Last season the pitcher who induced groundballs at the highest rate in the Major Leagues was Dallas Keuchel of Houston (67.1%). I mention that simply to establish a benchmark. In general, I think we can call a groundball rate over 50% to be pretty good.
Keep in mind as well that a groundball is almost always a win for the pitcher. In general, a pitcher can’t control what happens once a ball is hit into play. If the outfielder misplays an easy out into a double without committing an error, that shows up on the stat sheet for the pitcher. That’s baseball. But what the pitcher can do, other than strike everyone out, is induce groundballs. Groundballs are rarely extra base hits and almost never homers. The ability to get grounders is a very good thing to have.
Among those pitchers with at least 30 innings in the minors, there are quite a few Cubs appearing high on the GB% leaderboard. In Iowa, it is Seth Frankoff (54.2%), who currently ranks sixth in the PCL. Interestingly, the Mariners have the top three on that leaderboard.
Three Cubs rank in the Top 6 in the Carolina League, starting with Casey Bloomquist (56.6%) in third. The other two are pitching prospect you should know about: Justin Steele (55.8%) in fourth and Tom Hatch (55.3%) in sixth.
And then we have the Midwest League. The South Bend Cubs have the best pitcher in the league by ground ball rate: Bryan Hudson (62.1%).
I don’t think it is accident that the Cubs are consistently placing guys at or near the top of that particular leaderboard. It is a deliberate combination of scouting and coaching that is doing it, and it is a philosophy that I think we will see yet again in the draft in a couple weeks.
- Aaron Brooks: 7 IP, 5 R, 9 H, 6 K
- Pierce Johnson: 1 IP, 2 R, 3 H, 1 BB
- Jeimer Candelario: 1 for 3, 2B, BB
- Taylor Davis: 1 for 2, 2 BB
- Chris Dominguez: 1 for 4, 2B
- Bijan Rademacher: 1 for 1, 2B
- Preston Morrison: 6 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 3 BB, 8 K
- James Pugliese: 1 IP, 1 H, 2 K
- Jeffrey Baez: 1 for 3, HR, BB
- Yasiel Balaguert: 1 for 3, 2B, BB
- Jacob Hannemann: 2 for 3, 2 2B, BB
- Ryan Kellogg: 5.2 IP, 4 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 4 K
- Marc Huberman: 1 IP, 1 BB, 1 K
- Andruw Monasterio: 1 for 3, 2B
- Daniel Spingola: 1 for 3, 3B
Low A: South Bend Cubs
The Cubs were rained out.
- Since returning to the Iowa Cubs, Candelario has hit for extra bases in six of the eight games he has played, including three homers. Eventually he’ll get the call to majors in a situation that affords him some consistent playing time, and I suspect he’ll do pretty well when that day comes.