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
Tyler Glasnow had one of the most dominant performances of the year this past week. The right-hander threw five no-hit innings, but it wasn’t the lack of hits that made him un-hittable. The right-hander struck out 13 batters out of his 15 outs on the day. Only two players put the ball in play. One was a ground out and one was a fly out. Glasnow did have some control issues, walking five batters, but most of that came in the first two innings. He settled down after that, striking out nine of his final 11 batters. The performance put him number one on the Baseball America hot sheet last week and also made him the top pitcher of the week. This was the second time Glasnow was the top pitcher of the week. He’s consistently in the top ten, but his innings limits this year have prevented him from taking the top scores a lot of weeks. This was also his best game score of the year.
Glasnow beat out Stolmy Pimentel, who has been at the top of the weekly performances all year this year. Pimentel threw seven shutout innings for Indianapolis, giving up four hits, one walk, and striking out six. I reviewed Pimentel’s innings over the weekend, and noted that he might not be a starting option for the Pirates in September since he already is well beyond his career high in innings. I could still see him as a bullpen option down the stretch to get some major league experience, especially since he is out of options next year.
Kyle Haynes made the move to the rotation in West Virginia last month, and has been excellent ever since. Haynes threw seven innings, giving up two runs, one earned this week. He also struck out seven and walked one. That was his longest outing, passing 6.2 innings in the previous start. Haynes had a second start this week where he gave up three unearned runs in five innings.
Pat Ludwig is another pitcher who made the move from the bullpen to the rotation recently. Ludwig made two starts this week, combining to give up one run in 13 innings to take the fourth and fifth best game scores. Last week Ludwig threw seven shutout innings and was the FSL Pitcher of the Week. He could very well win the award on back to back weeks due to his starts this week. I was at one of the starts, and had a recap of Ludwig’s performance.
2013 second round pick Blake Taylor has pitched well this year. Taylor went four perfect innings this week, striking out four to take the fifth best score. Taylor made his start one week after his 18th birthday. The lefty has a 2.57 ERA in 21 innings this year, with a 13:9 K/BB ratio.
Bryton Trepagnier stepped in for West Virginia this week in extended relief after Clay Holmes was bounced from his start early. Trepagnier threw 4.1 shutout innings, walking two and striking out four to give him the seventh best score of the week. Fellow West Virginia starter Luis Heredia was right behind him, throwing five shutout innings the night before, with three hits, two walks, and six strikeouts.
The top eight starters threw “gems” this week (65 game score or better) which came after the top ten starters threw “gems” last week.
Graham Godfrey had the ninth best score of the week. Godfrey threw 4.2 shutout innings for Indianapolis, piggybacking with Andy Oliver. The Pirates could call up several starters from the Indianapolis rotation when rosters expand. When that happens, Godfrey could be one of the playoff starters, as Indianapolis clinched the playoffs this past week.
Cody Dickson rounded out the top ten, throwing five shutout innings, with four hits, two walks, and five strikeouts. The 2013 fourth round pick has a 2.49 ERA in 47 innings, with a 48:19 K/BB ratio. This was the fifth time in the last six starts that he has gone five innings without an earned run.
Short-Season Top Five
Blake Taylor and Cody Dickson were in the top ten.
Melvin Del Rosario has been throwing multiple innings in relief in the GCL. This week he went three shutout innings in a piggyback start, giving up one hit, no walks, and striking out five for the third best short-season score.
Buddy Borden made his first start with Jamestown, throwing three shutout innings with one hit and four strikeouts. Borden was taken in the seventh round this year and was one of the last picks to sign.
Chad Kuhl had two starts this week, combining to give up three runs, one earned, on nine hits in ten innings, with five strikeouts and no walks. His first start of the week tied with Billy Roth for the fifth best short-season score. The second start of the week was one point behind the first one.
As for Billy Roth, he threw four shutout innings, giving up two walks, two hits, and striking out one. I wrote about the start here.
The Bottom Five
Nate Baker gave up seven runs on 11 hits in five innings to take the worst score of the week. This is the second week in a row that Baker has been in the bottom five.
Eliecer Navarro also struggled for Altoona, giving up five runs in 3.1 innings for the second worst score.
Andy Oliver returned to the rotation last week and had a good start with no control issues. The control problems returned this week, as Oliver walked three in three innings, giving up four runs in the process.
Cody Dickson had a start in the top ten, but also had a start earlier in the week that was in the bottom five. Dickson gave up five runs in 3.2 innings.
Clay Holmes has been pitching great in the second half, but had a bad start this week. He gave up three runs, two earned, in 1.2 innings to take the fifth worst score.