Altoona at Richmond tonight

I’ll be going to the Altoona game at Richmond tonight to see the Curve in action.  Tim Alderson will be on the mound for Altoona.  Alderson has struggled this year, with a 6.14 ERA in 29.1 innings over six starts.  In his last two starts he has allowed a combined eight runs in 9.2 innings of work.  However, the last two outings have seen some major improvements from Alderson.

In Alderson’s first four starts, he posted a 5.49 ERA, a 1.53 WHIP, and some disappointing strikeout numbers, with a 3.2 K/9 to go with a 2.7 BB/9 ratio.  Alderson was doing good controlling the walks, but was allowing too many hits (24 in 19.2 innings) and his strikeout ratio was horrible.  That’s the big change over the last two outings.  Alderson has a 7.45 ERA and a 1.96 WHIP in the last two outings, but has an amazing 13.0 K/9 ratio, and a 1.9 BB/9 ratio.

Alderson has seen his hit ratio jump during the last two starts, but has seen a huge spike in strikeouts, and a drop in walks, although his walks weren’t an issue in the first four games of the season.  There haven’t been many reports on his velocity, so no word on whether the strikeouts are due to an increase in velocity.

I’m only guessing here, but my theory is that Alderson is pounding the strike zone in the last two outings, mostly with the fastball.  I’ve seen some rumors and reports that Alderson asked to return to his old windup, something the San Francisco Giants asked him to get away from.  When a pitcher in the Pirates’ system makes a change like that, they usually want him focusing on fastballs.  That would explain the increase in strikeouts, decrease in walks (more strikes, fewer balls) and the increase in hits (hitters know what is coming).  Kind of a State College Spikes approach at the AA level.  Again, that’s only a guess, just based off looking at his numbers.

I will be getting video of every pitch Alderson throws tonight, and I’ll be providing details on his velocity, and what type of pitches he is throwing.  Hopefully I can get some answers as to the cause of the changes from the last two outings.  I’ll be updating my Twitter account from the game, so be sure to follow me for updates tonight (this will give you a fix since there’s no Pirates game on).  I’ll also be taking photos to put up on the BUCCO Fans Facebook page, so be sure to become a fan there (or I guess it’s “Like” the page now) and check out the photos when they go up.

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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.

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