Jonny Venters Is Still Grounded

About a month ago, Matthew Carruth wrote about Jonny Venters and his unbelievable batted ball profile. At the time (May 6th), Venters had allowed 37 balls in play. Of those 37, a remarkable 34 of them (91.8%) were ground balls. Obviously, Venters couldn’t keep up that kind of pace, right?

Well, yes. You’re right. But it’s hard to be too disappointed with his results in the month since then. Venters’s overall ground ball rate through the first two months and change, in which he’s allowed 81 balls in play in his 37.2 innings pitched, checks in at 80.2%. Yes, he’s slipped a little bit — he allowed another 13 non-grounders from May 6th to June 8th — but I think he can be forgiven for that.

The month of May was his second straight month eclipsing his fantastic 68.4% ground ball rate from last season, inducing grounders on 77.3% of batted balls. Last season, as Matthew mentioned, Venters’s rate led the league by a few tenths of a point. This season, his rate leads the next closest, Mark Rzepczynski, by a robust 12.1 percentage points.

It’s unclear if the 26-year-old Venters can keep things up at quite this rate, but I wouldn’t bet on him losing his effectiveness any time soon. Venters is one of the best in the league at combining a strong ground ball pitch with strikeouts (9.3 per nine innings) and control (2.6 walks per nine innings). As such, not only does his 0.48 ERA lead the league, but his 1.98 FIP does as well.

Remarkably, only has three videos of Venters in action this season, and somehow two of them involve fly ball outs. Here’s the one video of Venters actually inducing a ground ball, using his sinker to get Steve Pearce of Pittsburgh to ground into a 5-2-3 double play.

With that pitch in his arsenal, I don’t think it’s outlandish to imagine Venters continually posting ground ball rates at or above 70%, at least for the rest of this season.

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23 Responses to “Jonny Venters Is Still Grounded”

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  1. SteveB says:

    I just can’t wait to see a bunch of closers with high save totals make the AS team and Venters gets left off.

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  2. Bronnt says:

    I didn’t realize it at the time, but that take-out slide at home plate really bothers me-borderline dirty. It’s a bit different than a take-out slide at second base because the catcher’s back is to the runner, and in this case, the ball is released before the man ever gets to him. I’m glad McCann was okay there.

    Regarding Venters, though, it’s almost unfair how good the Braves’ 8-9 reliever combo was. Wouldn’t it have been so cool if Fredi Gonzalez had followed through on his promise to use a closer platoon in order to exploit match-ups?

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  3. finley1976 says:

    Venters is an amazing pitcher and should be an all-star.

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  4. It’s absurd that his sinker is 95 miles an hour. 2010-2011 Jonny Venters is basically 2001-2002 Arthur Rhodes.

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  5. Beaster says:

    Venters is a must watch ! His sinker is the filthiest pitch I’ve seen in a while – 95mph and amazing downward movement. Match that with his fastball that out of his hand looks the same and he is almost unhittable.
    Its no surprise that he induces so many groundballs, hitters must not be able to catch up or anticipate that the ball is going to drop that much. As a result they are on top of the ball sending it downward. If I could use pitchfx I’d see if my argument is supported by data but alas its just anecdotal for now…
    Again try and catch the 8th inning of a Braves game and you will not be disappointed by the “best” pitch in the game

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    • alfredo simon says:

      i was wondering why they don’t show pitch fx on gameday any more…..whats up with that? does MLB not want us to have that info?

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  6. Nom Chompsky says:

    I haven’t finished doing the scientific research, but I believe that if Jonny Venters pitched to Derek Jeter, the resulting ball in play would burrow straight through the center of the earth and be picked up by a confused Chinese accountant.

    This accountant would still throw Derek out by a step and a half.

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    • phoenix2042 says:

      derek jeter vs johnny venters would yeild a 110% ground ball rate: the strike outs would still be ground balls.

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  7. fantasystud1305 says:

    It is truly a gift to watch Venters pitch every (and trust me, he is used EVERY) night.

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  8. Windu says:

    best reliever in the game

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  9. Luke says:

    Best pitcher* in the game, Windu.

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  10. Antonio bananas says:

    Just call him Big Ern McCracken, coz he makes a living throwing bowling balls.

    Gonzalez pisses me off with how he uses Venters. Basically if it’s the 8th, he goes in regardless. Jurrjens last start before today, Jurrjens had been dealing but got into trouble in the 7th. Bases loaded with 1 out I think, Jurrjens comes out. Now, this is just me, but in a close game, bases loaded, 1 out, you want your best ground ball pitcher to come in. There isn’t a better ground ball reliever in the world than Venters. Instead Gonzalez brings in Scott Proctor, who gives up a 3-run triple to Jose Reyes, Bravos lose 5-0.

    The rest of the NL, and really baseball better pray that Uggla never figures out how to hit again and Heyward stays hurt because if Uggla starts to hit, with their starters and bullpen, I think the Braves would be the best NL team.

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  11. bartleby says:

    Venters – still dominant. Onto the next story.

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  12. pinetar says:

    Venter’s sinker & Sean Marshall’s devastating curve should both be in the All-Star Game.

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  13. Phantom Stranger says:

    I hope his arm does not fall off, being called on basically every game by Gonzalez. That sinker has a nasty fading component to it away from righties at times, but it looks like Venters almost has to twist his arm to get that movement.

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  14. stinkysue says:

    Watch out Braves! Some smart team is going to buy that young man right out from under you.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      The day a team takes Venters from Atlanta is the day he stops being effective. Atlanta has done a pretty good job at letting guys go when they are no longer useful.

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    • Antonio Bananas says:

      Plus Venters is 26. My guess is he’ll be super effective for a year or 2, decline, then be average with spurts of brilliance for the rest of his career.

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