Over the past couple of weeks, I have wanted to take a look at pitchers who have seemingly stepped up their performance into the 2017 season. I stumbled upon two — Mike Leake and Bud Norris — completely unaware of the connections they have with one another, not just in their improvements, but exactly how they have improved.
If you’re a regular reader of mine, first, thank you. Second, this means that you probably read my article about Norris from Tuesday, in which I discussed his newfound dominance coming via just one pitch.
Leake has done exactly the same thing, all the way down to the pitch he has improved with. This year, he’s made six starts for the Cardinals, allowing eight earned runs over 40 1⁄3 innings pitched for a 1.79 ERA. Perhaps even more encouraging are his peripherals; his 12.7 percent strikeout-minus-walk rate is the highest of his career. And while Leake has never been known as a power pitcher, his 17.2 percent strikeout rate is his second-highest season mark to date.
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