Remaining Free Agent Groundballers

With Aaron Cook and his 57% career groundball rate now off the free agent market, it's a good time to have a look at some available hurlers who have a habit of keeping the ball on the infield.

There's no official distinction for what makes one a groundballer, of course, but the average MLB pitcher induces grounders about 44% of the time. So, we're looking at guys who clock in above that rate for their career and who logged at least 100 innings in 2011.

  1. Paul Maholm – 52.3%. He's not spectacular by any stretch but is reliable and should find a home as someone's No. 4 or 5 starter. 
  2. Joel Pineiro – 49.2%. His 60.5% rate as a Cardinal in 2009 looks like an outlier, but whoever signs him will hope he can recapture that form.
  3. Hiroki Kuroda – 48.6%. His career average would be higher were it not for a big dip in 2011 – down to 43.2%. Is that noise, or a change in profile for an aging pitcher who's battled injuries?
  4. Roy Oswalt – 47.3%. He hovered around 50% during his prime but seems to have settled in close to league average the past couple years. I wonder if his back troubles have been a factor.

As you can see, most of the extreme groundballers (50% or more) are off the market. Edwin Jackson, the prize of the remaining class, has had some pretty notable swings in groundball rate from year to year, which is Edwin Jackson in a nutshell.