Jeter signed a 3-year, $17 million dollar deal with a 4th year player option. While Jeter won’t play at a $17 million dollar level for the next three years, he has delivered over years past and is the current face of the team. By the numbers, Jeter holds the following records:
Clayton Kershaw has lightening stuff. His fastball is sick. His slider defies physics. His curveball buckles more knees than Tony Soprano. But he is walking more than 7 batters per game. 7!! So far, he’s been able to strand 86% of runners on base keeping his ERA at 3.13. But if he keeps giving 7 free passes per 9 innings, eventually people will find a way to turn that into something more damaging.
Yovanni Gallardo has incredible stuff. His low 90′s fastball, hard slider, and high 70′s curve helped him lead the minors in strikeouts in 2006, topping 9 K/9 thus far in his major league career. But in 2009 and this year, he has struggled to throw strikes often enough to avoid racking up serious walk figures. This year, he’s leading the majors in missing the strike zone. 63.1% of his pitches thrown to date have been balls driving batters to swing only 36.1% of the time. It’s nearly impossible to reach your true potential if you can’t get the ball over the plate.
Derek Lowe doesn’t have the same stuff as Gallardo, but he’s facing the same fate. 38.1% of his pitches have been strikes this year compared to his 50% career average. Batters are taking notice, only swinging 38.7% of the time. When the normally groundball inducing Lowe does throw strikes, hitters are sitting on the pitch tagging him for 1.21 HR/9, his highest rate since his rookie year.
No matter how good a pitcher’s stuff is, walks will come back to bite him. For these three arms, it’s time to get back to basics.