Analysis

Grading the Results from the Fastball Academy

Grading the Results from the Fastball Academy

Under Jim Benedict's watchful eye, the Pirates are placing extra emphasis on fastball command

 

It's been stated many times that when the Pirates bring a young pitcher in to the system, especially in the Gulf Coast League and at State College in the New York-Penn League, the most important lesson stressed is fastball command.  It sounds so simple and obvious.  Every pitcher must pitch off their fastball and you would think that reinforcing the location of it would be a first step for every organization.  Most likely it is, but the Pirates have placed extra emphasis on it, to the point that pitchers in the GCL and at State College may throw upwards of 85 to 90% fastballs in a game. 

This can lead to some bloated results in hit totals for pitchers, which in turn may lead to bloated ERA's.  An additional side effect of this philosophy is a depressed strikeout rate, as many pitchers rely on their offspeed stuff for the bulk of their strikeouts.  However, what is does lea...

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