After logging an innings total far beyond anything he had experienced in his major-league career in 2015, Chicago Cubs ace Jake Arrieta managed to uphold his usual offseason training regimen – only without actually throwing a baseball as he usually would at the beginning.
Arrieta, who is known for adhering to a strict conditioning program and healthy diet, threw a combined 248 2/3 innings in the regular season and postseason last year, eclipsing his previous major-league career high (2014: 156.2 innings) by nearly 100 innings.
In an effort to keep in shape during the offseason yet simultaneously allow his arm to recover from the rigors of a long season, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner altered his offseason regimen.
After a season in which he increased his workload by 92 innings (including the postseason), Arrieta tweaked his routine to allow his arm extra time to recover while not stunting his preparation. He performed “dry deliveries,” in which he worked on his windup and leg drive without throwing a ball.
When the 29-year-old righty began throwing a baseball once again in January, the mechanics he perfected in his Cy Young season were still intact.
"It really feels like I never stopped throwing," Arrieta said.
After a spectacular season, in which he posted a 22-6 record with a 1.77 ERA and 0.87 WHIP with four complete games and ascended to elite status amongst major-league starters, Arrieta looking forward to the coming season, regardless of the workload.
"It’s just something you’ve got to deal with and prepare for. I met that mark now, and I will be better equipped handling that workload this year," he said. "It’s only a positive having the workload last year moving forward. It’s going to be a positive for us.”