Chicago Cubs: A reunion with Jake Arrieta is a must
Arrieta was a bit unlucky in 2017
People tend to stay away from talking about luck when proving the worth and skill set of a player. However, I think it’s important to note that there is a certain luck factor that comes along with the game of baseball. For that reason, let’s look at plate discipline for batters against Arrieta in 2017.
In 2017, 27.9% of the pitches Arrieta threw outside of the strike zone were swung at. That number was the lowest mark of Arrieta’s career and could be a sign of increasing batter patience. Let’s dig a little further.
If you look at the overall swing percentage, you would find it down from 45.3% in 2016 to 43.7% in 2017. Along with that, only 61% of pitches Arrieta threw in the strike zone were swung at, down from 65% a year ago.
While Arrieta saw a decrease in the number of swings against his pitches in 2017, he saw an increased amount of contact, both inside and outside the strike zone. On pitches thrown out of the strike zone, batters made contact 67% of the time, spiking from 60.6% in 2016. While the percentage of chase contact increased rather heavily, contact on pitches inside the zone increased less than one percentage point from 2016 to 2017.
There is no doubt Arrieta is one of the wilder pitchers in baseball. In 2017, he tossed 14 wild pitches and hit ten batters. That wildness could account of the decrease in chase swings.
However, that seven percent increase in contact on balls outside the strike zone has me wondering if Arrieta suffered from a touch of bad luck in 2017.