While looking into some background following Michael’s write-up on the Cubs being interested in Brandon Morrow and Mike Minor for the back end of their bullpen, I stumbled on some alarming numbers I thought you might enjoy. Well, you might enjoy being horrified by anyway.
In MLB this year, there were 192 relievers who accumulated at least 40.0 innings in that capacity. Among them …
- Koji Uehara was the best Cub. Although his 6.7% walk rate was better than average (9.2%), it was also ranked 42nd in baseball. Not a single Cubs reliever had a walk rate among the top 41 rates in baseball.
- Mike Minor was 57th, at 7.2%. Brandon Morrow was 16th, at 5.3%.
- In the bottom eight – like, the final eight spots among all 192 relievers in baseball – there were THREE(!) Cubs:
- Mike Montgomery, as a reliever, had a frightening 13.4% walk rate.
- Carl Edwards Jr., for all his dominating stuff, was even scarier at 14.5%, 5th worst in all of baseball.
- And then there’s Justin Wilson, whose 10.2% walk rate with the Tigers wouldn’t be so bad … but it was 20.9% with the Cubs! If that were his season mark, it would have been the single worst figure in all of baseball. As it was, even combined with the much lower Tigers number in a much larger sample, it was bad enough to spike his walk rate on the year to an unacceptable 14.1%.
- Pedro Strop wasn’t that much better, as his 10.4% walk rate was 144th in baseball. And that’s the best returning walk rate in the bullpen as currently constructed!
So, uh, yeah, the Cubs are targeting pitchers who throw strikes.