Top Performers: Several Pitchers Stepping Up Before and After Promotions
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
David Bromberg had the top game score this week, and one of the more dominant performances in the system this year. Bromberg struck out 12 and gave up one run on two hits and three walks in six innings.
It wasn’t just Bromberg that was performing for Altoona. The Altoona rotation had a dominant week, accounting for the top four game scores in the system this week. Casey Sadler threw six shutout innings on Friday for the number two score. Stolmy Pimentel went seven innings, allowing on run in his final start for Altoona, before being promoted to Indianapolis. That earned him the third best score this week. Nick Kingham had a strong debut, going 5.2 shutout innings and striking out seven.
Jameson Taillon also finished in the top ten, giving up just one unearned run in five innings, with six strikeouts for the number eight game score. Taillon was limited to five innings due to missing his previous start with a stiff neck.
Andy Oliver was passed up for a promotion by Brandon Cumpton. Oliver went five shutout innings, allowing four hits, three walks, and striking out seven for the fifth best game score. The downside is that he needed 109 pitches to get through five innings.
Keeping with the theme of “dominating in his last start at the level”, Eliecer Navarro went six innings, allowing one earned run in his final start for Bradenton. Navarro was promoted to Altoona in time for his next start.
John Kuchno was one of three West Virginia pitchers who rounded out the top ten. Kuchno went five innings, giving up one earned run to take the seventh best spot on the list. Joely Rodriguez went five shutout innings in his next to last start in West Virginia. His final start was actually the worst start of the week. Tyler Glasnow went five innings, allowing one earned run and striking out five to round out the top ten.
The Bottom Five
Joely Rodriguez didn’t have the best outing in his final start with West Virginia. He gave up seven runs on 11 hits, although five of the runs were unearned, and a lot of the hits came in extended innings. He was promoted to Bradenton today.
A lot of rain delays and suspended games in the last week led to a lot of double headers this week. That resulted in a few bullpen arms stepping in to take spot starts. A lot of those guys ended up in the bottom five this week. Jason Creasy went three innings and gave up three runs for West Virginia. Matt Benedict went three innings, giving up two runs, one earned. Pat Ludwig went five innings, giving up three earned runs. In a sign of how good of a week it was for pitching, Ludwig had the fifth worst game score, but finished with a 51.
Zack Dodson was the other starter in the bottom five, piggybacking on Nick Kingham’s final start (which was suspended after three innings) and giving up three runs over five innings.