Top 10 Active MLB Control Artists

Show me a pitcher who doesn’t walk many batters, and I’ll show you a pitcher that wins games. Plain and simple, if you don’t hurt yourself by putting guys on base, you’re going to be in games and win a good portion of them. Here, we take a look at those active pitchers with the best control, i.e. those hurlers who yield the least amount of walks per nine innings. Interestingly, the Top 10 consists of all starting pitchers……

1. Carlos Silva, Seattle Mariners (1.634)–Okay, so Carlos Silva has lost more games than he’s won (59-60), but he’s pitching for the pathetic Mariners this year. What I’m saying is, 4-14 for a team that is 46-75 isn’t bad. And check this out…in 2005 with Minnesota, Silva pitched 188 1/3 innings and walked only nine batters. That’s just sick.

2. Jon Lieber, Chicago Cubs (1.725)–Journeyman Jon Lieber has been in the bigs since 1994, and has never walked more than 51 batters in a season. There’s no doubt his career ERA of 4.26 would be much higher if it weren’t for his excellent control.

3. Greg Maddux, San Diego Padres (1.803)–What, you expected not to see Mr. Maddux on here? Control is to Greg Maddux’ game what hot sauce is to Buffalo wings.

4. Ben Sheets, Milwaukee Brewers (1.960)–Sheets has never won more than twelve games in a season, but part of that is because he can’t stay off the disabled list. Sheets has nearly four times as many career strikeouts (1181) as walks (303) in seven-plus seasons.

5. Curt Schilling, Boston Red Sox (1.962)–It’s too bad that if we play word association, I’ll say “Curt Schilling” and you’ll say “bloody sock.” Then again, that also sums up the grit and determination of this guy. If I need to win a game, he’s one of maybe five pitchers I’ll give the ball to.

6. Mike Mussina, New York Yankees (1.987)–If you can see the concentration in a pitcher’s eyes, you know he’s focused on putting the ball over the plate and trying to get the hitter out. And how about this? In 18 seasons, Mussina has only hit 58 batters and thrown 71 wild pitches. Also, his 265-151 career record shows that my theory above has a bit of validity.

7. Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox (2.060)–Though he’s only won 117 games in almost nine seasons, Mark Buehrle is a workhorse (has never pitched less than 200 innings in a full season) who keeps his White Sox in games.

8. Roy Oswalt, Houston Astros (2.084)–Do you get the feeling Roy Oswalt hasn’t yet reached his potential? The guy is 122-62 since breaking into the majors in 2001, with a 3.20 ERA and 1286 strikeouts. And his control (360 walks, 16 wild pitches) isn’t too shabby, either.

9. Paul Byrd, Boston Red Sox (2.119)–I’m not sure that Byrd throws harder than 80 miles per hour, but there’s no doubt he can still get hitters out, which is why the Red Sox just obtained him from the Indians. And he gets better with age….in 2005 with the Angels, Byrd walked 28 batters in 204 1/3 — that’s 1.2 batters per game.

10. Roy Halladay, Toronto Blue Jays (2.127)–With a 124-64 record over 11 seasons with mostly mediocre Toronto, Roy Halladay has consistently been one of the game’s best pitchers during his career.

Source: Baseball Reference

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