All's Wells That Involves Randy
Y'all can thank Guest for this update--dude's got a point. Even without Kurt, the show must go on!
Having said that, let's take a look at some of the numbers behind a most improbable start from a young Cubs pitcher.
As was discussed in the Recap after it happened, Randy Wells has had an incredible start to his career with the Cubs. After his start against the Astros on Saturday, Wells has thrown 15.1 scoreless innings to begin his time with Chicago.
I bet at least one of you might be thinking to yourself, "Hey, wait! Stop! Jinx alert! Ahh! AHHHH!!!" To that I say, I guess you're right. Maybe if no one writes about this streak ever, then it'll be kept intact all season.
Unfortunately, I kinda really doubt that. So let's talk about it. What has Randy done to keep opponents from scoring?
As you can see from his Fangraphs page, Wells has done a lot of things right. He's thrown first-pitch-strikes to almost two out of every three batters he's faced (exactly 63.3%, compared to a 57.6% league average). He's also been able to force hitters to hit a lot of ground balls; 63.3% of balls in play have been ground outs for Randy. While I don't have a league average for you on that value, you may want to look at Derek Lowe, a sinkerballer, for comparison. Over the course of his career, Lowe has a ground ball rate of about 64%.
All these ground balls have translated to success for Randy. He's been getting double plays, and limiting opposing hitters to singles. In fact, as I also noted in his previous Recap, Wells has allowed just one extra base hit thus far this season, a double to the menacing Jason Kendall.
While throwing strikes and getting ground balls are useful skills, they're not gonna get Randy a 0.00 ERA for the entire 2009 season. On the other hand, when Big Z returns from his DL stint, perhaps we'll have another useful right-hander available to Lou, either in the bullpen or the rotation.
Or maybe... he's trade bait?