Pirates Notebook: How long until we see Kevin Hart?

Earlier today it looked like Kevin Hart would be the starting pitcher tomorrow for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Instead, Hart made his regularly scheduled start for Indianapolis, leaving Chris Jakubauskas as the starter tomorrow.  In that start, Hart was excellent, with one run allowed on five hits in five innings, along with a walk and five strikeouts.  This was against the same Louisville team that Hart pitched three no-hit innings against last week, allowing a walk and striking out three.

Hart had his struggles in Spring Training, and carried some of those over to the first game of the season.  In that outing, Hart allowed two runs on two hits, with three walks, two strikeouts, and a homer.  He was ejected in the fourth inning for throwing a pitch at the first batter of the inning, Carlos Santana.  Hart threw 66 pitches, with only 35 going for strikes.

Hart was suspended for throwing at Santana, although he made a relief appearance before going on suspension.  Hart came on to relieve Brad Lincoln, with Indianapolis up 2-0 over Louisville.  Hart pitched three no-hit innings, allowing just one walk, and striking out three.  This time he threw 37 pitches, with 22 going for strikes.

Hart served his suspension, then returned on four days rest to start against Toledo.  Hart had two wild pitches, but overall he looked excellent through the first four innings.  Hart allowed one run on two hits through the first four innings, with a walk and six strikeouts.  His breaking ball was looking sharp, not only getting swinging strikeouts, but catching people looking on well placed balls in the zone.  Hart allowed two runs in the fifth inning before being pulled.  Overall he threw 80 pitches, with 49 for strikes.

Then there was tonight’s game.  Hart threw two wild pitches, which gives him four in 15.1 innings.  Hart also threw 87 pitches, 53 for strikes.

Hart now has a 16:7 K/BB ratio in 15.1 innings, which amounts to a 9.39 K/9, a 4.11 BB/9, and a 0.59 HR/9 ratio.  Hart is also holding hitters to a .193 BAA.  The downside to all of this is that we’ve seen this from Hart before.  Hart put up similar ratios in 52.1 innings at AAA with the Chicago Cubs in 2009, and again in 57.2 innings with the Cubs in 2008.

Hart is another player who has proven he can handle the AAA level.  The problem for him is making the jump to the majors.  It’s not out of the question to think that Hart can fix his control issues.  His 4.39 BB/9 ratio in 2009 with the Pirates would be fine if he could maintain close to a strikeout an inning, although that doesn’t seem likely to carry over to the majors.  Even if he cut back to the 3 to 3.50 BB/9 ratio range, that would be acceptable, as long as he maintained the same K/9 ratio we saw from him in 2009 with the Pirates (6.58).

Hart was victimized by some bad luck.  He allowed a .372 BABIP an a 60.6% strand rate with the Pirates.  The league average for starters is usually in the .300 BABIP range, and the 70% strand rate range.  On the flip side, he was incredibly lucky in his time with the Cubs, leading to his 2.60 ERA in 27.2 innings with them.  The main thing Hart needs to do is cut back on the walks.  He’s showing that this isn’t an issue at the AAA level.  The question becomes, when does he get his chance at the major league level?

Before the season I was in favor of Hart over Daniel McCutchen for the fifth starter role.  I can understand demoting Hart, considering the Spring he had.  Since that point, McCutchen has been ineffective in his major league outings, and Hart has been good in his AAA appearances.  After tonight’s start at the AAA level, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Pirates call up Hart to replace McCutchen in the rotation the next time around.  The Pirates certainly need a surprise in their rotation, and it would be great if Hart could provide that.

Goats of the Game
The bottom five players of the game, according to FanGraphs.  WPA stands for “Win Probability Added” and represents the impact the player had on his team’s chances of winning.  It’s based off of percentages, with each team starting the game with a 50% chance to win.  It is presented in decimal form, so .152 would equal 15.2%, meaning the player in question would have increased his team’s chances of winning by 15.2%.
1. Akinori Iwamura: -.112 WPA
2. Delwyn Young: -.109 WPA
3t. Ronny Cedeno: -.098 WPA
3t. Andrew McCutchen: -.098 WPA
5. Paul Maholm: -.050 WPA
Other Stuff
-The Pittsburgh Pirates Prospect Watch for 4/23 is up.

-The big matchup between Anthony Ranaudo and Drew Pomeranz was postponed.  It will be made up tomorrow, although I don’t think it will be on National TV.

Enjoy this story? Pirates Prospects will be switching to a subscription site on 4/13, so that we can continue bringing you the best Pirates coverage there is. For a very small monthly price, you can continue getting articles like this, along with coverage from every minor league city. Get more information here, and subscribe today!

Share This Article

Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

Walker and Kratz Supply All The Runs The Indians Need

Next Story »

Van Every traded to Boston

Latest Analysis

  • Nick Kingham f

    Improving His Two-Seam Fastball will Make Nick Kingham a More Effective Pitcher

    1 day ago

    With Jameson Taillon returning from Tommy John surgery, and unlikely to make an impact at the Major League level early in the year, the top prospect to ...

    Read More
  • Arquimedes Caminero 3

    The Roster Situations That Could Impact the Makeup of the Pirates Bullpen

    3 days ago

    There are less than two weeks remaining in Spring Training, and the one area where the Pittsburgh Pirates had actual position battles is heating up. There were ...

    Read More
  • Jordan Luplow

    How the Pirates are Trying to Stay Ahead of the Curve With the New Draft Rules

    4 days ago

    The 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement brought a lot of changes to Major League Baseball. The biggest change for the Pittsburgh Pirates came in the draft. From 2008-2011, ...

    Read More
  • Alen Hanson

    The Key For Alen Hanson to Help the Pirates in the Majors This Year

    5 days ago

    When the Pittsburgh Pirates moved Alen Hanson to second base last year, part of the plan was to get him to the majors faster by putting him at ...

    Read More
  • Tyler Glasnow 2

    What the Stats Don’t Tell You About Tyler Glasnow

    6 days ago

    The stat line for Tyler Glasnow’s start at Pirate City yesterday looked great: 3 IP, 0 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 1 K. The lone run ...

    Read More
  • JaCoby Jones Josh Bell

    JaCoby Jones Did Fine in the Move to Shortstop, But Needs to Cut Down on Strikeouts

    1 week ago

    The Pittsburgh Pirates drafted JaCoby Jones as an outfielder in the third round of the 2013 draft, then surprised everyone the following year when they moved him ...

    Read More
  • Cody Dickson is a lefty with the upside of a middle of the rotation starter. (Photo Credit: Mark Olson)

    The Mental Adjustment that Led to Cody Dickson’s Dominant 2014 Second Half

    1 week ago

    Trusting his stuff and not trying to do too much — that has been the key for left-handed pitcher Cody Dickson so far in his professional baseball ...

    Read More
  • Third Base Mathisen Luplow Joe

    Who’s on Third? In the Pirates’ Farm System, It Could Be Anyone

    1 week ago

    If you have ever played third base in your life — professional, college, high school, slow pitch softball — then the Pittsburgh Pirates might be contacting you ...

    Read More
  • Jason Creasy

    Another Pitcher to Watch From the Pirates’ 2011 Draft

    2 weeks ago

    The 2011 draft is shaping up to be a great class for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They picked first overall that year, so naturally you’d expect good things ...

    Read More
  • Peacock Nevarez

    Will One of These Pirates Minor League Pitchers Be the Next John Holdzkom?

    2 weeks ago

    By now you probably know that John Holdzkom rose from independent ball last year and made it to the majors. It was one of the best stories in ...

    Read More
  • Browse More Articles

    More