Chicago Cubs: How Jake Arrieta can improve his game (hopefully)
Everything said here will obviously be so much easier said than done. To put it a simple as possible, Arrieta will need to get more balls on the ground and give up less hard contact.
Well duh. Super easy right?
Commanding the sinker and getting less balls barreled up is going to require adjustments we as fans cannot necessarily coach. Walks are probably not going to just go away with him, he has been consistently an 8-10 percent walk rate pitcher going back to 2016. The walks can hurt less when more balls are put in play via weak contact and on the ground. Considering his groundball rate is well off what he has done virtually every year since 2014, feels like there is hope he can get better and even out as time goes on.
Reality could very well be that he just will be a “so-so” pitcher the rest of the way. The past few years do not say things are trending in his favor, and again he is 35 so he is in that twilight era of his playing career. In spring training we saw solid outings in the box score, but a lot of hard contact against. Everyone knew his best days were behind him, including himself as he has tried to adjust, it is just a matter of what is actually left. There just might not be much, but hopefully, there is something he can find.
He is going to have days where he pitches decent, he will have days where he is getting barreled and he will have days where he gets barreled and might get a little lucky. All we can hope for is that he can put a nice string of starts together that are of the “solid” variety and maybe build a bit more confidence back up…not to say he lacks any confidence.