Trevor Williams: Cubs' command-control rotation 'objectively sexy'

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Tim Stebbins
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Low velocity, no problem: Cubs rotation ‘objectively sexy’ originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Forget velocity and spin rates for a second. The Cubs starting rotation is special in its own way.

"Spin rate is sexy, velo is sexy, but guys are sexy in their own way with how they attack the strike zone with a certain pitch," starter Trevor Williams said Saturday.

An ongoing discussion around Cubs camp this spring has been the club's lack of starting pitchers with high velocity. Gone are Yu Darvish and Tyler Chatwood, two guys capable of dialing their fastball up to the high 90s, paired with sharp breaking pitches.

Zach Davies, Jake Arrieta and Williams, newcomers to the rotation this season, have fastballs that sit in the low 90s, or, in Davies' case, the high 80s. They join soft-tossing rotation arms Kyle Hendricks and Alec Mills, who rely on their command and control rather than pure stuff.

Adbert Alzolay, who could join the rotation or pitch in a swingman role, is the lone starting option with high-90s velocity.

Related: Why Arrieta no longer needs to 'blow out' hitters for success

No, the Cubs starting staff won't blow away hitters with the high heat. But Cubs fans have seen how effective guys like Hendricks and Davies, a longtime Brewer, can pitch despite their low velocity.

"A front door sinker that Kyle Hendricks throws is objectively sexy," Williams said. "So is a Craig Kimbrel four-seam [fastball] up in the zone. That’s objectively sexy too.

"Everyone is unique in their own way. 

"How we mesh, how we gel and how you get different looks from so many different guys, it’s going to be fun from [Cubs manager David Ross'] point of view, where he can game plan his pitchers accordingly."

Objectively speaking, of course.

Maddie Lee contributed to the reporting of this story.

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