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Arrieta's better
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - In the late 2000s, the Baltimore Orioles appeared to have their future rotation set up due to the presence of four pitching prospects -- Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, Zach Britton and Jake Arrieta -- in their pipeline.

Of the four, only Chris Tillman has had success as a starter with the O's, while Matusz and Britton are now members of Baltimore's bullpen.

But Arrieta is keeping the starting dream alive with another franchise.

The Orioles shipped Arrieta to the Chicago Cubs as part of their trade for Scott Feldman last July.

At the time of the trade, Arrieta had a career 5.46 ERA and a 1.47 WHIP over 358 innings in the majors so he wasn't of any concern to fantasy owners.

Pedro Strop, the reliever who was sent to Chicago with Arrieta, was much more interesting for fantasy purposes because of his potential to close games.

But the move to the lighter-hitting National League has worked wonders for Arrieta.

In 94 2/3 innings with the Cubs, Arrieta has recorded a 2.95 ERA, a 1.18 WHIP and 81 strikeouts.

While his 3.66 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in nine starts with Chicago last year were at least partially the product of a .193 batting average on balls in play (BABIP), this year he's been legitimately dominant.

In 43 innings, Arrieta has fanned 44 batters and allowed just one home run and 10 earned runs (2.09 ERA).

His 52.1 percent ground-ball rate is eight percentage points higher than his career rate and his 9.0 swing-and-miss rate is a career best.

Arrieta has allowed a .325 BABIP this year due to a 23.1 percent line-drive rate, but opponents have just four extra-base hits and a .289 slugging percentage against him.

Arrieta appears to be mixing his pitches much better than he did earlier in his career.

In his first four seasons, the most he ever threw his third most used pitch was 16.81 percent of the time. He's thrown four of his pitches at least 18.57 percent of the time this year, according to Brooks Baseball.

He also has career-high whiff rates (swings-and-misses per pitch thrown) with his change-up, slider and curveball.

After throwing 13 scoreless innings, walking one, giving up five hits and striking out 16 over his last two starts, Arrieta's ownership rate is starting to rise.

He's been added in 2,357 Yahoo! leagues on Saturday after his stellar start against the Philadelphia Phillies (7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 9 K) Friday night.

But Arrieta is still available in 91 percent of leagues so there's still time to get on board.

The only thing that may be able to slow him at this point is the Cubs' annual sale of veteran assets, which is how they got Arrieta in the first place.

Arrieta is still just 28 years old but he'll be arbitration-eligible after this season.

The last thing we want to see when it pertains to Arrieta is the pitcher back in the land of the designated hitter.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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