I only watched a few innings of last night’s game, wanting to get a first look at Bailey Falter. Overall, the Pirates got the best case scenario from Falter and Andre Jackson last night, with the two pitchers combining for one run in seven innings.
The Pirates previously had Rodolfo Castro and cash considerations, before making two deals since the end of June to get last night’s pitchers. After last night’s outing, Falter has a 4.87 ERA and Jackson has a 5.66 ERA this year.
Falter showed some control issues early in the game, and that’s been the case for him all year. His walk rate his highest in pitches 1-25, sitting at 9.6%. He combines for a 2.9% walk rate the rest of the way. Those early issues were present last night, but the leadoff walk to Christian Yelich didn’t hurt him.
Falter was through the second inning in 29 pitches. He allowed a leadoff single in the second, but got a nice double play by Liover Peguero to erase the damage. After a double allowed, Peguero came up big again to catch a lineout for the third out. Falter gave up a hit in each of the third and fourth innings, but didn’t have any issues.
What’s interesting is that Falter has a tendency this year to do better in his second 25 pitches, and his second time through the order. No matter what, he falls off the third time through, and after 50 pitches.
If the Pirates limit him to shorter outings, they can reduce damage on one end. From there, if he limits the control, they could get half of an elite outing from him. This is all to say that I hope the Pirates implement more piggybacking and bullpen games at the MLB level down the stretch.
Falter was added for Castro a few days ago, and essentially this was him, with no influence from the Pirates. The only way they could impact his pitching this quickly would be to control when and how long he pitches in his first outing. He was shut down after four innings last night.
The idea that Falter could come in and turn things around as a 5-7 inning starter is a big ask. It’s a big ask for any pitcher, even a top prospect like Quinn Priester. It’s asking a pitcher to take on an opposing lineup, then adjust to that lineup as they adjust to him, and then make one final adjustment in the end. And in a lot of cases, those asks come without knowing if the pitcher can get MLB hitters out the first time, or the second adjusted time.
Falter did well last night on 63 pitches, working one and two-thirds way through the order.
Jackson followed with 32 pitches and exactly nine batters faced.
QUICK PIRATES RECAP
The Pirates lost to the Brewers 3-2 in 10 innings.
They got a great piggyback combo from Falter and Jackson, but a rare blown save from David Bednar prevented the win.
Along with the defense up the middle, Liover Peguero went 1-for-4 with a stolen base. Alika Williams went 1-for-1 with three walks. Jason Delay provided the offense, going 1-for-4 with a two RBI double in the fifth inning.
AROUND THE SYSTEM
The Prospect Watch has all of Saturday’s action in the Pirates’ farm system. The highlights are below.
Ji Hwan Bae hit a homer in his third rehab appearance for Indianapolis. He played center field for seven innings.
Aaron Shortridge pitched six innings, allowing one run and striking out nine. Altoona’s offense picked up 13 hits and added six walks.
The Grasshoppers won 5-3, and it wouldn’t have been possible without a game saving catch from Jase Bowen.
Drake Fellows, added in the Joe Musgrove trade, made his second rehab appearance for Bradenton, pitching two innings.
Esmerlyn Valdez added a triple and his sixth homer of the year in the FCL. For all of the daily action, check out the Prospect Watch.
SONG OF THE DAY
If you want music, I’m listening to Late Registration from Kanye West today to get me in the mood for work. I’ve been really into this Alan Watts speech this week.
“Try as you may, you’ll go on and on and on trying, as Herrigel did, to release the bowstring without thinking first to release it. But then, strangely enough, one day the thing happened. He did it. And this is involved in our learning of almost all techniques. That we work and work to achieve that final point of perfection, and it doesn’t come, it doesn’t come. And then one day it happens. Now, what is the reason for that?
Is it simply—and this is really, you know, a way it’s usually explained, but this is an oversimplification—it is not that we have practiced it so often that it suddenly becomes perfect. It is much more subtle than that. What happens is that we’ve practiced so often that we find out we can’t do it. And it happens at the moment you can’t do it. When you reach a certain point of despair, when you know that you are the one weird child who will never be able to swim, at that moment you’re swimming. Because the desperation and the total inability to do it at all has brought you to a point which we might call “don’t care.” You stop trying. You stop not trying; trying to get it that way. You just have arrived at the insight that your decision, your will, doesn’t have any part in the thing at all. And that’s what you needed to know. You’ve overcome, you see, the illusion of having a separate ego.”
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.