given his top prospect status and poor control in a limited number of minor league innings, it’s still interesting to see. With only 25.2 career minor league innings to his name, it is pretty amazing to me that he had more than a 0% chance of making the rotation out of spring training. Aside from injuries, an ineffective Josh Collmenter appears to be the best chance for Bauer to eventually get his call this season. Tommy Hanson– With a new delivery, the questions are going to linger as to how effective he will remain. The one walk is good to see, but that comes with just six strikeouts. Small sample size of course, like this entire analysis, but when a player is forced to change the way he plays the game due to an injury, you have to wonder. I am a concerned Braves fan and shied away from Hanson in all my drafts, even though he was going for a reasonable cost.