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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Is Jake Arrieta a one-year wonder?

<an style="vertical-align: baseline">Some might question if Chicago Cubs’ pitcher Jake Arrieta’s 2015 season was an anomaly. Some might question if he can sustain his stardom. Some might question if he is cheating, taking steroids to up his performance. Some might question whether major league hitters will finally start hitting him. Some might question if he can be dominant enough to lead the Cubs to a World Series victory. These are the questions people are asking, whether in conversation between casual fans or by analysts on ESPN. But, nobody can question the dominance that this man has had on the mound the past 1+ seasons.

Arrieta is currently one of the best in the major leagues, a pitcher at the top of his game. His rise to become a superstar didn’t come without difficulty though, as he struggled to find his stride throughout his first few season. From 2010-2013 with the Baltimore Orioles, he posted a 20-25 record with a 5.46 ERA, in 63 games started. Having an earned run average (ERA) that high throughout the first few seasons of a beginning of a career could ruin a young pitcher’s confidence, and has sometimes left pitchers soon to be jobless. But Arrieta showed some promise.

He was a beast, and his intimidating 6 foot 4 inch, 225 lb. frame projected him into becoming a solid starting pitcher. He had a crossfire release, and had plenty of velocity on his fastball. He just needed some solid coaching, fix some mechanics in his motion, and he would be able to figure it out. He had immense amounts of talent. In 2013, Arrieta was traded to the Chicago Cubs during the middle of the season. This was a change of scenery that proved to be the greatest move for his career, and for the Chicago Cubs organization. Chicago got a guy who had all the tools to becoming a great pitcher. But did they really believe he could be as good as he is now?

In a Cubs uniform, it all changed for Arrieta. In his first full season, in 2014, he posted a 10-5 record with a 2.53 ERA. Last season, in 2015, he won the Cy Young Award, while posting a 22-6 record with a 1.77 ERA. In his last 17 starts, dating back to last season, he is 15-0 with a 0.65 ERA, and two no-hitters. That last statistic is so hard to believe, so you might want to check it again to make sure you read it right. Are you serious Jake?

HE IS INSANELY GOOD. At the age 30, Arrieta is a late bloomer, but has finally reached his prime. There is no way last season was an anomaly, because if it was, his dominance would not have continued to be so profound. He is not a one year wonder. Already in 2016, Arrieta is 4-0 with a 0.87 ERA. So what of the question, can he continue this greatness?

I believe so. He has the strength and power to sustain this level of pitching for years to come. He won’t lose his fastball velocity like Tim Lincicum did because his arm tired out. His slider will still be devastating, tormenting hitters in the box. He won’t lose his spectacular defense behind him, lead by Addison Russell and Jason Heyward. He will continue to face National League lineups that have the pitcher hitting, giving him an easy out every 9 batters. The question becomes, can he lead the Cubs to a World Series Victory, their first in 107 years? Can he do what Michael Jordan did six separate times for the Chicago Bulls? Time will only tell.

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