Sunday- Sean Newcomb vs. Jose Ureña
Watch out for Jose Ureña, he seems to have figured some things out since that Opening Day start against the Cubs.
Even though Ureña has yet to record a win, he is currently pitching better than he did in 2017 where he was the best pitcher on the Marlins staff. His xFip sits at, 4.31(compared to 5.29 in 2017) and is on a downward trend ever since his first start.
The biggest thing that stands out in Ureña’s game is his lowered walk rate and higher strikeout rates. He lowered his walk rates from 3.39 per nine in 2017 to 2.18 in 2018. His strikeout rates have also taken a big jump, going from 5.99 K/9 in 2017 to 7.54 K/9 in 2018.
Ureña has always had good stuff, but now everything seems to be coming together. His velocity has ticked up slightly, he is throwing his slider more and he is getting batters to chase pitches outside of the zone at a much higher rate.
Ureña’s slider has been a really effective pitch for him in 2018, the increased usage has led to positive results. Keep an eye on Ureña to see if he can take that next step in his career and turn himself into a true Ace of this Marlins staff.
After getting drafted with the 15th pick of the MLB Draft out of the University of Hartford in Connecticut, Newcomb shot up the prospect rankings with the Angels. He made his way to Atlanta as the centerpiece in the Andrelton Simmons deal.
If the beginning of 2018 is any indication, Braves made the right choice. Newcomb is really hard to hit, he has a big frame and a really good fastball, curveball combo.
He also brought an improved changeup into 2018 and he has attributed it to his success so far. Over his last two starts, he is looking like Greg Maddux, which is very good company for Newcomb to be in.