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Ground Ball Kings

Busy work week has me behind schedule on a couple ideas I wanted to have ready for the early part of this week. That can only mean one thing: data time. In no particular order because my Excel spreadsheet is refusing to sort properly today, here are a few of the very best college pitchers when it comes to getting ground ball outs:

Kyle Simon
Kurt Heyer
Slade Smith
Jake Floethe
Anthony Meo
Sam Gaviglio
Austin Kubitza
Taylor Jungmann
John Stilson
Carson Smith
Sonny Gray
Kyle McMyne

  • Simon and Heyer have been ground ball machines all year, but take their presence on this list as a leap of faith on my end. See, there is something about the Pac-10 that makes finding box scores for their games far more arduous a task than it needs to be. When Arizona and Arizona State play, the play-by-play data just seems to disappear into the ether.
  • The state of Texas is very well represented thanks to the grounder inducing quartet of Kubitza (Rice), Jungmann (Texas), Stilson (Texas A&M), and Smith (Texas State). The last three are the big names to know for the 2011 draft, but Kubitza’s inclusion in particular makes me happiest to see. He has the look of a 2013 first rounder to me and it is nice to get confirmation that his scouting reports (plus-plus fastball life) match up with the numbers.
  • Slade Smith almost literally does not strike anybody out (park/league adjusted 3.16 K/9), but opposing batters simply don’t hit the ball in the air against him. His groundball percentage of 85.3% is the highest I have in the database. I have no scouting notes on him at all, but I’m guessing he throws a heavy sinker and lacks an out pitch…


  1. Dig says:

    Where is Erik Johnson CAL?

    • Rob Ozga says:

      Honestly, I just threw together a list of names at the beginning of the year that I wanted to track and he didn’t make the cut. As a pretty big fan of his, I think I just forgot him. I don’t have any ground ball data, but, yeah, I agree that his style is perfectly suited to keep the ball on the ground. That fastball of his comes in like a low-90s bowling ball. Good call.

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