Marlins Today

April 13, 2010 6:23 AM

Nolasco's high hopes risky?

Last year, Ricky Nolasco improved upon already fantastic numbers from the year before, posting a 2.14 BB/9, tenth best in the NL. Fantastic for sure. Still, on Tuesday, Nolasco told the Sun Sentinel that he thought there was room for improvement. Cardinals' starter turned Angels' starter this year, Joel Pineiro proved that there was. In 2009, he led the league with a 1.14 BB/9. However, the kind of improvement Nolasco was talking about surpassed Pineiro's minuscule 27 passes in 214 innings.

"Obviously, I want to be as low as possible, but walks are going to happen," he said. "It's part of the game, part of being a pitcher. My goal is no more than 25 walks. I want to throw over 200 innings. I think 25 is a good number to be at."

Usually, aiming high is a good thing but in this case, it might not be. Last year, when behind in the count, hitters touched Nolasco for a .346/.471/.615 line, well over league average which was .308/.482/.518 and that's when he was less preoccupied with his walk total.  If Nolasco loses sight of his primary objective which is to win games and starts throwing meatballs on three ball counts instead of knowing when to let a guy go, things could get ugly. Even though he's no Carlos Zambrano, Nolasco has shown signs of being a bit headcase-y in the past (for example, he was mad at himself at the end of his last spring start for walking a guy despite going six masterful innings) and he also sometimes lets his emotions get the better of him while on the mound. Doing something (200+ innings, ~25 walks) only two pitchers have done in the last decade? Cool. But at the expense of ERA, WHIP and wins? No thanks.

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