Analysis

Jeff Locke, ground balls, and management’s rationale for wanting Kevin Hart in the rotation

Jeff Locke, ground balls, and management’s rationale for wanting Kevin Hart in the rotation

Kevin Hart - Newscom

One prospect who I feel has been mostly underrated by Pirates fans is Jeff Locke, acquired in the trade that sent Nate McLouth to Atlanta in June of 2009. That opinion is mostly due to a glance at his FanGraphs page, which displays the following stats.

ERA
FIP

2006
Braves - R
4.22
3.01

2007
Braves - R
2.66
1.74

2008
Braves - A
4.06
3.04

2009
Braves - A+
5.52
3.64

Pirates - A+
4.08
3.16

It is clear that Locke has consistently outpitched his ERA over his career. Again, this was just from a quick glance at his stats. However, I recently began looking deeper, and it dawned on me that the majority of his FIP-value came from an absurdly low home run rate. He allowed only five home runs in 127.1 total innings last season, and he has served up just 17 long balls in his entire professional career. In addition, he has allowed an unusually high BABIP every year, which has likely contributed to his higher than expected ERA’s. After noticing these tw...

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Analysis

Matt has covered the Pirates at Wait ‘Til Next Year, Pittsburgh Lumber Co. and now Pirates Prospects. He served as Pirates team expert for Heater Magazine in 2009 and 2010 and has contributed to Graphical Player 2009, 2010 and 2011. Matt was also the editor of the 2011 and 2012 Pirates Prospects Annuals.

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