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 top five short season pitchers are also highlighted in a separate group, since most of those guys only go 4-5 innings max, and don’t have a good chance of being highlighted in the top ten. 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 second week in a row, and for the fourth time this year, Stolmy Pimentel has been the top pitcher of the week. This time around he didn’t stop at being the top pitcher of the week. He put up the best game score I’ve seen since doing this weekly article. Pimentel had a game score of 82, throwing eight shutout innings with two hits, one walk, and five strikeouts. The impressive thing about that is he only needed 98 pitches to get the job done. In 39 innings with Indianapolis he has a 2.77 ERA and a 30:11 K/BB ratio. Last week I wrote that he would be an option for the Pirates rotation if they needed depth in the second half. His eight shutout innings only helped his case.
In a normal week, Tyler Glasnow and John Kuchno would be tied for the best game scores in the system. Both put up 72 scores for West Virginia. Glasnow pitched six shutout innings, giving up three hits, one walk, and striking out seven. Kuchno pitched seven shutout innings, giving up four hits, one walk, and striking out four. Kris Johnson was right behind them with a game score of 71 after throwing seven shutout innings for Indianapolis, with four hits, one walk, and three strikeouts.
Clay Holmes has been turning around his rough season lately. Since the start of June he has a 3.35 ERA in 37.2 innings, with a 22:21 K/BB ratio. The high walk rate is a concern, although he has shown some improvements there, with a 3.6 BB/9 ratio in his last three starts. Holmes threw five shutout innings with a 4:2 K/BB ratio this week for the fifth best game score.
Jason Creasy was added to the West Virginia rotation in the second half after a few spots were opened due to promotions. Since being added to the rotation, Creasy has an 0.42 ERA in 21.1 innings, with a 17:7 K/BB ratio. Glasnow and Holmes get a lot of attention from the 2011 prep pitching group, but Creasy has really stepped up this year thanks to a new slider aimed at getting outs, and a sinking fastball that sits 90-91 and touches 93 as a starter. He had the sixth best game score this week, giving up two unearned runs in 6.2 innings, with a 6:2 K/BB ratio.
Dovydas Neverauskas and Shane Carle had a piggyback start last night, combining for a complete game shutout for Jamestown. Neverauskas started the game with five shutout innings, giving up a walk and three hits and striking out four. That was good enough for the seventh best game score this week. Carle finished the game off with four shutout innings, allowing three hits, no walks, and striking out six for the tenth best game score of the week.
Eliecer Navarro had the eighth best score this week, throwing six shutout innings, while allowing five hits and striking out one. That was Navarro’s best outing since giving up one earned run in six innings in his Altoona debut. In the three starts that followed he combined for 14 earned runs in 16 innings of work.
Joely Rodriguez had two starts this week, and his first one was the ninth best in the system. Rodriguez pitched seven innings, allowing one run on six hits, with a walk and three strikeouts. I saw the game, and Rodriguez was extremely efficient, sitting 91-94 MPH with his fastball and showing great command of all of his pitches.
Short-Season Top Five
Dovydas Neverauskas and Shane Carle finished in the overall top ten for their piggyback start on Sunday. Carle also had the third best short-season score for his start earlier in the week. In the two starts combined he gave up one unearned run in nine innings, with seven hits, no walks, and eight strikeouts. Neverauskas also had another start this week, which rounded out the short-season top five. In his two starts, Neverauskas combined for two runs, one earned, on six hits in ten innings, with a 7:2 K/BB ratio.
The only short-season pitcher not named Carle or Neverauskas in the top five this week was Wei-Chung Wang. Wang is in the short-season top five every week. This week he gave up one unearned run on one walk and one hit in four innings of work.
The Bottom Five
While Pimentel had the best start I’ve seen since doing this weekly feature, Jameson Taillon had the worst start I’ve seen. He gave up ten runs on 13 hits in 3.1 innings, which led to a -6.35 game score. I checked to see if a negative game score is even possible, and sure enough it is if you give up enough runs and hits. The start doesn’t say much about Taillon in the long-term, but it’s not something you want to see from the top prospect in the system.
Miguel Rosario was hit hard this week in the GCL for the second worst game score. Rosario gave up seven runs in 3.2 innings at Pirate City, giving up a lot of hard hit balls to the gap.
The Bradenton Marauders didn’t have a good pitching week. Zack Dodson (4.1 IP, 5 ER), Robby Rowland (4.1 IP, 5 ER), and Orlando Castro (3 IP, 4 ER) all finished in the bottom five this week.