Starting today, the daily Pirates Discussion will be led by Jeff Reed — not the former Steelers kicker, but long-time Pirates Prospects reader and commenter Bucs’N’Pucks. Anyone who checks out the comments on a regular basis knows the extra information that Jeff brings to this site. Now, he will be able to do all of that while leading the discussion of the MLB club each day, kicking it off each day with a topic of discussion.
I think I speak for everyone here when I say that no one wants to read a Pirates discussion led by Tim Williams. He might be my boss, but in all honesty you guys, there are some days where I’m not even sure he knows there is a Major League Baseball player named Tyler Heineman. I ask him and he always responds with something vague like “Gotta get that opportunity!” Then he immediately starts talking about all of the left-handed relievers who have surprised in Pittsburgh over the years.
All I’m saying is, let’s all extend a warm welcome to Jeff Reed! The Pirates discussion each day just received an upgrade.
Would you take a starting rotation with the following ERA’s?
That looks like a rather solid group, and all five starters either have or had ties to the Pirates.
I’ll add in the fact that none of the five listed pitchers (as of the morning of 6/22) have a K/9 over 8, with two actually under 7.
Four of the five have a BB/9 higher than 3.
All five are putting up a K/9 and K% that is under their career averages.
Four of the five are experiencing a GB% lower than their career average.
Those five starters?
- 2.70 – Jameson Taillon
- 3.44 – Chris Archer
- 3.66 – Jose Quintana
- 3.69 – Chad Kuhl
- 4.72 – Mitch Keller
As has been noted, Keller began throwing a sinker in his May 18th start. Since then, he’s thrown it on average of 30% to a little over 40% per start (Per Baseball Savant). He hasn’t abandoned the four-seam, but it’s down to around 15% usage, compared to 50% or higher previously.
Kuhl has all but abandoned the four-seam (4%) and now using his sinker 40% of the time, his highest usage since his 2016 debut season.
Quintana’s highest sinker usage was during his seven scoreless inning start on May 15th, and has slowly declined since then.
Taillon’s sinker usage has remained consistent over his career, but he introduced a cutter in 2021, that he’s now using 15% of the time.
Archer on the other hand remains largely unchanged, aside from abandoning the sinker, that he used 10% of the time in Pittsburgh. He also has the least supported ERA by advanced metrics.
This isn’t me pounding the table saying “MOAR SINKERZ!!!” as it is rethinking that our perception had been skewed against sinkers.
I think the focus should be — and appears to be becoming — which specific fastball works best for tunneling purposes. Keller’s fastball was average to below average across the board, so adding a sinker that breaks in the opposite direction of his above average curveball — one of best in terms of movement vs league average — is extremely beneficial if he’s able to effectively tunnel those two pitches.
PIRATES @ RAYS
Time: 7:10 PM EST
Pirates Starter: Mitch Keller (2-5, 4.72)
Rays Starter: Jeffrey Springs (3-2, 2.00)
Keller Notes: Mitch Keller opens up the series against the Rays, having posted a 2.54 ERA since he introduced his sinker on May 18th. He hasn’t given up more than two earned runs in a start over that span, while covering at least five innings in each of his last four starts. The opposing pitcher, Jeffrey Springs, is a 29 year old former Texas Rangers 30th round draft pick. This is his second season with the Rays, but first time seeing an extended time in the rotation.
UPDATE: Jerad Eickhoff out. Austin Brice in.
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) June 24, 2022
1. Randy Arozarena (R) DH
2. Ji-Man Choi (L) 1B
3. Yandy Diaz (R) 3B
4. Josh Lowe (L) RF
5. Luke Raley (L) LF
6. Taylor Walls (S) SS
7. Jonathan Aranda (L) 2B
8. Rene Pinto (R) C
9. Brett Phillips (L) CF