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Top Performers: Gerrit Cole Finishes Strong Before His Promotion

Below are the pitching Game Scores* in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system from the last week. The top ten and the bottom five starts are broken down below the chart. The rankings include every pitcher who made a start for a Pirates’ minor league affiliate, 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.

The Top Ten

For the third time this season, Orland Castro put up the top game score in a given week. Castro becomes the first Pirates pitching prospect to top a weekly list on three occasions. He also tied for the second highest game score of the season, finishing one point behind Nick Kingham’s mark of 79 on April 28th, and tying Casey Sadler’s 78 on May 6th. On the season Castro has a 1.83 ERA in 68.2 innings, with a 59:5 K/BB ratio. He has given up two or fewer runs in 11 of his 12 starts this year.

Gerrit Cole Pirates

Gerrit Cole finished strong in Triple-A before his promotion. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

Gerrit Cole will make his major league debut tomorrow, after finishing strong in his last few starts in the minor league system. Last week he tied for the top game score, and this week he had the second best score with a 73. Cole threw seven shutout innings, allowing a walk and three hits and striking out three. Cole threw 19.2 shutout innings prior to the promotion, giving up five hits in that span.

Nick Kingham continued his strong season with Bradenton, giving up one run on four hits in 7.2 innings. Kingham has a 3.09 ERA in 67 innings this year, with a 71:14 K/BB ratio. He has gone six or more innings with one run allowed in three of his last four starts.

Tyler Glasnow made his way into the top five with 4.2 shutout innings on Sunday night, striking out eight. It was the first time since April 24th that he gave up more than two hits in a start, and the sixth time in his last seven starts that he struck out eight or more. Tom Bragg wrote about Glasnow’s start in today’s Prospect Notebook.

Rounding out the top five was Adrian Sampson, who had two good outings this week. Sampson went seven innings, giving up two runs last Monday. On Sunday he went six innings, giving up three runs on three hits to tie for the tenth best game score in the system.

Andy Oliver dealt with control problems in both starts this week. His first start of the week saw six walks, but ended up as the sixth best game score. His second start saw six walks, only in 3.1 innings, and was the worst game score.

Brandon Cumpton has been putting up great numbers with Indianapolis this year. On the season he has a 3.39 ERA in 58.1 innings with a 44:19 K/BB ratio. This week he had two runs on five hits in seven innings for the seventh best score.

Last night Jameson Taillon was scratched, with Ethan Hollingsworth taking over. Hollingsworth gave up one run in five innings, finishing with the eighth best score of the week.

Casey Sadler and Stolmy Pimentel both had good starts for Altoona, finishing with the ninth and tenth best scores. That’s not new for Sadler, as he’s consistently in the top ten. It’s a good thing to see for Pimentel, since he has struggled recently after getting off to a great start earlier in the season.

The Bottom Five

Andy Oliver had the worst game score of the week in his second start, walking six in 3.3 innings, and giving up five runs, four earned.

Clay Holmes has also dealt with control issues this year, although he didn’t have them in his last start. He did give up five runs, four earned, in five innings, taking the second worst start of the week.

Robby Rowland had the third worst start, followed by Zack Dodson. They both had game scores around 40, which shows that this week wasn’t a bad week for pitchers. Usually the worst scores are around 30 or below.

Graham Godfrey was acquired to give Indianapolis some help with their depleted pitching staff. His four runs in six innings wasn’t great, but the fact that he could make a start and give them six innings was huge considering all of the pitchers they’ve lost to the Pirates this year.

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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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