Pavlidis: The evolution of Cubs starter Jake Arrieta

From SABR member Harry Pavlidis at Baseball Prospectus on July 9, 2014:

Cubs starter Jake Arrieta recently flirted with no-hitters (and perfection) in back-to-back outings. Unsurprisingly, this drew him some well-deserved attention, including mine.

The Orioles drafted Arrieta in the fifth round of the 2007 draft, and for years, the righty flustered Birds fans, showing off a mid-90s heater and a knee-buckling curve but delivering unimpressive results. The Cubs acquired Arrieta for Scott Feldman as the 2013 O’s were pushing for a playoff spot; fast-forward to this season, and suddenly Arrieta is arguably the Cubs’ no. 1 starter (admittedly, perhaps a dubious distinction at this point). What’s so different about the current Arrieta compared to the Baltimore model?

For one, his slider has emerged as a big weapon, giving him a third plus pitch. Power pitchers don’t need to be fancy with their changeups, so Arrieta is a legitimate four-pitch threat.

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Originally published: July 9, 2014. Last Updated: July 9, 2014.