Jeff Locke and Jameson Taillon Post the Top Pitching Performances of the Week

Below are the top ten pitching Game Scores* in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system from the last week. The rankings include every pitcher who made a start for a Pirates’ minor league affiliate, not including DSL teams, and with no limitations on whether the starting pitcher has prospect eligibility.

*Game Score is a stat created by Bill James used to determine how good a pitcher’s outing really was. The formula for game score is simple: Start with 50 points, add one point for every out recorded, add two for each inning completed after the fourth, add one point for each strikeout. Subtract two points for each hit, four points for each earned run, two points for each unearned run and one point for each walk. There tends to be an advantage for pitchers who can go longer in the game, as they have more time to pile up strikeouts, while getting bonus points for extra innings beyond the fourth frame.

Pitcher Team Date IP H R ER BB K Game Score
Jeff Locke Indianapolis 8/3 7.1 3 0 0 2 10 80.65
Jameson Taillon Bradenton 7/30 7.0 2 0 0 3 4 74
Gerrit Cole Altoona 7/31 6.0 3 0 0 1 6 71
Nick Kingham West Virginia 8/3 6.0 4 0 0 0 5 69
Jameson Taillon Bradenton 8/4 5.0 2 0 0 0 4 67
Rick VandenHurk Indianapolis 8/5 7.0 4 2 2 2 7 66
Daniel Cabrera Indianapolis 8/2 6.0 4 1 1 1 5 64
Phil Irwin Altoona 8/1 5.0 4 1 0 0 6 63
Adrian Sampson State College 8/4 5.0 3 1 0 1 5 63
Zack Dodson West Virginia 7/30 6.0 4 1 1 2 4 62

Jeff Locke had the best start in the farm system over the last week.

Jeff Locke had the best outing of the week, going up against a Scranton/WB team that has the third best OPS in the International League. The lefty struck out double digits for the second time this year. In his last two starts he has thrown 14.1 shutout innings, with a 14:5 K/BB ratio and seven hits allowed.

Jameson Taillon looks to be getting back on track this week. In his two starts he combined for 12 shutout innings, allowing four hits and posting an 8:3 K/BB ratio. In his start prior to this pair of outings, Taillon gave up four runs on eight hits in six innings, while striking out six and walking one. Despite the poor results, Taillon made some big strides with his confidence and decision making on the mound, and that looks to have carried over to his two starts this week. Taillon had a shortened outing on Saturday, as the Pirates start to narrow his innings for the year in an attempt to avoid a big increased workload. He’s at 115 innings this year, after throwing 92.2 last year.

After giving up 14 earned runs in 26 innings over his first six starts in Altoona, Gerrit Cole finally put up the type of outing you’d expect from the top prospect in the system. On Sunday he followed up with three no-hit innings, but didn’t fare as well after a rain delay. Cole also got off to a slow start in Bradenton.

Nick Kingham has been on a roll lately. In his last four starts he has given up one earned run in 22 innings, with a 21:3 K/BB ratio. He hasn’t given up a home run in those four starts, which is a positive sign. The long ball has been an issue for him this year. He gave up 14 homers in his first 18 starts of the year.


Short-Season Leagues

The players in the short-season leagues are usually limited. Pitchers in the GCL usually don’t go beyond three innings, while pitchers in State College are usually between four and five innings. Because of the limited innings, these players don’t post as high of Game Scores as players in the upper levels who can pitch beyond the fifth inning. Here were the top five from the short-season leagues over the last week.

