Recently, I found myself pondering and age old mystery: Do squirrels fart? I know….profound, right? Naturally, I then started to wonder if control artist pitchers would be any better at playing darts than pitchers with ordinary or no control, another one of life’s great mysteries. You can temper your enthusiasm as this article will not answer those mysteries. Some of you may be scratching your heads right about now, but I promise to tie it all together.

The recent trade of Kevin Slowey got me to thinking about high control pitchers. Yes, Kevin Slowey was traded again. Maddux and Slowey represent two of baseball’s best when it comes to not issuing walks. The Padres have two players almost major league ready that have very similar control profiles. Robbie Erlin and Joseph Wieland were acquired, as many of you know, from the Texas Rangers for Mike Adams before the 2011 trade deadline. Each has not disappointed since joining the Padres organization. Here are the career, to this point, minor league numbers for Maddux, Slowey, Erlin, and Wieland:

         ERA         H/9       BB/9         K/9
Greg Maddux





Kevin Slowey





Robbie Erlin





Joe Wieland





My first thought was… wow! Shouldn’t it have been Slowey with the great career? Interestingly, I came across an old Cubs scouting report on Greg Maddux. The biggest concern with Maddux was his control and his physical stature. Having read scouting reports on Robbie Erlin, he has many similarities to Maddux. Erlin has a very similar frame and throws about the same fastball speed as Maddux. Of course, Erlin is a lefty and has already shown great control prior to making the big leagues.

Wieland happens to be about the same physique as Slowey. Scouts seem to be very impressed with the control, command, pitch sequencing, and baseball aptitude of both Erlin and Wieland. Of course, the same could have been said about Slowey. Don’t get me wrong, Slowey is a legit MLB starting pitcher; but, clearly he is back-of-the-rotation filler.

Forrest Gump would probably suggest prospects are like a box of chocolates. I can’t help but wonder what the Padres have in Erlin and Wieland. Do they have a squirrels fart or a bull’s-eye?