4) Improved Control
Typically, baseball insiders talk about “command” and “control”. The two terms aren’t exactly the same thing. Control is a pitcher’s ability to throw strikes, which is reflected by his walk rate. Command is the ability for a pitcher to put the ball exactly where he wants it. Command is much more precise than control, since you can get the ball over the plate regularly without an exact location.
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What’s really improved is Danny Duffy’s control in that he’s much more confident in throwing strikes with his harder heat.
We can see the results in his walk rate which is a career best 5.2%, down from a career mark of 9.3%. That’s a massive improvement, driven by the fact that Danny Duffy is typically getting ahead in counts, rather than pitching from behind.
The one downside is that Danny Duffy’s home run percentage has zoomed to 12.2% up from his career rate of 8.7%, but remember that players are hitting home runs at a near-record pace half-way through the 2016 season. Thus, part of that jump is attributable to the league environment rather than Duffy’s increased propensity to throw strikes.
On the upside, because Danny Duffy is getting ahead of hitters, he can use his breaking stuff to its best advantage. Thus, he’s striking out more hitters than ever before. Duffy’s strikeout rate has zoomed to a career-high 28.8% (10.36 K/9) up from his career mark of 20.1% (7.65 K/9).
Next: Reason No. 3