Many MLB rookie pitchers have failed to make an impact through the years because they can’t consistently throw strikes.
Control is often a young hurler’s enemy: if they can’t find the zone, the walks and hits will follow, and their ERA will blow up.
Fortunately for the Seattle Mariners, they have had excellent luck on that front in the last couple of seasons.
When Logan Gilbert made his MLB debut in 2021, he had his ups and downs but kept his walk rate at respectable levels, and that helped him succeed.
He is now one of the M’s top pitchers.
This year, first-year right-hander George Kirby has shown a similar knack for throwing strikes.
Even if strikes will get punished by MLB hitters every once in a while, commanding the strike zone is the best path towards sustained success.
Kirby’s Control Is Outstanding
Kirby has shown to be a control artist in 2022.
“Rookie George Kirby of the @Mariners has not allowed more than 1 walk in any of his 18 starts while pitching 4.0+ IP in all of them,” Stats by STATS tweeted.
— Stats By STATS (@StatsBySTATS) August 30, 2022
Only Carlos Silva in 2005 has more consecutive starts with one walk or fewer, with 26 in 2005.
That year, Silva walked an incredible 0.43 hitters per nine innings, and had a 3.44 ERA.
While lots of pitchers struggle with four or five walks in today’s game, Kirby is so poised, determined, and in control of the zone that he hasn’t even walked two hitters in any of his starts.
For the year, Kirby has blossomed into quite a weapon in the middle of the Mariners’ rotation.
He has a strong 3.32 ERA in 97.2 frames.
He has been a blessing for the contending Mariners, as they look to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001.