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Highest Ground-Ball Rates Among 2014 Free Agents

Yesterday, Tim Dierkes took a look at the hardest-throwing pitchers in the upcoming 2014 free agent class. While we're dealing with small sample sizes through the season's first month of course, monitoring trends like that throughout the year can help paint a picture of what the offseason will be like. Here's a look at another desirable trend in free agent hurlers -- ground-ball rate -- with April in the books...

Starters

  1. Jake Westbrook -- 63.1 percent ($9.5MM mutual option)
  2. Jon Garland -- 55.2 percent
  3. Tim Hudson -- 54.6 percent
  4. Jason Marquis -- 54.2 percent
  5. Hiroki Kuroda -- 52.4 percent
  6. Roberto Hernandez -- 52.2 percent
  7. Paul Maholm -- 51.9 percent
  8. Ubaldo Jimenez -- 50.7 percent
  9. Jon Lester -- 49.5 percent ($13MM club option)
  10. Andy Pettitte -- 49.5 percent

Relievers

  1. Scott Downs -- 78.1 percent
  2. J.P. Howell -- 68 percent
  3. Derek Lowe -- 64.3 percent
  4. Matt Lindstrom -- 60.7 percent ($4MM club option)
  5. Eric O'Flaherty -- 60.6 percent
  6. Casey Janssen -- 57.9 percent ($4MM club option)
  7. Chad Qualls -- 57.1 percent
  8. Matt Albers -- 56.5 percent
  9. Scott Atchison -- 52.8 percent
  10. LaTroy Hawkins -- 50 percent

Last offseason, Kuroda was the top ground-ball starter, and Sean Burnett topped the charts for free agent relievers. Both were paid well this offseason, with Kuroda receiving $15MM from the Yankees for one year and Burnett signing a two-year, $8MM with the Angels.

Among this year's group of starters, only Jimenez appears on both lists, though he will need to rediscover some semblance of control to establish much of a market for his services. As far as relievers go, Lindstrom and Albers appear on both lists, though grounders are less emphasized than strikeouts among late-inning arms.


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