While it’s true that pitchers who are able to induce swings and misses have the best chance to succeed, whiffs are not the be-all, end-all in MLB.
Contact management is also very important.
What is contact management?
Basically, it refers to how adept a pitcher is to minimize hard contact and fly balls.
Weak contact usually leads to outs, and hard contact often results in barrels, extra-base hits and home runs.
These guys keep hard contact to a minimum.
— MLB Stats (@MLBStats) August 15, 2022
Urias is leading the league in hard-contact rate, with 29.5 percent.
The league recognizes a hard-hit ball at 95 mph or more.
What Is A Hard-Hit Ball?
Anything hit at 95 mph or higher is classified as a hard-hit ball, so we can conclude that Urias allows hard-hit balls at a 29.5 percent rate.
That rate is the lowest in the majors among qualifiers.
If we couple that with his 117 strikeouts in 122.2 frames, we have one of the most dominant pitchers in baseball according to ERA (2.49) and Fielding Independent Pitching, or FIP (3.49).
In the midst of a weird season in the injury department for the Dodgers (Clayton Kershaw, Walker Buehler, and Dustin May have barely pitched this year), Urias has stepped up and became the staff ace due to current production and seniority.
Last year, he led the league with 20 wins: this time, he is pacing a much cooler category.
Wins can’t help predict future performance: a low hard-hit rate can, however.
As long as he can keep missing bats and minimizing hard contact, Urias will be primed for success.