Chicago Cubs: Will Jake Arrieta continue to dominate on the mound in 2016?
If we were to decide who was the Most Valuable Player for the Chicago Cubs in 2015, I’m 110% positive that we would all have to agree on the N.L. Cy Young winner, Jake Arrieta. He emerged as the true ace despite Jon Lester signing with the Cubs and helped them rack up 97 wins.
Sure, Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant hammered opposing pitchers, but Arrieta turned in a fantastic campaign.
And you can’t help but notice the two men he was going head-to-head with when it came to that category. You have Zack Greinke, who now plays for the Arizona Diamondbacks and his former teammate, Clayton Kershaw.
Both men are expected to sit at the top of the league in both strikeouts, earned run average, etc. But how will Arrieta perform in 2016? That’s one question that stands out and won’t be answered until he takes the mound in Los Angeles.
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The Angels are no pushover as they currently have two of the best players in outfielder Mike Trout and former St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols. He’ll need to be sharp during that series to prove he’s for real.
But while some believe he’ll continue to dominate on the mound, others are worried that he’ll flop, proving that he was nothing but a one season stand out. Just for the record, I don’t believe he’ll struggle this season.
Before he was traded to the Chicago Cubs, Arrieta’s best-earned run average was only 4.66 while his worst was a little over seven. That ranges from when he debuted in 2010 up until he was shipped to the North Side in 2013 where he quickly improved on the bump.
As time went on, the soon-to-be 30-year-old right-hander settled in and showed the Baltimore Orioles what they had passed up on. The same went for Pedro Strop, who was a part of the same package deal that included Arrieta.
Following the regular season and solid work against the Pittsburgh Pirates to claim the N.L. Wild Card, Jake appeared to be running out of gas. Which is understandable considering how well he pitched over the course of 33 starts and 229 innings.
"“It’s just kind of the unknown. Not having gone over 200 innings before in my career…it is a significant jump. Regardless of how you prepare and how good a shape you’re in, there are certain things that are difficult to prepare for. But having that workload already under my belt, I think moving forward I’m going to be very capable of handling it.” – Arrieta via CSN Chicago"
The Cardinals and New York Mets tagged him for a combined eight runs on nine hits including two home runs. The only plus side of the two performances is that he defeated the Cardinals and posted a 17/4 K/BB ratio.
And then things got a little bit messy when he filed for arbitration. A deal between the two is still yet to be agreed upon as the previous number was around $13 million for the upcoming season.
Hearings will be scheduled throughout February but hopefully, something will get done before pitchers and catchers report to Mesa, Arizona 15 days from today.