Tool Time: Top Control Pitchers

Control is nothing without command. You can throw strikes but are the quality strikes. Can you twirl the ball with the precision of Greg Maddux? These San Diego Padres prospect do their best impression.

Josh Geer

A control specialist that moves the ball in and out, up and down, Geer is works the strike zone and stretches it as necessary to keep the opposition on their toes.

The biggest difference for Geer is his ability to work inside. Hitting the inside corner of the strike zone, the right-hander opens up the outer half and is able to hit the glove with regularity.

Chris Wilkes

Just out of high school, Wilkes isn't supposed to be this good with his command. Accuracy allowed Wilkes to expand the strike zone with his changeup and get punch outs.

Hitters didn't have a lot of time to look for a pitch to drive against Wilkes. He worked ahead so often that they were destined to fail, flailing at pitches that he dictated.

Jose DePaula

Coming over from the Dominican Summer League program, DePaula showed an uncanny ability to hit the mitt with consistency – perhaps too often.

Ironically, it is his knack for smacking the glove that got him into a little trouble. He had a difficult time stretching and expanding the strike zone with two strikes and hit too much of the plate in those situations.

Jeremy McBryde

The improvements were evident in everything McBryde accomplished in 2008. His walk totals dipped to 1.58 per nine innings pitched after a 2.75 mark in the category the year before.

While he gave up more hits than innings pitched, McBryde began to work inside more effectively, setting up a nasty slider away as a wipeout pitch. Once his knowledge of expanding the zone catches up, watch out.

Erik Davis

Despite a tired arm after throwing a lot of ball at Stanford, Davis came out and hit the glove with regularity. Working ahead in the count, Davis was able to setup hitters.

After walking four in his first five innings, he walked just three the rest of the way. Davis has three quality pitches and more than anything knows how to put hitters away while working efficiently.

Honorable Mention:

Bryan Oland

Walking a scant eight in 51 innings was a testament to Oland's ability to hit the mitt early and put away hitters with a deadly changeup. Even balls that were hit were rarely squared up.

Greg Burke

There was a time when Burke would throw too many strikes. Now, his cutter and his tailing fastball provide enough movement and broken bats that he can expand at will. If he needs a strike, however, Burke delivers.

Stiven Osuna

Pitchability is one of the key phrases associated with Osuna. He throws three pitches for strikes and is around the zone, forcing hitters to swing early or be caught flat-footed.

Steve Garrison

With four pitches that he can throw for strikes, Garrison is a control master. The southpaw picks from the arsenal without predictability. Only his injury drops him on the list.

Wilton Lopez

The right-hander has walked just 21 in 133 career innings. A power sinker forces the opposition to swing early, and he doesn't get to many deep counts, as a result.

Manny Ayala

For the first time ever, Ayala's command suffered a blow in 2008. Normally a control specialist, Ayala had to overcome injury and never appeared to be the same sure and confident pitcher.

Stephen Faris

A pitch to contact right-hander, Faris wants the opposition to offer at his pitches. With plus fastball command and a top-notch breaking ball, Faris gets hitters pounding the ball into the ground rather than giving away free passes.

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