Pitcher Team Date IP H R ER BB K Game Score
Adrian Sampson State College 8/4 5.0 3 1 0 1 5 63
Joely Rodriguez State College 8/3 5.0 3 0 0 0 0 61
Jon Sandfort GCL 7/30 3.0 0 0 0 0 0 59
Clay Holmes State College 8/1 4.2 2 1 1 5 4 56.35
Luis Heredia State College 7/30 4.1 3 1 1 2 3 54.65

For the second start in a row, Adrian Sampson went five innings without giving up an earned run. In those two starts he has posted a 9:2 K/BB ratio. The 2012 fifth round pick has a 2.81 ERA in 25.2 innings this year, along with an impressive 26:7 K/BB ratio. He’s the only starter in State College who is averaging a strikeout per inning. 2012 third round pick Jon Sandfort pitched three perfect innings. He followed that up later in the week with 2.2 shutout innings, allowing one hit and walking two. Sandfort only has three strikeouts in nine innings, with none in his 5.2 innings this week. In two starts this week, Luis Heredia combined to give up four earned runs in 9.1 innings, with a 6:3 K/BB ratio. He’s pitched in to the fifth inning for eight straight starts. Clay Holmes struggled with his control, but keeping up with his season trend, was hard to hit. He’s give up 18 hits in 38.1 innings this year. This outing was only the second time in eight starts that he’s given up an earned run. Joely Rodriguez hasn’t been getting a lot of strikeouts, but also hasn’t been issuing many walks. He has a 16:10 K/BB ratio in 43 innings, and a 2.72 ERA in that span.


The Bottom Five

The following were the worst game scores by a starter in the Pirates’ minor league system over the last week.

Pitcher Team Date IP H R ER BB K Game Score
Zack Von Rosenberg West Virginia 8/2 2.2 7 7 5 2 1 16.35
Brandon Cumpton Altoona 8/2 4.0 8 6 6 2 1 21
Casey Sadler Bradenton 8/5 4.2 6 7 6 3 3 27.35
Kenn Kasparek Bradenton 8/3 4.0 6 5 5 4 2 28
Mike Jefferson West Virginia 8/1 5.0 8 6 6 1 4 32

It wasn’t a good outing for Zack Von Rosenberg, who was bounced after 2.2 innings. Prior to this start, Von Rosenberg had six strong outings, giving up six runs in 32.1 innings over that stretch. Brandon Cumpton has a 3.65 ERA in 120.2 innings on the season, and this was one of his worst starts of the year. Casey Sadler has now been roughed up in two of his last three starts, so he could be seeing some signs of fatigue from not only being a starter, but pitching six and seven innings so frequently. Bradenton turned to Kenn Kasparek with Colton Cain traded away to Houston. Mike Jefferson hadn’t allowed an earned run in 13 innings over three starts prior to this outing. He’s been bouncing back and forth between the rotation and bullpen this year. His control and his strikeout rates have been better in the rotation.

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, 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.

Next Story »

Justin Wilson’s No Hitter is the Top Pirates Pitching Performance of the Last Week

Latest Analysis

  • Arquimedes Caminero

    Breaking Down the Final Pirates Roster Battles After Today’s Cuts

    1 day ago

    With less than a week remaining in camp, the Pittsburgh Pirates made their latest round of cuts this morning, sending three relievers to minor league camp, including ...

    Read More
  • Keller Supak Hinsz

    Even With the New Draft Rules, the Pirates Are Still Loading Up on Projectable Pitchers

    3 days ago

    From 2008-2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates spent a lot of resources on projectable pitchers out of high school. So far, this approach has led to breakout performances from ...

    Read More
  • Josh Bell made the move to first base over the off-season. (Photo credit: David Hague)

    Why Should You Care About Prospects?

    4 days ago

    Yesterday I had a shorter day than usual. The Pirates had cuts at the MLB level, and a road game. The day was shortened at Pirate City, ...

    Read More
  • Gregory Polanco

    Q&A: Trading Prospects For Rentals, Polanco Concerns, Meadows vs Appel

    5 days ago

    I missed the Q&A last week due to a common problem in Spring Training: I forgot what day it was. It was around 6:00 that I was ...

    Read More
  • Nick Kingham f

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

    6 days 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

    1 week 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

    1 week 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

    1 week 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

    2 weeks 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

    2 weeks 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
  • Browse More Articles