Why the Pirates Are Trying Joe Musgrove as a Starter, Despite Better Results as a Reliever

Why the Pirates Are Trying Joe Musgrove as a Starter, Despite Better Results as a Reliever

BRADENTON, Fla. — When Pirates manager Clint Hurdle announced in the second day of Pirates’ training camp that recent trade acquisition Joe Musgrove would be the fifth and final member of the starting pitching staff, it was a bit of a surprise.

For one, the Pirates haven’t typically been so proactive in releasing such information, even if the results were widely speculation. For two, at first glance, Musgrove seems like a better option as a reliever than a starter.

In 2017, Musgrove started 15 games for the Houston Astros and pitched in 23 games in relief. In his starts, he had a .882 OPS against, a 6.12 ERA and a 1.513 WHIP. In relief, he had a .565 OPS against, a 1.44 ERA and a 0.862 WHIP.

The first line describes a below-average starting pitcher. For some context, projected out...

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